By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Three former Enid High School soccer players will make All-State curtain calls tonight in Newcastle.
Recent EHS graduates Edgar Delgadillo, Oscar Pena and Kaitlin Bell will be in their final games as high school players tonight in the Oklahoma Soccer Coaches Association All-State games, before continuing their soccer careers in college.
“It’s surreal,” said Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa-bound Bell, who will play in the 6 p.m. girls game. “High school’s done and over with, and I’m going to go on to bigger and better things. It’s a good feeling. Four years of varsity soccer has been amazing, and (EHS soccer) coach (Craig) Liddell has taught me so much. It kind of hasn’t hit me yet.”
Delgadillo and Pena likely will play their final game as teammates and coached by Liddell, who will be an assistant coach in the 8 p.m. boys game.
“That’s gonna be tough,” said Pena, who scored three goals in his final season as a Plainsman. “Coach Liddell, I’ve known him for a while. He’s the main one that’s taught me everything I know about soccer … If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be at the level I am now.”
Pena will play soccer at Independence (Kan.) College, where he plans to major in business. Delgadillo will play at NOC Tonkawa. Both hope to play at the NCAA Division I or II level after two years of junior college soccer.
Delgadillo, who was one of eight freshmen to receive the President’s Leadership Council scholarship at NOC Tonkawa, will cap his best season as a high school player tonight.
Delgadillo finished with a career-high eight goals and five assists as a senior, leading the Plainsmen back to the playoffs and an 8-6 season after missing the postseason in 2012.
“It’s my last high school match, but I’m excited to go to college, so it’s sad but exciting at the same time,” he said.
The Plainsmen finished the season ranked 10th in the OKRankings.com coaches poll after starting the year unranked, a rise Delgadillo figures the team can continue despite losing two All-Staters.
Felix Mora will return after scoring five goals as a sophomore in 2013, following a team-record 11 goals during his freshman season. Armando Gutierrez will be a senior after a five-goal 2013 run.
“The talent is there,” Delgadillo said. “These guys will come back next year and be in the playoffs again … Five years ago, they didn’t really have the goal to make the playoffs, but now their goal is to make the playoffs, and win some games. The program is getting better and better.”
Delgadillo also said he’ll return to Enid to see some of that improvement.
“Oh yeah, I’ll be back,” he said. “I’ll be around, for sure.”