Taco Bell Athletes of the Week

High school football in The 209 and an education, it’s a great combination.
That’s the message that Taco Bell is promoting, with Black Hat Football, as we prepare for the 2016 season. We’ll select 3 Taco Bell Athletes of the Week each Monday during the football season, through the Sac-Joaquin Section Section playoffs, and each earns a $20 gift card for tasty treats and a Taco Bell Athlete of the Week patch.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK 14
DB DOM REA, MANTECA BUFFALOES
The sophomore was a running terror for the Buffaloes’ JV team during this regular season, and he’s continued to have an impact since Manteca Coach Eric Reis promoted Rea to the varsity for the playoffs.
Rea intercepted two passes in Friday night’s 41-36 victory over Christian Brothers in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3, and it was his second interception in the game’s closing moments that sealed the victory. In the playoff opener vs. Rio Americano two weeks earlier, Rea caught a 63-yard touchdown pass.
OL NICO SARALE, OAKDALE MUSTANGS
The 6-foot-4, 260-pound tackle is the top player on the top offensive lines in The 209, and he helped clear the way for the Mustangs to rush for a whopping 648 yards in Friday’s 63-27 rout of Patterson in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 final. That sends Oakdale (12-1) into this Friday’s D3 title game against Manteca (11-2) at 7 p.m. at Lincoln High.
Playing the #4 seed Tigers, Oakdale went on a 36-7 scoring spree in the second half, running at will behind Sarale and the offensive line. Fullback Josh Jacobson ran for a school-record 359 yards, Cameron Cherry ran for 225 yards and Zac Campbell added another 64 yards.

RB ISAAC SHARP, HILMAR YELLOWJACKETS

The junior needed just 13 carries to pile up 249 yards and score 2 TDs in Saturday night’s 42-13 win over Trans-Valley League rival Modesto Christian in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 6 title game. When the teams met in league, MC rolled Hilmar in a 41-13 win.
Sharp had two 100-yard games in the regular season, but he had 34 carries for 234 yards and 2 TDs in his first two playoff games. He averaged 161 yards and 2 TDs in each of his 3 playoff games, and now has 1,097 yards and and 10 TDs.
After averaging just 10 carries per game in the regular season, Sharp had games of 15, 19 and 13 carries in the Section playoffs. His 8-5 Yellowhackets host 13-0 Strathmore & 2K RB Joe Cedeno Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in a play-in game to advance to a NorCal Bowl.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK 13
RB JOSH JACOBSON, OAKDALE MUSTANGS
The senior fullback had just six carries in the Mustangs’ second-round victory over Vanden, but those half-dozen runs produced 120 yards and 2 TDs to send Oakdale to Friday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 semifinal. The top-seeded Mustangs (11-1) host #4 Patterson (11-1) Friday at The Corral.
Jacobson’s 49-yard TD run gave Oakdale a 28-0 lead early in the second quarter, sending Oakdale on its way to a 41-16 win. He’s run for 1,262 yards and 22 TDs, despite playing in the same backfield with prolific Cameron Cherry – who will top the 2,000-yard mark at some point Friday night.
QB GINO CAMPIOTTI, MANTECA BUFFALOES
The senior had 373 yards offense (269 yards passing/104 yards rushing), accounted for 6 TDs and kicked 8 PATs as the Buffaloes crushed American Canyon 63-32 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 quarterfinal Friday night.
It was the 4th time in the last 5 games that Manteca scored at least 60 points.
#2 seed Manteca (10-2) hosts #3 Christian Brothers (10-2) in Friday’s semifinal: Manteca beat CB 36-35 earlier this season behind Campiotti’s fourth-quarter touchdown passes. Top seed Oakdale (11-1) hosts #4 Patterson (11-1) in Friday’s other D3 semifinal.
RB DAUSON BOOKER, CENTRAL CATHOLIC RAIDERS
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior rushed for 226 yards and scored 4 TDs – one of them coming on a 92-yard kickoff return – as the Raiders rolled past Rocklin 42-18 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II quarterfinal. #3 seed Central (10-1) hosts #7 Del Oro (7-5) in next Friday’s semifinal game.
Booker averaged 13.3 yards per carry – he had 17 runs – and had TD runs of 74 and 60 yards on consecutive carries in the first quarter. His kickoff return came in the third quarter, then he ran in from the 2 in the fourth quarter. He’s run for 1,678 yards and 23 TDs, averaging 10.3 yards per carry. 
Booker was also in on six tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK 12
QB JAKE GOOKIN, SONORA WILDCATS
The Wildcats’ junior assumed a greater role in the offense following the early season loss of dynamic Kane Rodgers, and he delivered like never before in Friday’s 70-48 first-round Section Division 5 playoff win over Highlands.
He ran for 260 yards and scored 5 touchdowns, and threw for 155 yards and another TD.
Gookin has thrown for 645 yards and 5 TDs, and he now has 1,165 yards and 12 TDs on the ground. His Wildcats (9-2) are the top seed in D5 and host #5 Colfax (8-3) in Friday’s semifinal.
Check out a couple of Gookin’s throws to Evan Bearden from Friday’s win, which featured 43 second-half points for the Wildcats.
RB DUSTY FRAMPTON, ST. MARY’S RAMS
The three-year varsity starter has been a workhorse in key games, with the early season loss of QB Noah May, and that continued with 195 yards and 5 TDs in Thursday’s 58-20 DIvision 1 playoff win over Edison of Stockton. Frampton is averaging 9.1 yards per carry, and he needed just 19 carries to gain his 195 yards against Edison.
Frampton has five consecutive 100-yard rushing games, with totals ranging from 203 yards to 193 yards, and has scored 13 TDs over those five games. The #3 seed Rams (9-2) host #6 Sheldon (9-2) in Friday’s quarterfinal.
QB RYAN DAGGETT. RIPON INDIANS
The Indians were the #7 seed in the 8-team Division 5 playoff bracket, but turned the seeding upside down by knocking off #2 Calaveras 28-13. Daggett produced Ripon’s first TD with a 55-yard run, crossing the field and evading tacklers.
Daggett then tossed s 171-yard TD to Roland Davis to give the Indians a 14-7 lead it would never relinquish. Daggett completed 8 of his 12 throws for 90 yards, and Friday’s game put him over 1,000 passing yards. The long dash was a surprise – Daggett had run for only 68 yards total in the regular season.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK 11
QB JONAH KOSAKIEWICZ, TURLOCK BULLDOGS
Turlock has been winning with defense and a diverse running game, but it was Kosakiewicz’s turn in Friday’s Harvest Bowl. The QB completed 11 of 17 passes for 174 yards and 2 TDs, and ran for 59 yards and a TD to beat Pitman 39-32.
The win clinched a second consecutive Central California Conference title for the Bulldogs, who open the Division 1 playoffs this week at Tracy.
Kosakiewicz’s 10-yard throw to Jordan Porter gave Turlock a 17-10 lead in the second quarter, and his 17-yarder to Garrett Fountain made it 32-21 in the fourth. After Pitman cut the lead to 32-27 with 3:35 to play, Turlock’s QB scored on a 39-yard to secure the victory with 1:35 to play.
QB DAVIS REYA-RUIZ, EDISON VIKINGS
The Vikings were facing a must-win and their sophomore QB produced the win, throwing for 414 yards and 4 TDs during a 42-19 win over Franklin in their regular-season finale. His career night included an 85-yard TD to Isaiah Evans.
The 6-foot, 170-pounder completed 18 of 22 throws, and averaged 23 yards per completion for the Vikings – who visit #3 seed St. Mary’s in Thursday’s Division 1 playoff opener. His big night produced two 100-yard receivers – Evans with 126 yards and RB Jordan Whatley with 111 – and the QB also ran 3 times for 22 yards.
Reya-Ruiz has thrown for 2,272 yards, with 25 TDs and 5 interceptions, for the 6-4 Vikings. 

RB/DB BRONSON HARMON, OAKDALE MUSTANGS

He was the game-changer in Friday’s Grower Direct Nut Co. Game of the Week, as the Mustangs scored 21 unanswered points to stun Central Catholic in the Valley Oak League championship game. Trailing 14-0, Harmon ripped off a 54-yard run to set up Oakdale’s first TD — finishing with 137 yards on 8 carries.
Harmon also had two interceptions, each denying Central Catholic a score. His first pick at his own 5-yard line denied the Raiders late in the first half, and his second set up Oakdale’s game-winning drive. That culminated with Cameron Cherry (197 yards, 21 carries) busting off a long TD run for the 27-21 victory.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK 10
WR/RB MICHAEL WINTERS, RIPON INDIANS
Ripon High is back in the Trans-Valley League championship race, following Friday’s 53-7 rout of Hughson and Escalon’s 37-14 upset of Modesto Christian. That leave Ripon (6-3 overall), MC and Escalon tied for first place in the TVL, all with 3-1 records and all favored to win this week. That would result in a 3-way tie for the title, with all three advancing to the playoffs.
Michael Winters, who has spent much of this season running the ball for the Indians, was converted to a receiver Friday night and made the move pay off. Winters caught 6 passes for 165 yards – including 3 touchdowns – and ran for a fourth TD. Winters started the scoring with a 5-yard TD run, then had TD catches of 9 and 26 yards in the second quarter. He capped his night with a 62-yard TD catch and run in the third quarter. 
RB JASAUN ALLEN, CHAVEZ TITANS
Chavez High has spent this season developing different ways to get the ball into the hands of speedy Jasaun Allen, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound junior. He’s caught passes, occasionally run the ball, returned some kicks and even threw a handful of passes. The Titans took Allen in a new direction Friday night, and it bodes well for the Titans and the 2018 football season.

