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story.lead_photo.caption Daniel Mondragon

Warren's boys soccer program has been in existence since the 2011 season.

Daniel Mondragon helped deliver the Lumberjacks' first state championship in 2018.

At a glance

SCHOOL Warren

CLASS Senior

POSITION Midfielder

NOTEWORTHY Had 45 goals and 19 assists in 2018. … Led Warren to its first Class 4A state championship. … Four-year starter for the Lumberjacks. … Undecided on college.

The senior midfielder scored two goals in Warren's 2-0 victory over Berryville in the Class 4A state championship game May 19 at Razorback Field on the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville campus.

Mondragon capped his senior season with 45 goals and 15 assists, and is this year's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps boys soccer player of the year.

It's the state championship game that has stuck on Coach Taylor Wood's mind when it comes to Mondragon.

"That's where all the marbles are," Wood said. "We knew going into the game that if Daniel performed like he had all year, we would be okay and have a chance to win. That one stands out. You need your star player to perform."

Mondragon was motivated to get back to the state final after Warren's 6-1 loss to Dardanelle in 2017.

"We knew we could get back to the state championship match," Mondragon said. "We kept thinking about the loss. We got back to the final and won."

Wood was Mondragon's head coach for one season, but was impressed with him early on.

"He obviously has great skill," Wood said. "But what sets him apart is his intelligence on the field. He knows where the ball needs to go.

"No one can control the ball like he can."

Mondragon praised his teammates for his success this season.

"They got me the ball when I was open," Mondragon said. "I came out for my teammates."

The experience that Mondragon, a four-year starter, had was beneficial for the Lumberjacks, Wood said.

"You get to a certain point where your mind slows down in the game, so you can outthink the other players in the game," Wood said.

Wood said Mondragon's presence over the past four seasons has helped Warren's program grow into one of the state's best.

"There's such a fun soccer community in Warren," Wood said. "Daniel plays good soccer. That helps you build your program and getting that community behind you. It showed people that soccer is the real deal in Warren."

Mondragon, who has lived his entire life in Warren, said he was proud to play for the Lumberjacks and wanted to help build the soccer program.

"Warren has been a great high school team in any sport," Mondragon said. "I wanted to make sure that people knew there was soccer down here."

Sports on 06/03/2018

Print Headline: Mondragon leads Warren to the top

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