CLEWISTON– Clewiston High School junior Josue Gonzalez is this week’s Big Lake Athlete of the Week for his performance during the Tigers varsity soccer team’s 5-1-2 start this year.
Gonzalez already has 18 goals through Clewiston’s first eight games in 2019, including a season high seven goals in a single game against Moore Haven on Nov. 12.
Clewiston’s offense has looked unstoppable early in the season. The Tigers put up back to back 8-0 shutouts over Sebring and Glades Day on Nov. 21 and Dec. 3. In each of those games Gonzalez led his team with three goals.
During his freshman year Gonzalez broke the varsity scoring record at Clewiston with 41 goals for the season. That year the Tigers made it all the way to the regional semifinals.
Last year the Tigers were crowned district champions, and advanced to the regional semifinal again where they faced the Cardinal Mooney Cougars.
In that regional matchup, it didn’t take long for Clewiston to see Cardinal Mooney’s game plan, which was to stop Josue Gonzalez at all costs. The Cougars doubled and even sometimes triple-teamed Gonzalez for almost the entire game. Still, despite being triple covered, Gonzalez managed to get his shots in, including an early ball that was denied with a great save by the Cardinal Mooney goalie.
Ultimately the Cougars were able to slip by the Tigers by a score of 1-0 with a late goal in the final minutes of the game.
Tigers soccer coach Skip Crawford has called Gonzalez a rarity and says his confidence in his own shots gives him the ability to put up big numbers in games.
Clewiston’s only loss thus far in the season came to LaBelle back on Nov. 19. LaBelle has long been a thorn in the Tigers’ side. Back in 2017 it was LaBelle that defeated Clewiston during that year’s district championship.
Following the Nov. 19 game the two teams met again for a rematch on Dec. 10. This time, however, the Tigers were able to battle their way into a stalemate with their rivals, leaving the game with a 2-2 tie.
The Tigers will have their hands full in their next match, when they host the powerhouse Lely Trojans on Dec. 20. Lely currently has a 10-2 record and should be a good test for a Tigers squad that has state championship aspirations.
If you have someone you’d like to nominate for Big Lake Athlete of the Week, email Lake Okeechobee News sports reporter Richard Marion at firstname.lastname@example.org.