Allen had career highs of 27 carries and 301 yards and 5 TDs in the 74-64 shootout win over Bear Creek, and he also caught 3 passes for 53 yards and another TD. Through the first eight games, Allen had 17 carries for 157 yards and 4 TDs, after primarily being a receiver (37 catches, 22-yyard average, 11 TDs). He is averaging 22 yards per catch, 10 yards per carry and has 21 overall TDs, with 12 2-point conversions for a total of 150 points.

K DALLIN TILBY, TURLOCK BULLDOGS
It had been two decades since Turlock High won an outright league title, before the Bulldogs won the Central California Conference crown a year ago. After 20 years of struggles, though, the Bulldogs are ready to win their second straight outright title. A victory over Pitman in Friday’s Harvest Bowl seals a second consecutive 6-0 conference record and should land Turlock (7-2, 5-0 in CCC) a home playoff opener.

Kicker Dallin Tilby helped assure that in Friday’s 23-7 win over Merced, booting field goals of 47, 45 and 36 yards – while also adding the extra point. Tilby was a kicker on the 2016 Starbucks/Black Hat Football Team for The 209, and this season he’s converted 6 of his 10 kicks, with two of the misses from beyond 40 yards. He’s also sending nearly half of his kickoffs into the end zone and has landed 8 of his 26 punts inside the 20-yard line.

TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK 9
QB BOBBY AVINA, GREGORI JAGUARS
Among The 209’s most efficient QBs this season – he’s sixth in the Section with 2,063 yards and fifth in the Section with 24 TDs – Avina continued his torrid senior season by completing 19 of 24 for a career-high 394 yards and 4 TDs in a 41-14 win over Davis. It keep Gregori (8-0, 4-0 MMC) tied with Modesto for first place, and the two meet at Friday in the Grower Direct Nut Co. Game of the Week at Gregori High.
Avina has completed 73 percent of his throws (125 of 169) for 2,062 yards — along with 24 TDs and 3 INTs. This is the third week in a row that Avina threw 4 TDs, and a victory Friday would clinch a first-ever league title for Gregori.
Gregori is one of four unbeaten teams remaining in The 209, with Orestimba (8-0), Big Valley Christian (8-0) and Central Catholic (7-0).
QB NORVALE HOWARD, MODESTO PANTHERS
The 5-foot-11 dual-threat QB dazzled previously unbeaten Downey with his arm and his feet in Friday’s 38-28 Modesto Metro Conference upset. Howard

Modesto Sr. QB #2 Norvale Howard tries to elude Downey Sr FS #8 Matt Williama. Photo by Dan Harris

completed 8 of 18 throws for 199 yards, with two TDs and an interception, and ran 19 times for 108 yards and a third TD. Downey was 8-0 and has won five straight MMC titles, a streak that is now in jeopardy. Modesto (6-2, 4-0), which shared MMC titles in 2013 and 2015, faces 8-0 Gregori this Friday in our Grower Direct Nut Co. Game of the Week.

QB CAMERON DEVILLE, STAGG DELTA KINGS
You can go home again, Cameron Deville has shown, though it requires sacrifice. Deville, who was at Stagg before moving to Lincoln as a sophomore, returned to the Delta Kings for this, his junior season.
He sat out the first five games – the price to be paid for transferring – but the Delta Kings are 3-0 since Deville took his first snap this fall. Friday night, in a showdown with McNair for first place in the SJAA, he threw for 277 yards and 4 TDs in a 42-16 victory that put Stagg alone in first place.
After having minimal impact in his Week 7 debut, Deville has completed 27 of 56 passes for 501 yards, with 7 TDs and 1 interception the last two weeks in victories. Prior to Deville’s arrival, Stagg’s two QBs had combined to complete 53 of 105 for 526 yards – with 2 TDs and 8 INTs – in the Delta Kings’ first five games.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK 8
TE GABRIEL SANCHEZ, GREGORI JAGUARS
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound is the best public school tight end to come through Modesto, and Sanchez has shown us all season that he has the size to block and the hands to catch. 
Sanchez had the game of his life during the 47-15 win over Enochs, posting  career highs for catches (8), yards (160) and touchdowns (3) in a 41-15 win. That kept Gregori (7-0, 3-0) perfect going into Davis (2-5) next weekend, with Modesto (5-2, 3-0) and Downey (8-0, 4-0) awaiting the final two weeks. Sanchez now has 37 catches, averaging 17.4 yards per catch, with 8 TDs.

WR MERLE BASS, LINCOLN TROJANS

It was a slow start to 2017 for Merle Bass, who had zero yards receiving in a season-opening rout at the hands of Antioch: He caught 4 passes, he just didn’t gain any yards. He’s become much more efficient since that season-opening struggle, but Friday night’s performance set a new mark for efficiency.
Bass caught 4 passes — yes, just like the Antioch game — but this time the 6-foot, 185-pound junior made them count for a whopping 228 yards. He had an 80-yard TD catch-and-run and it’s the fifth time in the last six games that Bass topped 100 yards receiving. Bass is now among the Section leaders with 46 catches for 863 yards and 7 TDs.
QB CLAY ABRAMS, BUHACH COLONY THUNDER
Production vs. performance is always challenging, trying to weigh a QB’s performance depending on his offense: Some kids will never throw for 400 and 6 TDs, the offense doesn’t allow.
It’s why we appreciated he performance of BC QB Clay Abrams, whose Thunder aleways prefer to run the ball. BC gave Abrams a few shots on Week 8, and he made good on them.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior threw TD passes to LJ Wallace, Isaiah Long and Andrew Bernabe – then ran for a TD in the second half to provide all the scoring in the Thunder’s 27-14 win over Pitman in the Central California Conference. The win means the Thunder (5-3, 3-1) is heading to the playoffs so long as it beats Merced (3-4) or Atwater (2-5) in its final two games this season — snapping a five-year layoff drought.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK 7
QB RAFAEL LARA, McNAIR EAGLES
The junior had a night to make any quarterback salivate, piling up 431 yards offense and accounting for 7 touchdowns in the Eagles’ 72-48 shootout over Chavez in a San JoaquinAthletic Association opener. Lara completed 14 of his 30 throws for 342 yards, with 5 TDs and 2 interceptions, and he ran 6 times for 89 yards and 2 more TDs. 
Lara’s top targets were Andrew Hem (6 catches, 155 yards, 2 TDs) and Isaiah Redic (4, 111, 2). McNair (3-3, 1-0) visits Edison (4-2, 0-1) Friday night at 7:15 p.m.
WR HUNTER FALCONI, OAKDALE MUSTANGS
With some help from quarterback Marc Dickson, the senior took Oakdale High’s vaunted Wing-T to a new level in Friday’s critical 36-15 Valley Oak League over Manteca, with career highs of 8 catches for 155 yards and two TDs. His 22-yard score gave Oakdale a 15-8 lead it would ever relinquish, then Falconi sealed the deal with a 47-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter to make the score 29-8. 
The Mustangs typically rely on their physical running game to run away from foes in the second half, and there was plenty of that, as well. RBs Cameon Cherry and Josh Jacobson combined for 44 yards and 270 yards – much of it coming after Manteca’s defense backed off the line in an attempt to defend the pass.
WR JAIROL HARRIS-RED, DOWNEY KNIGHTS
The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder skipped his junior football season to focus on basketball, but returned to the field for his senior year. It’s been a great return, and Friday night he caught 8 passes for 199 yards and 3 TDs in a 40-28 win over Beyer. The Patriots (6-0, 3-0) are five-time defending Modesto Metro Conference champions.
Red has 30 catches and 8 TDs, and is averaging 20 yards per catch.
2017 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK 6
RB JORDAN WHATLEY, EDISON VIKINGS
The 6-foot-3, 170-pounder was the driving force behind a potent ground game that led Edison to a 59-35 non-league win over Pacheco. Whatley had 18 carries for 173 yards and a touchdown, while catching two passes for 46 yards. It was the third 100-yard game of the season for Whatley, whose Vikings (4-1) open San Joaquin Athletic Association play this Friday when they visit Bear Creek.
QB GABE SANCHEZ, PATTERSON TIGERS
Sanchez delivered big against previously ubeaten Liberty of Madera Friday night, when he completed 17 of 26 passes for 356 yards and 5 TDs in a 54-28 win over the 5-0 Hawks. His performance lifted the Tigers’ record to 4-1, going into tis Friday’s Western Athletic Conference opener at Pacheco.
RB ELIJAH GILLIAM, MERCED BEARS
The sophomore stepped into a starring role when starter Andre Barnett was injured early in Friday night’s 48th Santa Fe Bowl, and Gilliam took full advantage of it. Elijah, whose brother Ulonzo was a 2016 Starbucks/Black Hat Football performer, had 17 carries for 133 yards and scored 4 touchdowns in the Bears’ 44-13 win over Atwater. The victory kept alive Merced’s (2-4, 1-1 CCC) playoff hopes – the conference’s top two teams earn automatic playoff berths.

2017 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK 5

RB MICHAEL RAMOS, LATHROP SPARTANS
A 1,000-yard running back a year ago, Ramos came into the 2017 season with a reputation. Friday night Ramos solidified his position among The 209’s runners, piling up a school-record 378 yards and scoring 4 TDs in a 36-18 homecoming win over rival Weston Ranch in The Battle for I-5 in San Joaquin County. Both schools border the Interstate.
It was also the Valley Oak League opener for both. Ramos now has 800 yards rushing with 6 TDs for the 202 Spartans. Enjoy Ramos’ Friday game film, above, and ya gotta love the way he pounds and pounds – then breaks loose and he’s dashing in the open field.
RB CHARLES JACKSON, ATWATER FALCONS
It’s been a while since Atwater High had a real opportunity to celebrate its football program, nearly two years to be exact. That’s because Atwater’s last football victory had come the final week of the 2015 season, when the Falcons beat crosstown rival Buhach Colony. 
Jackson brought the fun back to Atwater football Friday night, however, ripping off three longtouchdown runs to lead the Falcons to a 38-20 non-league win over Ceres. The sophomore had TD runs of 81, 77 and 56 yards – finishing with 15 carries for a career-high 232 yards. The 5-foot-7, 170-pounder has 494 yards and 6 TDs, averaging 8.8 yards per carry, this season.

