This happens every year at high schools across the country: a star senior, or group of seniors, moves on and the responsibility to carry a team to greatness falls to someone else.
That person either cracks under the pressure or rises to the occasion.
Valencia High’s Josh Ferguson soared.
The diminutive senior speedster scored 10 goals during Foothill League play, lifting Valencia to its second straight outright league title and earning league Player of the Year honors.
“Instead of being a supporting player, Josh had to be the man this year,” said Valencia coach Tony Scalercio. “That’s not an easy thing to do.”
Valencia graduated two All-CIF players, both crucial to the team’s offense, from its 2016 squad that won a CIF SoCal Regional title.
Ferguson, who earned All-CIF honors last year and did it again this season, scored 10 goals in preleague play as a senior.
He scored the same number in league, but, more importantly, he scored when it mattered.
Ferguson posted Valencia’s only goal in a win over Hart on Jan. 24. He did the same in a win over West Ranch three days later.
Valencia finished six points ahead of second-place Saugus in the Foothill standings.
“He scored goals that were important,” Scalercio said, “and they didn’t come easy. I give him a lot of credit for that.”
Ferguson, for his part, felt any number of Vikings could have earned the Foothill’s highest honor.
“I thought that it’s a great honor, obviously,” he said. “Our team has so many great players, so to be nominated for Player of the Year is amazing. It’s a great feeling.”
Ferguson plans to attend Cal State Northridge next season to study communication and business, and he hopes to play soccer.
Even if his athletic career is over, though, he has a great two-year varsity career to look back on.
“Mostly I’ll remember our back-to-back league titles,” said Ferguson, who finished with 21 goals overall on the season, which ended in the Division 3 quarterfinals. “I’ll remember a great young team that was able to manage a pretty good season.”
Jamie Ledezma, senior, Canyon
Pedro Hernandez, senior, Golden Valley
Jesus Ocampo, senior, Hart
Michael Valencia, senior, Hart
James Johnson, senior, Saugus
Josh DeLeon, senior, Saugus
Tanner Brown, junior, Saugus
Cesar Dominguez, senior, Valencia
Sean Kim, senior, Valencia
Omar Darwish, senior, Valencia
Tyler Mendes, senior, West Ranch
Freddy Montes, junior, West Ranch
David Hernandez, junior, Canyon
Dylon Hartigan, senior, Canyon
Robert Castro, sophomore, Golden Valley
Darian Cerin, senior, Golden Valley
Omar Gonzalez, senior, Hart
Luis Valadez, senior, Hart
Matt Sayers, junior, Saugus
Collin Infuso, senior, Saugus
Ian Young, sophomore, Valencia
Davis Juico, senior, Valencia
Bradley Nichols, senior, West Ranch
Emilio Santamaria, senior, West Ranch
Sebastian Bejarano, junior, Canyon
Hayden Allen, senior, Golden Valley
Jake Erazo, junior, Hart
Brennen Armendariz, junior, Saugus
Tyler Traber, senior, Valencia
Jacob Gendein, freshman, West Ranch