Hilmar High’s Jose Guerrero helped lead his team to new heights this year, winning a section title and breaking a school record, earning him the honor of the Journal’s Player of the Year.
“I appreciate being named Turlock Journal player of the year,” said Guerrero. “This means a lot to me because in my head I always want to win and be the best. It feels special because that tells you that you're doing the thing right and makes you want to go for more.”
“That is fantastic about Jose, fantastic kid, great to coach,” said Hilmar head coach Louie Bettencourt. “He works so hard and never complains. He is a scoring machine and always finds a way, and I told him to keep working and hopefully a school will pick him up because he deserves to play at the next level.”
Guerrero broke the school record for all-time goals scored after he notched his 100th goal in the Nor-Cal semifinal game against Anderson High.
In 27 games played this season, Guerrero scored 41 goals.
“Yeah, it's crazy breaking the school record and just being a junior. In a way I did envision myself breaking the school record because before soccer started, I knew I just had to score 41 goals this season to reach 100 goals,” said Guerrero. “Even in my third period class, my teacher … would track the goals I had this season. They would always ask me, "how many did you score?" and I would respond by telling them two or three. I did not think I would be successful at the high school level, but luckily I have friends, family and teachers that support me especially Mrs. Alvares, Mrs. Mendes, Mrs. Amarante and my family and last but not least, coach Louie and my teammates.”
“He is very generous and not selfish at all, he puts the team first,” said Bettencourt. “He is an incredible player and hopefully will have him for one more season. The sky’s the limit for him and happy to see where he goes.”
As a sophomore, Guerrero scored 37 goals — 78 goals over the past two seasons, combined.
His outstanding ability to score and create chances are some of the reasons that he was also chosen as the Best Offensive Player of the Year for the TVL.
“I think I was so successful this past season because I just have a great team and teammates,” said Guerrero. “We wanted to win everything we could. Personally, for me it was about just being hungry and wanting more, but also our coach for pushing the team and me to become the best we could.”
Bettencourt coached the Yellowjackets to their second straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division-V title after they defeated Linden in a wild 5-4 overtime victory in the final.
They then earned a berth in the Nor-Cal Regional State tournament and fought their way till the end, squaring off against schools that by enrollment, were giants.
They reached the Nor-Cal Regional D5 Championship after winning two straight state games against schools with enrollment in the thousands.
They fell to normally D1 Oakland Tech, which had an enrollment of more than 2,100, in the final after a 2-0 game.
The success from this past season led to Bettencourt being named the Coach of the Year.
“Very impressive, it is an honor to be chosen or even be considered, but it is all about the kids, we just try to develop them and work together and leave it out on the field,” Bettencourt added. “The previous year was great, but to do it the second time was sweet, even though we didn't win state, we played some of the bigger schools, very happy with it and very pleased.”
ALL-JOURNAL BOYS SOCCER
Player of the Year: Jose Guerrero (Hilmar)
Coach of the Year: Louie Bettencourt (Hilmar)
All-Area/All-Journal Boys Soccer Team
Lucas Fontes, Turlock
Ethan Gardner, Turlock
Iosef Huitron, Turlock
Luke Redman, Turlock
Salvador Plancarte, Turlock
Eduardo Garcia, Turlock
Xavier Barajas, Pitman
Bryan Manriquez, Pitman
Daniel Galdamez, Pitman
Felipe Lopez, Pitman
Ethan Aiken, Hilmar
Marc Matos, Hilmar
Miguel Padilla, Hilmar
Adrian Diaz, Pitman
Alex Ayala, Turlock
Preston Nguyen, Turlock
Christian Obando, Denair
Jesus Flores, Denair
Marcos Pimentel, Hughson
Riley Piatt, Hughson