Plant's Bobby Boswell and Gaither's Bryce Wegerle not only led their teams in scoring, but to outstanding seasons.
Gaither's Bryce Wegerle and Plant's Bobby Boswell scored goals by the bushel, no matter how tough the opponent.
Which senior meant more to his team? Which one was the most valuable player?
Too close to call.
Yes, Wegerle, the son of former Tampa Bay Rowdie Steve Wegerle and nephew of Roy Wegerle (who played in the 1998 World Cup for the U.S.), has grabbed more attention with his name and accolades, but this season there was no denying Boswell either.
Boswell led the county with 25 goals (playing 10 fewer games than Wegerle), helped Plant to a 13-3-1 record and a district title _ and he did it after the Panthers went 2-13-1 and finished last in their district a year ago.
"I wouldn't have believed that myself before the season," said Boswell, whose team lost in the regional quarterfinals. "But as the season went on we just kept working hard and kept winning. By the end of the year I thought we could have won a state title. That's how far we had come."
Gaither, meanwhile, did just about everything but win a state title, advancing to the final before losing 1-0 in penalty kicks to Orange Park after four overtimes.
It was a bittersweet ending to a season in which Wegerle, who transferred last summer from Jesuit, set a school record with 24 goals, including an extraordinary five-goal run in seven playoff games.
One of his most notable performances was in the regional final against Stuart Martin County, a 5-0 Gaither victory in which Wegerle scored three goals and had two assists.
"He turned it up and when a talent like that turns it up, it's really something to see," Gaither coach Adrian Bush said after Gaither defeated then No. 1-ranked Miami Sunset 2-1 in the state semifinal. "He is such a tremendous talent, in every way, and he deserves everything he gets."
So far, Wegerle has earned the Gatorade and NSCAA Florida Player of the Year awards, and now, along with Boswell, has been named the Times All-County Co-Player of the Year.
Only once this season did Boswell's and Wegerle's teams face off. It came in the Western Conference final, which Gaither won 3-2.
Boswell had both Panther goals, barely missing another, and Wegerle had an assist.
Afterward, Bush acknowledged that Boswell was a "big-time player."
Boswell, on the other hand, gave Wegerle, a member of the U.S. under-18 national team pool, his due respect.
"I played with Bryce for years when we were just little guys, and we've stayed pretty good friends," Boswell said. "I've heard some people say that he's not a team player, and let me tell you, that is totally ridiculous. I have no idea how somebody can say that.
"I think anybody that says they'd rather play against Bryce Wegerle than have him play with you is crazy. Bryce is great guy to have on your side."
Wegerle summed his attitude up this way, minutes after the state semifinal: "I just want to do anything I can to help us win. That's all I ever try to do."
ALL-COUNTY BOYS SOCCER TEAMS
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: Bryce Wegerle, Gaither; Bobby Boswell, Plant
COACH OF THE YEAR: Dennis Derflinger, Plant
Name, School Pos. Yr. Comment
Jon Burklo, Wharton F Jr. Set school record with 23
Josh Garbee, Bloomingdale F Sr. Flashy with great skills;
shined in Sr. Challenge
Lonnie Houston, King F Sr. N.C. State-bound striker
was an unstoppable force
John Kluft, Jesuit F Sr. All-around player; scored
20 goals, 20 assists
Bobby Boswell, Plant MF Sr. Led county with 25 goals as
team won district title
Jared Rose, Gaither MF Sr. Scored 15 goals, 14 assists
John Sobzcak, Brandon MF Sr. Led team to 17-win season
with 13 goals, 9 assists
Bryce Wegerle, Gaither MF Sr. U.S. national team pool
player; 24 goals, 19
Scott Golden, Jesuit D Jr. Versatile stopper who
scored 15 goals
Eric Grzybowski, Jesuit D Sr. Motor never stops; hard
Tyler Gordon, Hillsborough D Jr. Never gets beat on a tackle
Justin Trowbridge, Jesuit GK Sr. 14 shutouts and a 0.59
goals against average
Daniel Foley, F, Riverview; Nick Vermette, F, Leto; David Smith, F, Tampa Catholic; Chris Cheek, MF, Plant; Josh Wand, MF, Brandon; Carlos Pinnace, MF, Sickles; Norris Hartzog, MF, Gaither; Hank Malouf, D, Gaither; Evan Doyle, D, Jesuit; Adam Cohn, D, Plant; Mohammed Abdel-Aziz, D, Bloomingdale; Pete Young, GK, Chamberlain
Armwood _ Chad Usner, Ricky Usner; Berkeley Prep _ Kevin Sachs; Bloomingdale _ Cory Stump, Todd Cripe, Ryan Smith, Chris Sedlak, Brandon Hancock; Durant _ Josh Cline, Shawn Wehrle; East Bay _ Andrew Dominguez, Johnny LaBarbera; Gaither _ Dan Jennings, Brenden Crampton, Jared Swindle, Travis Bourguinon, Steve Sullivan, John Schmitts, Justin Elliot; Hillsborough _ Andy Deak; Jefferson _ Juan Pablo Matta; Jesuit _ Sean Sullivan, Dylan Hagerty, Justin Versaggi, Anthony Esposito, Adam Thames, Justin Estrada, Ron Guevera; King _ Mike Lehman, Toyin Phillips; Leto _ Edisson Cantor, Greg Rojas, Greg Guerrero, John Restrepo; Plant _ Loren Shumard, Jay Munch; Sickles _ Chase Baldwin, Dave Moore; Tampa Bay Tech _ Don Jones; Tampa Catholic _ David Smith, Jeremy Castelluci, John Jacobs, Mike Rogers, Casey Smith; Wharton _ Nick Jackson, Mike Mainieri, Shane Provost.