RB PAYTON BASS, PITMAN PRIDE

He’s a familiar name to Pride fans and anyone who followed football in The 209 a year ago: His brother is Devan Bass, the 2016 Starbucks/Black Hat Football Large-School Player of the Year. Payton saved Pitman’s season with a whopping six touchdowns in Friday’s 50-47 shootout over Merced – with his sixth touchdown providing the critical winning points. That gives Pitman (1-3 in the preseason) new life with a 1-0 Central California Conference record,
2017 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK 4
QB ANTHONY CABALLERO, LOS BANOS TIGERS
Talk about a career game, Caballero completed 11 of 21 passes for 276 yards and a whopping 6 touchdowns as Los Banos throttled Dos Palos 49-22 in the West Side War. He threw three TDs to Daniel Guerrero during a 28-point second quarter, then Caballero tossed scoring passes of 48 and 56 yards to Landon Ramos in the third quarter. Then came the 70-yard TD pass to Paulie Calderon. He also ran for 55 yards. The Tigers are off this week, then return to face 2-2 Chowchilla on Sept 29. in their non-conference finale.
RB/LB LUKE FULKERSON, SUMMERVILLE BEARS
The 6-foot, 185-pounder handled just about every chore in the Bears’ 28-21 victory over Hughson, a win that pushed Summerville’s record to 4-0. Fulkerson intercepted two passes, had 3 carries for 8 yards, was in on nine tackles, caught 4 passes for 96, caused a fumble, had a 17-yard punt return, and even threw a 23-yard TD pass. He has 37 touches for 357 yards and 5 TDs for the Bears, who have a bye this week before opening Mother Lode League play Sept. 29 when they host Linden.
RB LEE WEBB, STAGG DELTA KINGS
His 5-foot-6, 160-pound frame can’t take this sort of work every Friday night, but Webb showed he’s capable of being the occasional workhorse by carrying 25 times for 178 yards and 4 TDs as the Delta Kings beat Lodi 38-29 to hand the Flames their first loss of the season. Webb also played some QB, completing 4 of 5 for 26 yards and yet another touchdown.
In the last two weeks, Webb has run for 330 yards and 6 touchdowns in back-to-back wins.
2017 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK 3
WR ANDREW HEM, McNAIR EAGLES
McNair High receiver Andrew Hem gets overlooked at times, but can that happen to an agile slot receiver who is 5-foot-7 and about 145 pounds. Ask any defensive coordinator on the Eagles’ schedule, and they’ll now exactly who – and where- he is.Even before Friday’s memorable night, Hem was first among all Sac-Joaquin Section receivers with 356 yards and second with 17 receptions, one behind the leader. That was a remarkable pace, and he exceeded even that in a 41-27 loss to the Bears.The junior caught 15 passes for 180 yards, pushing his seasons totals to 32 catches for 536 yards and 4 TDs. Wild numbers from their wide receivers isn’t a new phenomenon for the Eagles: A few years ago, Derrion Grim’s were among the best in nation, and Saturday Grim caught a TD pass in Fresno State’s loss to top-ranked Alabama. The Eagles host 3-0 Gregori of Modesto this week, then visit Tokay of Lodi before opening the San Joaquin Athletic Association.

RB OLIVER PEREZ, GUSTINE REDS
It was a career night for the Reds (2-0) and Oliver Perez, as the running back had 26 carries for 306 yards — averaging 11.8 yards a carry – and 3 TDs as the Reds stunned Merced County rival Hilmar 30-24. Perez also was in on five tackles, kicked 3 extra points and even added a field goal.
Knocking off Hilmar, a potential contender for the Trans-Valley League, was a significant win for a Southern League school. The Reds host Modesto Christian Friday, the open league play at Denair on September 22.
RB/DB ESTEVAN BARRAGAN, CENTRAL VALLEY HAWKS
He filled just about every role that the Hawks could have expected, running the ball, catching passes, making first downs, scoring touchdowns … and still having the strength to play a critical game on defense in a 35-28 win over Davis of Modesto.
Barragan ran 26 times for 159 yards and 2 TDs, while catching 3 passes for 89 yards and a third TD – that’s 29 touches for 248 yards, or more than 8 yards per touch. He also was in on 10 tackles and defended two passes. 
2017 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK 2
QB LOGAN FIFE, TRACY BULLDOGS
It hasn’t taken long for Tracy sophomore quarterback Logan Fife to get accustomed to the varsity game. In his second start, he piled up 361 yards offense and accounted for 6 touchdowns in a 51-0 win over Buhach Colony in Week One. The 6-foot, 170-pounder completed 8 of 13 passes for 207 yards and 4 TDs, and ran 10 times for 151 yards and 2 TDs. 
QB BRYCE PETERSON, DOWNEY KNIGHTS
He entered the 2017 season as one of The 209’s most talked-about arrivals, and Downey junior quarterback Bryce Peterson hasn’t disappointed. After leading Downey to an overtime victory in his debut, Peterson piled up 450 yards offense and 6 touchdowns as his Knights scored a whopping 77 points to beat Patterson 74-49. Peterson even caught a 24-yard TD pass, while throwing for 358 yards and 3 TDs and running for 69 yards and two scores. He’s also averaging 55 yard as Downey’s punter.
WR HASSANI ZACKERY, EDISON-STOCKTON VIKINGS
Returning to a more typical role this season – Zackery played quarterback for the Vikings a year ago, filling a need – the senior receiver is displaying the skills we missed a year ago. He put on a show this weekend, catching 7 passes for 230 yards and four TDs — he had TD receptions of 25, 70, 35 and 76 yards in a 77-point explosion vs. Weston Ranch.
Since we’re talking about big-play receivers, we’ve included a video featuring five of the longest TD pass-catch plays in California from this past weekend. Enjoy!
2017 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK 1
RB CAMERON CHERRY, OAKDALE MUSTANGS 
Second fiddle to 2016 Starbucks/Black Hat Football MVP Will Semone a year ago, Cherry showed he’s ready for the starring role. He ran for 245 yards and 4 TDs in a 47-13 win over rival Sonora — it was the 101st meeting between the rivals and Oakdale leads the series 64-32-5. Oakdale is #2, behind only St. Mary’s, in Black Hat Football’s Top of The 209 Rankings.
WR/DB TYLER VARGAS, ORESTIMBA-NEWMAN WARRIORS
It was quite a 2017 debut for the Warriors’ top returning receiver, having caught 41 passes and 9 TDs a year ago. He caught 7 passes for 200 yards in Friday’s season-opening, 48-20 win over Mendota — scoring 3 TDs and also intercepting a pass. (He had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown called back for a clipping penalty.)
QB AMIER BOWEN, WESTON RANCH GOUGARS
The junior quarterback came into the season with lots of expectations, and he provided plenty of thrills in Friday’s 48-42 fireworks-filled loss to Ceres. He completed 24 of 32 throws for 334 yards and 3 TDs, while running for 184 yards and 2 TDs on 17 carries — a total of 518 yards offense and 5 TDs.
2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK 14
Oakdale LB Cullen Bearden played a key role in the Mustangs’ 51-14 rout of Christian Brothers-Sacramento, delivering the program’s third Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 championship in five years. Christian Brothers scored on its first two possessions, then Oakdale’s defense took its measure of the Falcons’ short passing game and dominated the rest of the way.Bearden was in on three sacks of QB Tyler Vander Waal, who is heading to Ball State, and he capped Oakdale’s lopsided win with a 40-yard Pick-6. Bearden arrived from Waterford two years ago, and was a linebacker on last year’s Starbucks/Black Hat Football Team.St. Mary’s-Stockton DE Jordan Stinhilver performed a virtually unheard feat during Saturday’s 56-25 win over Folsom, in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 final. The victory sends the Rams (13-1) into this week’s Northern California’s top-ranked bowl, to face 11-1 Freedom of Oakley. The game is Friday night at 7:30 at St. Mary’s.Stinhilver sacked Folsom QB Joe Curry four times, including a fourth-down sack that turned the momentum the Rams’ direction. His four sacks produced losses of 28 yards. Brookside Christian-Stockton QB Quincy Glaspar provided plenty of big plays in Saturday’s Northern California Bowl play-in game, a 52-30 win over Northern Section champion Biggs. The win sends the Knights into Saturday’s Northern California Bowl at St. Patrick/St. Vincent in Vallejo. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.Glaspar completed 19 of 31 passes for 366 yards, throwing 5 touchdowns and one interception. He also ran 5 times for 35 yards, as the Knights outscored Biggs 38-13 after trailing 17-13 in the final minute of the first half. Glaspar is throwing for 2659 yards a game – No. 6 in the Section – with 42 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.2016 TACO BELL ATHLETE S OF WEEK 13Oakdale DB C.J. Toledo provided the defensive play that might have salvaged the Mustangs’ season in the second quarter of Friday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 semifinal against Merced. With the visiting Bears already leading 21-7 and challenging to score another TD on a halfback pass, Toledo stepped in to turn the momentum Oakdale’s way.Instead of the long pass going for a touchdown, and giving the Bears a 21-point lead, Toledo played tight defense on the receiver and swiped the pass for an interception – one of three turnovers produced by the Oakdale defense. After Toledo’s interception, Oakdale stormed downfield for a TD and owned the rest of the night. Following Toledo’s play, Oakdale outscored Merced 28-0.All three of Oakdale’s turnovers produced TDs, and Toledo was part of a defense that shut out the potent Bears over the final three quarters at The Corral.Amador-Sutter Creek LB Andrew Keeter led an impressive defensive effort in the Buffaloes’ 30-7 victory over previously unbeaten and defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division 7 champion Bradshaw Christian. The Pride was averaging 38 points a game, but was held to a 70-yard TD run and little else in the D7 title game.Keeter was in on a bushel of tackles and recovered 3 fumbles, the last of which he fell on in the end zone for the final touchdown of the game. That gave Amad0r a 30-7 lead in the fourth quarter and set off their celebration. It was Amador’s first-ever Section title – and its first trip to the championship game.Amador (12-1) visits San Francisco Section champion Lincoln (8-5) Saturday at noon in a play-in game for a Northern California Bowl. The winner will advance and the loser’s season will be over.Manteca WR Jose Garcia was one of the surprising stars in Saturday’s 50-28 victory over Placer for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 championship. Wioth the Buffaloes trailing early and needing a spark, they went to the passing game and Garcia played a critical role on the receiving end.The 6-f00t, 170-pound senior caught 6 passes for 135 and 3 touchdowns, blowing through Placer’s secondary for big play after big play. His performance helps send 12-1 Manteca into a Northern California Bowl – their opponent, location and date will be announced next Sunday (December 4).2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK 12Merced QB Jacob Foss was projected to have a stat-filled senior season, returning for his second year as a starter in Coach Ron Scheidt’s explosive offense. That plan was derailed in the season opener, when Foss went down with what was feared could be a season-ending shoulder injury against Del Campo. Foss’ rehabilitation program had him back o the field in Week 8, and he made his first start in 2 months against Turlock in Week 9.Four weeks into his comeback, Foss has been as good as advertised prior to this season, and Friday he led the Bears to a 41-32 upset of fourth-seeded Del Campo in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 quarterfinals. The fifth-seeded Bears (9-3) are on the road again this week, facing top seed Oakdale (11-1) at The Corral.Foss completed 9 of 17 passes for 250 yards, and his plays were a 75-yard touchdown passes to Stephen Williams to get the Bears rolling and a 67-yard TD strike to Tanner Pellissier in the fourth quarter to help seal the win. In his four starts since returning, Foss has completed 52 of 90 passes for 910 yards, with 8 TDs and 3 interceptions. St. Mary’s-Stockton WR Keaton Hampton is part of a diverse offense, featuring a half-dozen big-play threats, and each of those players has a role. Hampton’s responsibility to stretch the defense, running those deep slants down the middle and running the sidelines to force the defense to stretch to the point where it eventually snaps.He accomplished that repeatedly in Friday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 quarterfinal, catching 4 passes for 133 yards – and scoring 3 touchdowns – in the Rams’ 44-7 rout of Pitman (10-2). The second-seeded Rams (11-1) host #3 Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills (10-2) in Friday’s semifinals, while Folsom (11-1) plays Ek Grove (11-1) in the other.

