Home Local Sports Eason, Padron selected to All-Conference soccer team

Eason, Padron selected to All-Conference soccer team

Junior striker James Eason (left) and sophomore goalkeeper Adrian Padron were selected to their first All-SAC soccer team. (Kyle Pillar)

ROCKINGHAM — A pair of Richmond Senior High School soccer players were selected to the 2022 All-Sandhills Athletic Conference team this fall.

Junior striker James Eason and sophomore goalkeeper Adrian Padron were each chosen to their first postseason team.

The SAC released the 26-player roster on Tuesday following Lee County High School’s departure from the third round of the 3A state playoffs.

This season, the Raiders finished with a 6-15-1 overall record and took sixth place in the SAC standings with a 4-8 record. 

Despite missing the playoffs, the Raiders and head coach Chris Larsen made it to the second round of the conference tournament, upsetting higher-seeded Hoke County High School in the first round.

Isaac Mireless (Southern Lee) was named offensive player of the year, Eric Sabiston (Pinecrest) was tabbed defensive player of the year, Liam Thayer (Union Pines) earned goalkeeper of the year and Brad Wicker (Lee County) was coach of the year.

“Both players were chosen because of what they added to the team throughout the course of the year,” Larsen said. “James was clutch by scoring goals, whether that was early in games to get us started or adding a late goal for the game-winner.

“Adrian faced bookoos and bookoos of shots, and while he may have allowed some goals, he was one of the keepers in the conference who faced the most shots and stopped them,” he added. “Both guys were key parts in keeping us engaged and competitive in conference play.”

James Eason, junior striker

In his first full season at the varsity level, Eason proved to be the Raiders’ go-to player to find the back of the net. He led the team with a career-high 11 goals, nearly doubling that of his next closest teammate (Noah Gil, 6 goals).

Eason scored in nine different games for Richmond, netting a season-high two goals two different times. Both of those performances resulted in wins over Southern Lee and Hoke County during the first round of conference play.

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“It feels great because my brother (Cody Eason) got it last year and now I’m getting it this year,” Eason said. “I was successful this season because of my great teammates pushing me to do better in practice and working hard to do my best during games. Coach Larsen also helped me become a better teammate and an all around better player. 

“This season started off rough, but we improved by learning from Coach Larsen and doing what he told us to do. We passed a lot more and got the ball wide a lot more, too. I hope as a team we can improve our record next year.”

Adrian Padron, sophomore goalkeeper

Also making the jump to varsity this season, Padron made 20 appearances in net and logged over 1,200 minutes for Richmond. A vocal leader in the back, Padron made 90 total saves and stopped 4.5 shots per game.

Throughout the season, Padron recorded two shutout victories against Purnell Swett and Scotland. Six different times Padron made eight or more saves in a single game, with his season-high 25 saves coming against Lee County in the second half of the season.

“It feels great especially after working hard, it’s a huge achievement for me,” Padron said. “I think what helped a lot was just always being open minded and always willing to learn new things to keep the team motivated and just have that winning mindset all the time.

“This sport has taught me many lessons and given me many responsibilities,” he added. “Each game, I always showed 110% for not just myself but for the team. I realized that one mistake puts me and the team in a situation we don’t want to be in.”

Note: Stats used in this article were taken from MaxPreps.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.