Elks looking to build on last season’s success
When Travis Hughes took over the Burleson boys soccer program five years ago, it was in shambles.
Entering this season, the Elks are looking for their third consecutive playoff appearance and have 10 seniors on the roster.
Three of those seniors, forward/midfielder Freddy Hernandez, midfielder Jose Llamas and defender/midfielder Rolando Medina, have played every game since they were freshmen.
Last season, the Elks went 9-2-3 in district play then won their first playoff game since 2013 beating Red Oak, 2-1. Burleson finished the season with a record of 15-5-5 after losing to Dallas Samuel, 2-1, in an area-round game.
Hughes said practices have been good in part because of the senior’s leadership.
“These seniors have done a really good job of keeping everyone focused,” Hughes said. “The seniors have accomplished a lot in their time here but they are still hungry.”
Hernandez shared district MVP honors last season after scoring 15 goals and registering eight assists. Medina was a first-team all-district player and Llamas was a second-team player.
Playing up front with Hernandez will be either sophomore Caleb Yauger or freshman Luke Peterson.
Holding down the midfield for the Elks will be senior Henry Garcia, a first-team selection, Llamas and senior Deangelo Garza. Senior Rolando Medina and junior Edgar Zaragoza can play at midfield or on defense.
Burleson’s defense should be solid with senior Landon Brown returning along with senior Caleb Austin and junior Willie Stevenson. Junior Gabriel Bustillos will start at keeper for the Elks.
“Gabriel was varsity ready last year,” Hughes said. “But there was no point bringing him up when we had a first-team player in Alex Heinle in goal.”
Bustillos takes over for Heinle, a three-year starter, who registered eight shutouts in 12 district games last season.
The Elks opened the season over the weekend by posting a 2-0-2 record at the Saginaw Friendly Invitational. Burleson beat Cedar Hill (2-0) and Aledo (1-0) and tied Fort Worth North Side (1-1) and Boswell (0-0).
After playing host to part of the Johnson County Showcase (Jan. 17-19), Burleson starts District 5-5A play Jan. 25 hosting Mansfield Legacy.