Rodrigo’s senior season ends on familiar note: no playoffs, yet near-perfect contributions from ‘Legatron’

Updated through Apr. 28, 2015

Rodrigo lets fly with one of his patented 60-yards-plus free kicks during his final soccer game for Sprayberry on Apr. 21 vs. North Atlanta, a 2-1 win for the Yellow Jackets.
Rodrigo lets fly with one of his patented 60-yards-plus free kicks during his final soccer game for Sprayberry on Apr. 21 vs. North Atlanta, a 2-1 win for the Yellow Jackets.

Rodrigo’s senior season for Sprayberry came to a normal conclusion for the underperforming program as the Yellow Jackets gained no playoff berth and had a final record of 5-11-1, including a pair of meaningless victories over fellow have-nots River Ridge and North Atlanta after being knocked out of playoff consideration 5-0 by Sequoyah.

However, and despite the substandard coaching the team had to endure during Rodrigo’s tenure, the 6-1, 190-pounder was a veritable automaton regardless of how far out of position he was placed.

Even though his teammates were substantially outscored and outplayed, Rodrigo’s standards of excellence were never compromised. He finished the season averaging well under one error per game, his touch efficiency remained near-perfect at 99.8 percent and his pass completion percentage rose steadily, ending at more than 93 percent after completing more than 98 percent of his passes over the final three games.

Mysteriously removed from the central midfield spot he had occupied for the previous two varsity seasons while averaging 80 minutes per game, Rodrigo became an immovable object at right back (occasionally left back and center back) while his teammates consistently gave away the midfield the entire season. For the season, Rodrigo was dispossessed only once for a grand total of two for the entire three seasons of varsity competition.

Rodrigo soars above the crowd to head a dangerous ball out of the penalty area against North Atlanta. Near the end of the game, he would be head-butted by an opponent on a similar play.
Rodrigo soars above the crowd to head a dangerous ball out of the penalty area against North Atlanta. Near the end of the game, he would be head-butted by an opponent on a similar play.

Rodrigo contributed only one goal to the Sprayberry offense as his defensive position kept him out of the attacking zone most of the time, but it was an important one — a game-tying free kick with three minutes left to play that enabled Sprayberry to tie visiting Campbell 2-2. At the time, Campbell was undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the state in a higher classification.

He also had three assists, all of them from long range. His major contributions from the back were goal kicks, which averaged more than 65 yards with a best of 73 yards, even though his teammates rarely capitalized on the long bombs deep into the attacking half.

For “Legatron” (a nickname coined for him by a Georgia Bulldog football fan excited about the upcoming fall season in Athens), a long season of frustration ended, ironically, on the bench: he was head-butted by a North Atlanta player while clearing a ball out of the penalty area, sending him to the sidelines for the last six minutes of his career, diagnosed with a mild concussion.