Hampton’s TD catches were 23, 46 and 58 yards, and he averaged 33 yards on his 4 catches. That pushed his season totals to 36 catches for 893 yards – 24.5 yards per catch – and 14 TDs. Half of his TDs are from 48 yards or longer.

 Brookside Christian-Stockton RB Reuben Lee shifted the balance of power in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division 7 playoff bracket, when he first suited for the Knights in the sixth game of their season. A transfer from Division 1 Lincoln High, he’s played the key role in sending Brookside into the State Bowl Series.

In Saturday’s Section-clinching victory over league rival Stone Ridge Christian-Merced, Lee ran 16 times for 160 yards and 2 TDs, caught 2 passes for 70 yards and a TD, he returned an interception 65 yards for a TD, averaged 33 yards on 2 kickoff returns, was in on 7 tackles in the 54-21 win at Bear Creek High in Stockton.

It’s been a remarkable 7-game run for Lee and the Knights: He has 1,825 yards offense (1,579 yards rushing & 246 receiving), to go with his 26 TDs. He’s also been in on 54 tackles this season for Brookside, which will learn its Bowl fate next week: The Knights could be selected for a NorCal Bowl, or might have to win a play-in game to reach a NorCal Bowl.

2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK 11Amador RB Daylan Thetford made the most of his opportunities, getting only 12 carries in the Buffaloes’ 48-12 win over Denair to open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 6 playoffs. The victory sends top seed Amador (10-1) into the semifinals, and Buffaloes host #4 Orestimba (10-1) – and it’s the second Mother Lode League foe in a row for Orestimba, which beat Bret Harte 29-27 in its playoff opener.While Thetford didn’t touch the ball often, he piled up career highs 244 yards and 6 TDs – scoring on runs of 59, 74, 1, 27, 26 and 7 yards. He averaged 18.7 yards per carry in the playoff opener and the performance pushed Thetford over the 1,000-yard mark – with 1,091 yards and 26 TDs in just 10 games.Amador’s lone loss is 35-14 to state small-school power Sonora (11-0), and a victory this week sends Amador to its first section final. Amador would face defending Section champ Bradshaw Christian (11-0) or rival Argonaut (8-3).Sonora QB Josh Harris got the Wildcats rolling in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 playoffs, rushjng for 182 yards and scoring 3 TDs in a 56-21 win over Modesto Christian. The top-seeded Wildcats are 11-0 and host #4 Capital Christian (9-2) in Friday’s semifinal.Sonora needed just 26 plays to pile up nearly 400 yards of offense, all of it in the ground, to open defense of its Section title. Harris took his first snap of the game and scored on a 51-yard TD to get the Wildcats rolling, and he pitched out to Kane Rodgers later in the first quarter – sparking a 78-yard TD run.Harries later scored on a 32-yard TD, then finished his night with a 67-yard TD run – pushing his team-high rushing total to 1,093 yards in 11 games. He’s also run for 16 TDs, while throwing for 1,021 yards and 10 TDs.Los Banos WR/KR Daniel Guerrero provided the offense and the thrills in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 playoff opener, scoring all 3 TDs and rallying the Tigers for a thrilling last-moment victory over El Dorado of Placerville. With the Tigers trailing 20-17, and on the El Dorado 11 with 35 seconds to play, Guerrero took a short pass and then bounced off two tackles before landing in the end zone for the game-winning TYD in the 23-20 win.Guerrero began the game in equally exciting fashion, taking the opening kickoff back 90 yards for a TD – he was returning the kicks because the regular was unavailable. With LB trailing 20-10, Guerrero had caught a 30-yard TD from Christian Corral to open the fourth quarter.The game-winning drive began on Los Banos’ 25, with 2:15 to go and LB out of timeouts. Guerrero (3 catches, 85 yards) had a 45-yard catch-and-run to key the drive, and it was the only time the Tigers gained more than 30 yards in any drive. The #4 seed Tigers (8-3) visit top seed Manteca (10-1) in Friday’s semifinal game.
2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK 10
Hilmar High RB Cody Rentfro was part of the Yellowjackets’ triple-threat backfield, with the play that he would team with RB Josh Jennings and QB Chase Kindberg to form a prolific backfield. That plan changed when Jennings for lost for the season with a knee injury – after just six carries in the opener – and then Coach Frank Marques really had to flip his offensive script when Kindberg was lost to a knee injury in Week 9.With only Rentfro left from the original trio, the Yellowjackets leaned heavily on their senior, who’s going to be a workhorse in the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. After averaging 15 carries in his 3 previous games, Rentfro had a season-high 28 carries , running for 189 yards and a TD in a 21-7 win over Ripon – a winner-take-all battle that decided the Trans-Valley League title.Rentfro has 171 carries for 1,427 yards and 11 TDs, averaging 8.3 yards a carry, and this was his sixth consecutive 100-yard game. He also had an interception and got in on 5 tackles against Ripon, and he’ll be center stage again Thursday when the Yellowjackets (9-1) host Colfax (7-3) in a Division 5 playoff opener.

Oakdale Strong Safety Jace Krick was one of three sophomore promotes to the varsity program last fall, when it was clear the team’s needs and Krick’s strengths were beneficial. This year, with a varsity season under his belt, The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is developing into of The 209’s hardest-hitting strong safeties.Central Catholic’s ball carriers were introduced to Krick’s style of play numerous times Friday night. which explains why his Mustangs physically dominated the Raiders on the way to a 34-21 victory. The win gave the Mustangs a share of the Valley Oak League title – the eighth time in the last decade that Oakdale has celebrated a league title.Only once this century has Oakdale lost more than 2 league games in a season and its league record over the last 16 years is 103-13.Merced High RB Ulonzo Gilliam has been a 3-year playmaker for the Bears and Coach Rob Scheidt, but the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder has never finished a season like this. He ran for 2 TDs, caught another and scored a fourth on a thrilling 70-yard punt return – leading the Bears to victory over crosstown rival Golden Valley for its 11th straight win in the Mayor’s Cup.Gilliam had 19 carries for 165 yards, his biggest game since topping 200 yards in the Bears’ second andthird games of the season. He also caught a 12-yard TD pass from Jacob Foss, and then came the punt return – gotta see the video above, he gets hit on the catch and then uses his blocking downfield.The performance pushed Gilliam’s TD total 21, and boosted his rushing total to 1,285 yards with an average of nearly 11 yards per carry. His Bears (7-3) open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 playoffs Thursday, hosting Beyer-Modesto (7-3).

2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK NINE

Ceres High QB Chris Lubinsky has out together a remarkable senior year, combining prolific statistics with on-field wins and even a late-season playoff run. The Bulldogs have gone to the Section playoffs just twice this century, in 2003 and 2004, and failed to advance past the first round.

