Here are the Belleville News-Democrat Boys Soccer Game Balls awarded to metro-east players for recent top performances:
- O’Fallon senior Austin Wilkerson had two goals Oct. 7 in the Panthers’ 4-2 victory over tradional power St. Louis University High. O’Fallon scored three second-half goals to earn the win, with Wilkerson pushing his season total to 10.
- Althoff junior Christian Garcia knocked in his first two goals of the season Tuesday as the Crusaders outscored Greenville 4-1 in the semifinals of the Class 1A Greenville Regional. First-year coach Skip Birdsong will lead Althoff into the title game against Wood River on Friday.
- Edwardsville senior Mohamad Hamad, one of the fastest players in the Southwestern Conference, didn’t need his speed Tuesday in the waning moments of the Tigers’ 2-1 triumph over Belleville West. Hamad banged in a penalty kick in the 76th minute to lift the powerful Tigers.
- Jake Bridges, a junior at Columbia, scored in the second half as the Eagles defeated Alton 1-0 on Oct. 6. Columbia, which graduated 14 seniors from its team last year, was anticipating a rebuilding season. Instead, the Eagles are 15-2-3 and ranked third in the Belleville News-Democrat poll.
- Highland junior Evan Herman had a goal in back-to-back ties against defending Class 2A state champion Waterloo on Oct. 6 and O’Fallon on Monday. The Bulldogs, who have lost just once since Sept. 13, are 12-4-3, with Herman leading the team in goals with 13.
- Another Highland player, senior Lucas Ammann, powered the Bulldogs with two goals in their 3-3 tie against Waterloo on Oct. 6. Ammann has seven goals this season.
- Senior Ben Huels, an all-state player at Waterloo, had four goals in two games. Huels had three goals Oct. 4 in a 6-2 win over Mascoutah, then tallied one more in the tie against Highland. Huels has 24 goals and nine assists for the Bulldogs, who are hoping to repeat as Class 2A state champions.