Brady Walker continues to make history at Hartland High School.
For one of his last acts, the Hartland boys soccer team senior became only the second player in team history to earn First-Team All-State honors, the Michigan Interscholastic High School Soccer Coaches’ Association announcing the top-three and honorable-mention teams in Division 1 on Sunday night.
Joining Walker were four others from Livingston County, including Second-Team selections, Hartland’s Tony Rizzo and Brighton’s Keegan Gormley, with Brighton’s Charlie Sharp and Ian Sosenko making appearances on the Honorable-Mention list.
“Brady was once again the leader of our offense,” Hartland coach Andrew Kartsounes said. “Although always man-marked, his skill and work rate allowed him to still score in most games. He was consistently dangerous and capable of breaking down opposing defenses.”
Walker scored a team-high 21 goals and notched five assists for the Eagles this year, as they finished in third place (13-8-4 overall, 4-1-1 KLAA Gold) despite having to navigate through a brutal KLAA Gold Division that added powerhouses in Northville and Novi.
For Walker, the award comes one season after he garnered a Third-Team selection as a junior by posting an astounding 33 goals, leading Hartland to an 18-4-3 record and delivering the Eagles their first district championship since 1998.
Walker’s teammate, Rizzo, also made a jump, from Honorable Mention to Second Team.
Rizzo was one of our top-ranked players entering the season, and, like Walker, lived up to the billing, the senior midfielder recording a team high in assists (12) and concluding the year season on the team in goals (12).
“We relied on Tony for clutch goals and assists all season long,” Kartsounes said. “Tony’s abilities to take on defenders made him consistently dangerous, whether he was playing as a center-mid early in the season or at his preferred outside-mid.”
Of course, Brighton got some love for the MIHHSCA, too, especially after knocking off top-ranked Ann Arbor Skyline in the district semifinals and powering its way through the bracket to a second district championship in three seasons.
Gormley, the Bulldogs’ biggest breakout star in 2017, appeared highest on that list, joining Rizzo on the Second Team. Gormley’s contributions to Brighton have been well-documented, the senior scoring 17 goals and adding another 10 assists, including the game-tying score vs. No. 1 Skyline, the game-winning assists in that same tilt, and the game-winning goal in the district title match.
“Oh, I was very proud of him,” Brighton coach Mark Howell said. “He was a real consistent force for us all season, always a goal-scoring threat. … We gave him a lot of free reign to go on the field and to build on what he does, and he was definitely one of the most dangerous players in the state that every team had to account for.”
Sosenko and Sharp rounded out the group.
Sosenko, a senior, was third on the Bulldogs in goals (10) and fourth in assists (five) while providing excellent defense in the midfield. Sharp is the lone player that will be returning to his respective team next season, and his coach will sure be happy to have him, as the junior posts 12 goals and 11 assists, both second best on the squad.
“Ian, from day one he set the tone,” Howell said. “I think you saw that with his success on the field this season playing out of our center-mid spot. He was our emotional leader who wore his heart on his sleeve and kept guys motivated.
“Charlie, I cannot say enough good things about. He started off as our center-mid, and we moved him up to give the team a different dynamic. From there, he really exploded. His work rate is second to none, and he can play any position on the field.”