Friday’s 42-41 loss to Pacheco ended the Bulldogs’ bid to end that playoff drought, but it didn’t damage the resume that Lubinsky has put together this fall. He completed 33 of 46 passes for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns, without throwing an interception.

That pushes Lubinsky’s season totals to 216 of 326 (66 percent completion rate) for 2,730 yards with 27 TDs and just 4 INTs in nine games. He’s second in the Section in passing yards, first in completions and attempts, and third in TD passes. As a junior, he completed 65 percent for 2,677 yards with 26 TDs and 8 INTs. 

Tracy High RB Mason Sarsfield was enjoying steady, yet unspectacular sophomore season going into Friday’s do-or-die Tri-City Athletic League game against Lincoln-Stockton. He was averaging 12 carries for 70 yards, and scoring a touchdown a game in the Bulldogs’ run-heavy scheme.

The 6-foot, 170-pound enjoyed a breakout game when it mattered the most, turning into a workhorse to lead the Bulldogs to a 49-24 win and sending them into the Section playoffs. A victory this week over winless West, the crosstown rival, clinches the TCAL’s second automatic playoff berth.

Sarsfield had career highs of 32 carries and 176 yards, scoring two touchdowns, allowing the Bulldogs to dominate the clock and control the tempo. Prior to Friday, Sarsfield had highs of 16 carries and 124 yards in an early season rout of Kimball – but he has now scored 7 TDs in four league games.

Modesto Christian RB Chris Brown has had an interesting senior season, playing quarterback at times and running back at others. His Crusaders lost 3 straight to open the season, then won 3 straight to climb back into the playoff race, then were beaten badly two weeks in a row to fall to the edge of playoff conversation.

Brown lifted his Crusaders out of the ‘conversation’ and put them into the playoffs with Friday’s thrilling 33-32 Trans-Valley League win over Escalon: MC is guaranteed a platyoff berth by beating 1-8 Mountain House this week. Brown threw a 28-yard TD to Emoni Karriem for MC’s first points in the third quarter, then took over in the fourth quarter.

Brown had 15 carries for 120 yards Friday, and scored two fourth-quarter TDs to sparked a 26-point quarter, and he also was in on 5 tackles and deflected a pass. Brown topped the 1,000-yard mark for the third year in a row, and his 1,104 yards this season give him a career total of 4,027 yards and 50 TDs.

