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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Eye on POY: Montana boys soccer

By Ben Rohrbach

The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys Soccer Players of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Nick Downs
Junior forward, C.M. Russell (Great Falls)

2011 Team record: 6-8-1 (Class AA)
2011 Team standing: Lost Class AA state quarterfinals

2011 Goals: 14
2011 Assists: 8
2011 Points per game: 1.47
Career goals: 32
Career assists: 13

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Had a direct hand in 22 of CMR's 29 goals (75.9 percent). Two-time All-State selection. Region IV Olympic Development Program Team member. 2011 state scoring leader. Two-time Montana Coaches Association Academic All-State selection.

Anthony Keene
Senior midfielder/defender, Billings West (Billings)

2011 Team record: 8-4-4 (Class AA)
2011 Team standing: Lost Class AA state quarterfinals

2011 Goals: 4
2011 Assists: 4
2011 Points per game: 0.50
Career goals: 13
Career assists: 13

Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Had a direct hand in eight of Billings West’s 21 goals (38.1 percent). 2010-11 Gatorade Montana Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Two-time First Team All-State selection. Three-time Montana Coaches Association Academic All-State selection.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Boys Soccer Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Bryar Brandvold: Senior midfielder, Great Falls (Mont.)
Heath Chisholm: Senior defender, Hellgate (Missoula, Mont.)
Casey Higgins: Senior forward, Hellgate (Missoula, Mont.)
Steen Shober: Junior midfielder, Hellgate (Missoula, Mont.)
Sam Werner: Sophomore forward/midfielder, Bozeman (Mont.)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.