2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK EIGHTTurlock High QB Danny Velasquez didn’t have many opportunities to make an impact in Friday’s Central California Conference rout of Atwater, but the converted running back took advantage when they appeared. The victory keeps Turlock (6-2, 4-0) tied with crosstown rival Pitman (8-0, 4-0) atop the CCC and the teams meet in the Harvest Bowl the last week of the regular season – after Turlock hosts Merced (6-2, 3-1) this Friday night.The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior completed 5 of his 8 throws for 85 yards, but for those went for touchdowns. He had scoring throws to Noel Mustafa-Johnson (11 yards), Dustin Grein (23 yards), Jordan Porter (32 yards) and Tyler Etharidge (2 yards), and also ran for a touchdown.Velasquez has become a versatile threat for Turlock, rushing for 671 yards and 7 TDs, while throwing for 715 yards and 10 TDs. He’s fumbled twice, but didn’t lose either one, and has thrown four interceptions – so he recognizes the need for ball security.Orestimba High QB Josh Barron was an efficiency expert in Friday night’s 42-7 Southern League victory over Waterford. That victory, which pushed the Warriors to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in league, also put them in sole possession of first place due to Delhi’s surprising loss to Denair.The 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior completed 12 of 13 passes, throwing for 158 yards and three touchdowns, continuing his string of impressive performances. Over the last four games Barron has completed 43 of 63 passes for 633 yards – throwing 11 touchdowns without an interception in the four wins. He’s thrown for 1,257 yards, completing 65 percent of his throws with 16 TDs and 3 interceptions.Orestimba hosts Delhi (7-1, 4-1) Friday night, and the Warriors would clinch the outright league title with a win. If Delhi wins, Orestimba can still assure itself of at least a co-title by beating West Side rival Gustine in the regular-season finale.Central Valley DB Estevan Barragan was a force on defense during Friday night’s 37-16 win over Pacheco, getting in on 14 tackles as the Hawks’ defense one of the most prolific offenses in The 209. Pacheco had been averaging 48 points a game, scoring 66, 48 and over its last three games.The Hawks (7-1, 3-0 Western Athletic Conference) are allowing just 11 points a game, a statistic virtually unheard of in this era of pinball-game offenses and high-scoring schemes. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound junior had six solo tackles and assisted on eight others, while deflecting two passes and recovering a fumble. Barragan has been in on a team-high 69 tackles this season, and has also deflected six throws.The victory lines up the Hawks for their first-ever league championship: They close with 1-7 Patterson and 4-4 Ceres, and win the outright title with two wins. If they are upset one of those weeks, they’re still assured nothing less than a WAC title.
2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK SEVENRipon High LB Bryce Kinsey was a tackling machine as a junior, earning first-team all-league honors after getting in on 149 tackles, and he’s spending lots of time around the ball again this year. Kinsey spent Friday night shadowing explosive Modesto Christian RB Chris Brown, who needed 31 carries to gain 110 yards – and that played a big role in Ripon’s 23-6 victory over the Crusaders.The middle linebacker was in on more than two dozen tackles for the Indians, pushing him over 100 tackles this season to go with his 3 sacks. As a kid, Kinsey played on a noteworthy youth football team that included East Union’s Jack Weaver, Central Catholic’s Cole Petlansky, Ripon Christian TE Ty Beidalman and Jake Beukelman.The victory kept Ripon (4-3, 2-0) tied for first place in the Trans-Valley League with Hilmar, and moved the Indians a step closer to clinching one of the league’s three automatic playoff berths. Ripon hosts Hilmar the final night of the regular season, after this week’s road trip to rival Escalon and then a home game against Hughson.McNair High-Stockton RB Austin Sith has been a big-play threat whether he’s taking a handoff of catching a pass, and that didn’t change Saturday night when his Eagles took on Edison-Stockton in the San Joaquin Athletic Association. The 5-foot-6, 155-pounder piled up 342 yards rushing and receiving, while scoring 4 TDs in a 66-36 shootout victory over the Vikings.Sith had 16 carries for 144 yards (9 yards per carry) and two TDs, and caught 3 passes for 198 yards and two more scores – including a 95-yard catch-and-run. Through seven games, Sith has run for 766 and 7 TDs, while catching 26 passes for 607 yards and 6 TDs. He’s averaging 23 yards per catch and 6 yards per carry.McNair (4-3, 2-0 SJAA) is tied with Bear Creek (3-4, 2-0) for first place, and they play the final week of the regular season. McNair must first take on Stagg-Stockton this Friday, in a must-win game for Stagg or its playoff bid is over.Central Catholic High-Modesto WR/DB/KR DaRon Bland was the biggest player in the week’s biggest game, scoring three long-distance touchdowns to lead the #2-ranked Raiders past #3 and previously unbeaten Manteca 32-14 in a Valley Oak League showdown. That leaves Central Cathilic & Oakdale tied for first place at 4-0, with Manteca one game back at 3-1 – Oakdale plays Manteca and Central Catholic the final two weeks of the regular season.Bland first returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, then he intercepted a pass in his own end zone and returned it 103 yards on the final play of the first half. Bland then took a pass behind the line of scrimmage and dashed 70 yards with it, his third TD of the game to seal the Raiders’ victory in the second half. Bland’s used to the spotlight: He had two Pick-6s in last year’s California State Small School Bowl victory.2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK SIXTurlock High LB Mustafa Noel-Johnson was the 2015 Starbucks/Black Hat Football Defensive Player of the Year as a junior, and he’s putting together just as impressive of a season as a senior. In Friday’s nailbiter, a 24-21 Central California Conference win over Golden Valley of Merced, the 6-foot-2, 260-pound had six solo tackles and assisted on five others, while making four tackles behind the line of scrimmage and posting a pair of QB sacks.Noel-Johnso has been in the thick of the action this season, with 34 solo tackles and 25 assists. He’s also got 19 tackles for losses, including six sacks that resulted in negative 46 yards. Turlock is 5-2 and in first place in the CCC with a 3-0 record: The Bulldogs can clinch a playoff berth by beating winless Atwater Friday, but then they face CCC challengers Merced (4-2, 1-1) and Pitman (6-0, 2-0).Manteca High QB Gino Campiotti is rarely going to out up the gaudy statistics to match his peers who are running the spread offense that throw the ball 30-plus times a night. It’s not that he couldn’t flourish in that system, it’s just that Campiotti plays quarterback for Manteca – and the defensive-focused Buffaloes prefer to run the ball.The Buffs called on their QB for big plays in Friday’s 48-13 win over rivals Sierra, however, and Campiotti responded by completing 14 of 20 passes for 132 and 2 TDs, while running 12 times for 84 yards and 2 TDs to push Manteca’s record to g a perfect 6-0.The Buffaloes are No. 3 in Black Hat Football’s Rankings for The 209, and they put their 6-0 record on the line this Friday when they visit second-ranked Central Catholic (4-2) in a Valley Oak League showdown. These two teams, along with Oakdale, are 3-0 in the VOL.Bear Creek High-Stockton’s Tre Wortham has become a touchdown machine during the Bruins’ three-game winning streak, a run that has the Bruins playing for the program’s first postseason berth. He scored five TDs in Friday’s wild 54-48 win over Edison to open the San Joaquin Athletic Association schedule.Wortham ran for TDs of 1, 2, 3 and 31 yards, and also caught a 28-yard TD pass. A week earlier, in a 22-20 win over Lodi, Wortham had returned an interception for a TD and also ran for the team’s other two TDs.
2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK FIVEStagg High-Stockton WR Cutrell Haywood was a receiving monster Friday night, catching a whopping 17 passes for 211 yards and four TDs in a 35-32 loss to Christian Brothers, a powerful parochial program from Sacramento. The versatile Haywood also had a 17-yard run, 3 tackles and deflected two passes.An All-Starbucks/Black Hat Football selection as a junior, Haywood has caught 43 passes for 710 yards and 10 TDs in five games: He’s averaging more than 8 catches a game, along with 142 yards and 2 TDs every Friday night.Manteca High WR Joel Olmos is adding a necessary ingredient to the Buffaloes’ physical offensive scheme, providing a downfield threat for strong-armed QB Gino Campiotti. Olmos caught 6 passes for 94 yards and 2 TDs in the Manteca’s 49-0 win over Weston Ranch, the Buffaloes’ third consecutive shutout.Manteca has outscored its five foes by a combined 246-19, and much of that damage has been done on the strength of its powerful and diverse running game. Olmos had caught 3 passes for 110 yards in an earlier win over Enochs, and his ability to break coverage should be an asset as opponents start stacking the line of scrimmage.Denair High RB Brenden Churnow had the night of a lifetime, and exorcise demons for the Coyotes’ faithful during Friday’s 50-0 Southern League shutout of Le Grand. Churnow scored 5 TDs, running for four and adding a fifth through the air, to help the Coyotes raise their record 3-2 overall, 1-1 in the Southern League.Churnow opened his night with a 25-yard TD run in the first quarter, then caught an 80-yard scoring pass from Kyle Prock to open the second quarter for a 20-0 lead. He finished things off with TD runs of 53, 35 and 41 yards in the third quarter.The three wins are a significant figure for the Coyotes: It’s been six years since the program won more than three games in a season, going back to the 2010 team that went 6-5. The next three weeks will provide Denair with some of its toughest competition with games against Ripon Christian, Orestimba and Delhi.
2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK FOURPitman High-Turlock DB/Slot Devan Bass continues to be the 209’s MVP through the first half of the season, piling up 230 yards and scoring 4 TDs as the 4th-ranked Pride beat the 5th-ranbked Merced Bears 34-27 in a Central California Conference opener. With the game tied at 27, caught a 60-yard TD with 14 seconds left for the victory.Bass, who pulled a similar feat to beat Lincoln two weeks ago, ran for 3 earlier TDs. It’s the third time this season Pitman has rallied from a big deficit – 20 points this time – to beat a ranked team.Central Valley-Ceres K Angel Lopez has emerged as The 209’s top kicker for the first half of 2016, booting a pair of 40-plus field goals for the upstart Hawks. He kicked a 43-yard field goal in Friday night’s 30-20 victory over West-Tracy – a kick that came with 2:04 to play and extended the lead to 10 points.Lopez kicked a school-record 46-yard field goal a few weeks ago in a 17-0 win over Enochs-Modesto, after kicking a 39-yarder in a 28-26 loss to Sierra-Manteca. He’s converted 10 of his 13 point-after kicks for the Hawks, who will be 4-1 when they open Western Athletic Conference play Friday vs. Livingston at Ceres High.Downey High-Modesto LB Aaric Holt has been a tackling machine the last two seasons, and continued to fly across the field Friday night. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior was in on 10 tackles, got two sacks and returned an interception 33 yards in the Knights’ 47-20 win over Davis.Holt has 60 tackles in five games, including six behind the line of scrimmage. Downey has won at least a share of the last four Modesto Metro Conference titles and is the midseason favorite to make it five in a row. The Knights are 3-2 and would be a Division 2 playoff teams
2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK THREELincoln High-Stockton senior QB Aaron Thomas provided the performance that Trojan fans have been waiting for, piling up 443 yards offense and accounting for 6 touchdowns in a 54-38 upset of Downey-Modesto. He completed 17 of 30, averaging 20 yards per completion, while throwing for 344 yards and 4 TDs.Thomas also ran 23 times for 109 yards, and scored 2 more TDs, to lead the Trojans to their first win of the season. He threw two TDs to sophomore Merle Bass, and also hit Izaiah Zelestine and Isaiah Downes for TDs.Sonora High junior DB/WR Kane Rodgers continues to impress The 209 with his big-play skills and versatility, after leading the Wildcats past Hilmar 37-27 in a showdown between unbeaten and powerful small-school programs. He was Black Hat Football’s Underclassman of the Year last fall after intercepting 11 passes – best in California – and leading Sonora to a NorCal Bowl during his sophomore season.Rodgers was a scoring machine against Hilmar, catching touchdown passes of 15, 25 and 50 yards from quarterback Josh Harris, and also threw and 82-yard TD pass. In addition, Rodgers plucked another interception, his second this season.Oakdale High senior RB Will Semone continued to tear through defenses since arriving at The Corral, having transferred from Central Catholic. Semone rushed for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns Friday night, leading the Mustangs to a 28-21 win over Campolindo-Moraga. Campolindo went to a State Bowl last year and won a State Bowl two years ago.Semone needed just 23 carries to pile up his yardage, helping Oakdale lift its record to 2-1 with a second straight win. The Mustangs open Valley Oak League play when they visit 3-0 Sierra.
2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK TWO
St. Mary’s High-Stockton senior QB Jake Dunniway was nearly flawless after misfiring on his first three passes in the Holy Bowl – which was also Black Hat Football’s Grower Direct Nut Co. Game of the Week. When it was over, Dunniway had completed 17 of 26 for career highs of 374 yards and six TDs in a 49-0 rout of Central Catholic-Modesto – which sat a handful of starters during the first half for a team rules violation.The Rams were ranked No. 9 in California by CalHiSports prior to the Holy Bowl, and raced to a 42-0 halftime lead. Dunniway has thrown 12 TDs without an interception in three wins over Northern California parochial powers, after throwing 26 TDs to just 4 interceptions as a junior. His ball security is critical if St. Mary’s is to win the program’s first Sac-Joaquin Section championship since 2008.The Rams’ QB is first in the Section with 12 TD passes and fifth with 899 yards, and no one can approach his 12-to-0 TD/INT ratio. The Rams host Cosumnes Oaks Friday, then comes a Sept. 23 road trip to mighty St. John Bosco – which fell to Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas this weekend in a game pitting teams ranked #1 in national polls.Hughson High running back Griffin Genzoli had a wild night, rushing for a career-high 304 yards and running across a whopping 7 touchdowns in Friday’s 55-38 victory over Ceres. He also recovered two fumbles, as the Huskies improved t0 3-0 heading into this Friday’s trip into the Sierra foothills to play 2-1 Summerville at 7:30 p.m.The performance also vaults the 5-fo0t-10 senior into the top spot among Sac-Joaquin Section running backs with 593 through three weeks — St. Mary’s junior Dusty Frampton is second with 535 yards. Genzoli also is tops with 13 TDs, all on the ground.Pacheco High-Los Banos senior running back TK Teneng packed plenty of punch Friday night for a running back/defensive back of his size. The 5-foot-6, 150 pounder continued to impress early in the 2016 with an all-around performance that featured his running, receiving and defensive skills.Teneng had 23 carries for 174 yards, rushing for three TDs for the second week in a row. He also scored on a 59-yard catch-and-run from QB Aric Barton, and finished with 233 yards and four TDs on 24 touches – averaging nearly 10 yards every time he got the ball.Teneng, who is averaging 24 carries for 165 yards a game and has also scored 7 TDs through the first three weeks, was in on 9 tackles and defended a pass.
2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK ONE
Golden Valley High-Merced senior running back Isaiah Montanez ran for a school-record 330 yards and scored on 3 long runs, as the Cougars rallied past Beyer 43-26. That’s more than three-quarters of his total output for 2015, when Montanez played in only six games and was limited to 436 yards. He broke the single-game rushing record of 212, set by Rayshaun Vance in 2012, and had touchdown runs of 52, 46 and 43 yards while running for 212 yards in the second half.
Calaveras High-San Andreas senior running back Noah Preuss rumbled for a caree-high 252 yards and scored four touchdowns against one of The 209’s legendary programs, leading his Redskins to a 45-16 win over Escalon. Preuss went the length of the field for one of the Redskins’ TDs, picking up four yards on first down and then racing the remaining 95 yards on the next play.The Redskins are now 2-0, having beaten El Capitan of the Central California Conference in last week’s opener, and have a midseason date approaching with Mother Lode League kingpin Sonora. That game is Sept. 23 in San Andreas.Downey High-Modesto junior receiver Isaiah Johnson began popping up on the recruiting radar for the big Division 1 programs earlier this year, thanks to his 6-foot-3 frame, hands and quickness. With the potential to be one of The 209’s top recruits a year from now, Johnson caught nine passes for 187 yards and 3 touchdowns.Those passes that Johnson and quarterback Brett Neves had failed to connect on during the Week Zero loss to Pitman-Turlock? The two connected this time, over and over.2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK ZEROSt. Mary’s High-Stockton junior running back Dusty Frampton was the key to the top-ranked Rams’ come-from-behind, 63-35 win over Serra-San Mateo. The season opener was a battle between two of Northern California’s top programs.The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Frampton had 21 carries for career highs of 265 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 12.6 yards per carry, and his day included a 78-yard TD run that helped put the game away in the fourth quarter.St. Mary’s turned to its physical offensive line and focused on its power-run game in the second half of the opener, after falling behind 35-28 in the third quarter.Franklin High-Stockton senior receiver Damion Pursley had a huge opening night, catching 10 passes for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 26-21 win over Linden on opening night.Pursley had caught TD passes of 25, 30 and 32 yards from quarterback Julian Serrano, who threw for 360 yards four scores.Franklin, the only one of the six San Joaquin Athletic Association teams to win its opener, goes on the road to face 1-0 Davis-Modesto Thursday night at Gregori High at 7:15 p.m.Hilmar High senior quarterback Chase Kindberg made his first career varsity start a memorable one, piling up 338 yards offense and five touchdowns to lead the Yellowjackets to a stunning, 42-22 win over Division 2 Beyer in the opener for both. As a junior, Kindberg 3 of 4 passes for 94 yards and two TDs, while serving as ther backup for prolific Daniel Teixeira.The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Kindberg completed 20 of 31 passes for 321 yards, tossing two TDs to Klay Farris and each to Cody Rentfro and Xavier Burke. Kindberg also ran for 17 yards and a fifth TD.Hilmar – which finished with 446 yards total offense, three sacks and four fumble recoveries against a school well more than twice its size – travels up Interstate 5 to face Division 3 Lathrop Friday night at 7:15 p.m. 
2016 TACO BELL ATHLETES OF WEEK ZERO:
Hilmar High senior quarterback Chase Kindberg made his first career varsity start a memorable one, piling up 338 yards offense and five touchdowns to lead the Yellowjackets to a stunning, 42-22 win over Division 2 Beyer in the opener for both. As a junior, Kindberg 3 of 4 passes for 94 yards and two TDs, while serving as ther backup for prolific Daniel Teixeira.The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Kindberg completed 20 of 31 passes for 321 yards, tossing two TDs to Klay Farris and each to Cody Rentfro and Xavier Burke. Kindberg also ran for 17 yards and a fifth TD.Hilmar – which finished with 446 yards total offense, three sacks and four fumble recoveries against a school well more than twice its size – travels up Interstate 5 to face Division 3 Lathrop Friday night at 7:15 p.m.Franklin High-Stockton senior receiver Damion Pursley had a huge opening night, catching 10 passes for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 26-21 win over Linden on opening night.Pursley had caught TD passes of 25, 30 and 32 yards from quarterback Julian Serrano, who threw for 360 yards four scores.Franklin, the only one of the six San Joaquin Athletic Association teams to win its opener, goes on the road to face 1-0 Davis-Modesto Thursday night at imgres-5Gregori High at 7:15 p.m.

St. Mary’s High-Stockton junior running back Dusty Frampton was the key to the top-ranked Rams’ come-from-behind, 63-35 win over Serra-San Mateo. The season opener was a battle between two of Northern California’s top programs.

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Frampton had 21 carries for career highs of 265 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 12.6 yards per carry, and his day included a 78-yard TD run that helped put the game away in the fourth quarter.

St. Mary’s turned to its physical offensive line and focused on its power-run game in the second half of the opener, after falling behind 35-28 in the third quarter. On a few of Frampton’s runs, he’s virtually untouched — and check out the downfield blocking from his receivers on some of his longer runs.

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Check out the 2015 Taco Bell Athletes of the Week:
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #14/15QB Hunter Petlansky, Central Catholic Raiders (Modesto)   The 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior is shooting for a third straight state championship this weekend when his Raiders face San Marino Saturday at 4 p.m. at Sacramento State – the first-ever meeting between two 15-0 teams in California. Petlansky was the starting quarterback for the 2014 and 2013 championship games.In the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 title game and ensuing Northern California Small School Open Bowl, Petlanksy completed 12 of 17 passes for 191 yards and a touchdowns, while rushing 11 times for 83 yards and two TDs. The Raiders beat Oakdale 21-7 for the Section title and routed Marin Catholic 49-14 last week.Petlansky, who is headed to Columbia University to play ball in the fall, has completed 60 percent of his passes (86 of 144) for 1,580 yards, with 16 TDs and 6 interceptions. He’s also run for 751 yards and 13 TDs.RB Mark Paule, Sierra Timberwolves (Manteca)After rushing for more than 2,000 yards and leading the Timberwolves to a share of the Valley Oak League title in 2014, the 5-foot-7, 150-pound struggled early this season as Sierra refashioned its offensive line. He had a four-week run in the middle of the season where he averaged just 60 yards a game.Paule has turned it on in the postseason, though, and piled up 305 yards offense and four TDs the last two weeks in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 final rout of Liberty Ranch (42-0) and last week’s narrow NorCal Bowl win over Sutter (17-13). Paule had 110 yards rushing and 58 yards receiving vs. Liberty Ranch, and 104 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving vs. Sutter. He ran for two TDs in each game.Paule, who leads Sierra (10-5) into Saturday’s State Bowl at 6 p.m at Chowchilla, has pushed his season totals to 1,452 yards rushing, 207 yards receiving and 17 TDs. He has run for 432 yards and seven TDs in four playoff games, while catching 11 passes for 121 yards in the postseason. LB/OL Austin Escobar, Central Catholic Raiders (Modesto)The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder is a cornerstone for the defense and the Raiders’ offensive line, helping them to impressive victories Oakdale and Marin Catholic this last two weeks in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 title game and the NorCal Small-School Open Bowl, respectively.He was in on 12 tackles, with a 26-yard interception return and a tackle for a loss, in the Raiders’ 21-7 win over Valley Oak League rival. It was the second time the teams had played in five weeks and CC handed the Mustangs their only two losses of the season. Escobar than had four tackles in the 49-14 NorCal Bowl rout.Escobar also plays a kay role in an offensive line that helped Fresno State-commit Justin Rice run for a school-record 325 yard and score five TDs in 35 carries last week. Rice has 2,482 yards and 30 TDs this season, and will become the first Raider to top 2,500 yards in a season this weekend against San Marino. TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #13LB Kekupa’a Freehauf, Central Catholic Raiders (Modesto)The 6-foot-1, 245-pound senior was on the 2014 Starbucks/Black Hat Football Team as a junior, when he terrorized opponents with his size and deceptive quickness. He’s maintained that torrid play as a senior, and has the Raiders on the path to a fourth consecutive state championship.Freehauf was in on 10 tackles in Friday’s surprisingly lopsided 48-14 win over previously 12-0 Placer in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 semifinal. Freehauf had five solo tackles and assisted on five more against Placer, which had scored 56 and 65 points in their two previous playoff games. He’s been in on 123 tackles, including 71 solo takedowns.DB Geo Juarez, Sierra High Timberwolves (Manteca)The 5-foot-6, 145-pound senior played a critical role in the Timberwolves’ 42-0 rout of Liberty Ranch in Saturday night’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 championship game. Juarez intercepted two passes to lead the defensive effort, returning one for a touchdown.Juarez had two interceptions during the regular season, and he’ll take the field again in two weeks when Sierra (8-5) plays in a Northern California Bowl. The Timberwolves’ opponent, as well as the time, date and place, will be determined next Sunday, December 6.RB/LB Austin Rees, Stone Ridge Christian Knights (Merced)The 6-foot, 215-pound senior has been at the heart of a record-setting defense, and the Knights set a state record for consecutive shutout victories in a season when they routed Big Valley Christian 69-0 in Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division 7 final.He ran for 173 yards and three TDs – scoring runs of 25, 42 and 60 yards – on just seven carries, pushing his season totals to 1,339 yards and 21 TDs. He got in on 13 tackles on defense, helping the Knights win by shutout for the 10th consecutive game.That broke a state record that the Knights had shared, and they host Mission Saturday at 2 p.m. at Atwater Air Base (old Castle Air Base). The winner advances to a Northern California Bowl the following weekend.TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #12WR KEATON HAMPTON, St. Mary’s High Rams (Stockton)The 5-foot-11, 170-pound junior had a breakout game in Friday’s 28-14 upset of previously perfect Napa in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 quarterfinals. We selected St. Mary’s QB Jake Dunniway earlier in the day (18 of 26, 350 yards, 4 TDs) – and we’ve never selected two players from one team in one week. It’s the playoff, though, and the performances against an 11-0 Napa team speak for themselves.Keaton had career highs for receptions (9), yards (236) and touchdowns (4), dominating a defense that had been allowing just 13 points a game. His 10-yard catch in the first quarter and the PAT kick gave the Rams a 7-6 lead they would never relinquixh, then he caught a 19-yard in the third quarter.His 80-yard catch-and-run early in the fourth quarter gave St. Mary’s critical two-score lead, then he added his final touchdown – a 28-yard play – to provide the game’s final points in the closing minutes. Hampton has 29 catches for 815 yards – 28 yards per catch – and 10 touchdowns in eight games.QB Jake Dunniway, St. Mary’s High Rams (Stockton)The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior led the parochial power to one of its biggest wins in recent history, going on the road to stun fourth-seeded and previously perfect Napa 28-14 in Friday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 quarterfinals. That sends the #5 Rams (10-2) in the road again this Friday to face top seed, three-time defending Section and defending State champion Folsom (13-0) – which is 56-2 the last four seasons.Dunniway completed 16 of his 23 passes for a career-high 359 yards, topping his regular-season high of 308 yards in a 47-23 win over St. Ignatius the second week of the season. He also tossed four touchdowns, hitting junior Keaton Hampton on scoring passes of 10, 19, 80 and 28 yards. Those last two throws of 80 and 28 yards came in the fourth quarter and helped the Rams build their two-score lead.Dunniway has completed 66 percent of his throws (117 of 177) for 2,240 yards in 11 games – he missed the Week 2 loss to Central Catholic with an injury – with 24 TDs and four interceptions. He’s thrown just one interception in the last eight games. RB BRAD AQUINO, Oakdale High MustangsThe 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior has become another in a long line of productive fullbacks running out of the Mustangs’ Wing-T offense. He’s become a regular in the end zone this season, and his powerful runs have helped Oakdale to an 11-1 record and a spot in this Friday’s Sac-Joaquin Section D3 semifinal.Aquino had 21 carries for 150 yards, and four touchdowns in Oakdale’s 41-14 win over Benicia in the second round of the playoffs this weekend. His touchdowns all came in the first half and were from 1, 2, 5 and 25 yards, helping the Mustangs build their 42-0 halftime lead.#2 seed Oakdale hosts #3 Inderkum (12-0) Friday night at The Corral, with #1 Central Catholic (12-0) hosting #5 Placer (12-0). Oakdale beat Inderkum 27-23 in last year’s Section title game, after Inderkum had taken a 20-0 halftime lead.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #11
QB Joe Sheldon, Orestimba High Warriors
The senior accounted for 291 yards and five touchdowns as his undefeated Warriors went to 11-0 with a 42-35 victorv over Hughson in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 playoffs. That was Orestimba’s first-ever playoff win and sends them to top seed Sonora (10-1) for Friday’s semifinal game.Sheldon completed 13 of 16 for 126 yards and three TDs, while running 16 times for 165 yards and two more TDs. He had TD tosses of 14 yards & 22 yards to Angel Reynoso, and a 16-yard score to Toby Silva, while running for scores of 1 and 50 yards.He’s completed 65 percent of his throws for 1,413 yards, with 22 TDs and 5 interceptions, while running for 1,258 yards and 17 more scores.QB Daniel Texeira, Hilmar High YellowjacketsThe 6-foot, 175-pound senior led Hilmar to a Trans-Valley League co-championship hilmarfootball4earlier this fall, and Friday he led the Yellowjackets to a 51-22 victory over Mariposa in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 6 playoffs. Top seed Hilmar (8-3) hosts Ripon Christian (9-2) in Friday’s semifinal game.Texeira was his efficient self in the opener, completing 8 of 11 passes for 209 yards and three touchdwns. He also rushed for 60 yards and a TD, pushing his season totals to 2034 yards passing and another 676 yards on the ground. He’s also accounted for 39 TDs (29 passing).WR AJ Stewart, Merced High BearsThe 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior was a playmaker on both sides of the ball in Merced’s 41-14 win over Modesto to open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs. That sends the Bears (8-3) on the road to face #2 seed Elk Grove (11-0) in this Friday night’s quarterfinal.Stewart opened the game with a bang, catching an 80-yard touchdown pass from running back Paul Scoggins, as the Bears opened their offensive night with a 74-yard halfback option pass. Stewart would catch two more touchdowns, while grabbing six passes in all for 190 yards.He also had an impact on defense, jarring the ball loose and then recovering the fumble to line up a Merced touchdown, then knocking away a pass that teammate caught for an interception. Foss has caught 48 passes for 875 yards, with 11 TDs, this season.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #10
QB Keith Dozier, Chavez High Titans (Stockton)
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior closed out his high school like few other quarterbacks back ever have, with the game of his life. Actually, this one was more like a few games. After averaging 11 completions, 18 attempts, 180 yards and two TDs a game the first nine weeks, Dozier caught fire in the Titans’ finale.Dozier completed 33 of his 46 passes, for a whopping 506 yards and six TDs in a 55-48 loss to San Joaquin Athletic Association champion Stagg – Chavez needed the win to reach the playoffs. Dozier’s previous single-game highs were 22 completions, 34 attempts, 279 yards and four touchdowns.Dozier finishes his senior season with some impressive numbers: a 65% completion percentage and 2,136 yards, for 15 yards a completion, and a stunning TD-to-INT ratio of 24-4. That’s among the best in The 209. RB Justin Rice, Central Catholic High Raiders (Modesto)The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder was the 2014 Starbucks/Black Hat Football Offensive Player of the year after leading the Raiders to a third straight state title, and now he’s got the Raiders primed for a fourth straight championship run. He delivered his best game in the Raiders’ biggest game of the regular season.In a game featuring state-ranked teams that boasted 9-0 records, Rice had season-highs of 30 carries, 288 yards and three TDs in a 42-37 win over Oakdale to secure the Valley Oak League title and #1 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 playoffs. Oakdale is seeded #2, which means the Section seeding committee is projecting that these two will meet again in four weeks to decide a section title and NorCal Bowl berth.Rice also delivered the defensive play of the night, leaping high to reach over the top of the receiver and knock away the pass that would have produced the game-winning TD for Oakdale in the final minutes. Rice had been guarding a receiver on a sideline route, but left his man to provide extra coverage on a receiver running down the middle – and Rice’s hand punched the ball out of the receiver’s grasp.Rice, slowed early this season by an ankle injury, has 1,367 yards and 14 TDs for the 10-0 Raiders. In his last four games, Rice has run for 285, 157, 144 & 288 yards – 874 yards, or 219 per game – and nine TDs. He and the Raiders open the D3 Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs by hosting #16 seed El Camino of Sacramento.RB Brandon Zaunbrecher, St. Mary’s High Rams (Stockton)The 5-foot-8, 195-pounder is a combination of girth and quickness, showing nice bursts of speed as he shoots through the hole. He’s given the Rams a reliable running attack this season, and that continued with the senior carrying a career-high 24 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns in a 29-14 win over Lincoln to clinch their second straight Tri-City Athletic League title.Zaunbrecher has run for 1,061 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior, with a career-high 135 yards against Los Gatos. Friday night was the second time this season that he had scored three TDs, and he leads the Rams into this Friday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 opener vs. crosstown rival Stagg.It was the fourth time in the last five games that Zaunbrecher ran for at least 100 yards, and the seventh consecutive that he’s carried the ball into the end zone at least once.A reliable ground game will be critical to St. Mary’s playoffs run, to complement the passing attack that features three juniors – QB Jake Dunniway ad WRs Dewey Cotton and Keaton Hampton.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #9
RB Josh Jennings, Hilmar High YellowjacketsThe 5-foot-9, 180-pounder is one-half of Coach Fank Marques’ junior running back tandem with Cody Rentfro, and he ran for a career-high 207 yards on two touchdowns in a 54-35 win over Modesto Christian to clinch a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth. It also kept Hilmar (6-3, 3-1) in the hunt for a piece of the Trans-Valley League title, should it win and Ripon lose to Hughson this Friday.Jennings needed just 15 carries to do his damage against MC, and one of his TDs was a 49-yard run that’s worth watching a few times. The game also makes him the Yellowjackets’ leading rusher with 805 yards, though Rentfro (738) and Texeira (616).Jennings, who now has three 100-yards rushing games, also got in on four tackles Friday night.QB Diego Chavez, Lathrop High SpartansThe 5-foot-7, 157-pound senior has led Lathrop High to a record-setting season, and the Spartans hope that this is just the beginning. Chavez completed 9 of 19 passes, throwing for 205 yards and two touchdowns, in Friday’s 37-35 win over Sierra – a victory that put Lathrop within one win of a Section playoff berth.That’s routine for the Central Catholic’s and Oakdale’s of The 209, but it’s historic at Lathrop: Until this season, the Spartans had never won more than two games in a season. This season, with Chavez running an efficient offense, the Spartans are 5-4 and playoff-bound if they beat Kimball (2-7) Friday night.Chavez has completed 79 of 146 (54 percent), for 992 yards and 12 TDs, and his five wins include a 24-13 decision over Ripon – which is on its way to a Trans-Valley League title. QB Brett Neves, Downey High Knights (Modesto)The 6-foot 185-pounder delivered a remarkable performance Friday night, as Downey rebounded from a slow start to score 55 unanswered points on the way to a 62-22 win over Davis. It kept Downey (7-2, 4-1) in the hunt for the Modesto Metro Conference title – a win over Gregori Friday and the Knights will be celebrating their fourth consecutive MMC championship.Neves completed 13 of 23 passes – nothing wild about the 57% completion percentage – but he threw for a wild 464 yards. He averaged 36 yards per completion, including an 75-yard catch-and-run TD to Andrew Raspo. Calvin Grover caught four passes (including an 80-yard TD) and averaged 51.5 yards a catch – it was a wild, big-play game.It was the second time in October that Neves topped 400 yards (446 in a loss to Modesto), and the eighth time this season that he’s thrown three TD passes in a game. He’s fifth in the Sac-Joaquin Section with 2,498 yards, with 25 TDs and 10 interceptions.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #8K Lane Trapp, Oakdale High Oakdale High’s drive toward a second consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 championship gained some strength Friday night when the Mustangs unleashed kicker Lane Trapp on Weston Ranch. Trapp booted three field goals, including a 49-yarder, as the unbeaten state-ranked #4 Mustangs beat Weston Ranch 58-20.Trapp’s 49-yard kick is the long field goal in The 209 this season, and gives him six field goals for the 8-0 Mustangs – who are #4 in CalHiSports’ state D3 rankings. Trapp also is sending about 70 percent of his his kickoffs into the end zone for Oakdale, which hosts 7-1 Manteca Friday night in a Valley Oak League showdown.Trapp’s kickoffs have helped the Mustangs hold their opponents to 13 points a game, while the Mustangs are averaging 46. Oakdale’s two closest games this fall: The Mustangs beat 8-1 Sonora by 25 points and beat 6-1 Turlock by 11 in rivalry games.RB Titus Schammel, Pitman High (Turlock) The Pride’s senior running back had a nose for the end zone Friday night, and his performance has put Pitman on the verge of a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth. It also kept the Pride in the hunt for a piece of the Central California Conference title.Schammel had three touchdowns run in the second quarter alone – they were 1, 1, and 6 yards – to push the Pride to a 28-13 halftime lead over Golden Valley, then he added scoring runs of 1 and 3 yards in the second half of the 56-20 win. Schammel also finished with 14 carries for 75 yards.If Turlock beats Merced Friday, and Pitman beats Turlock in Week 1o – the Pride will earn a share of the CCC title. If Merced beats Turlock Friday and loses to Golden Valley in Week 10, and Pitman wins its final two, the Pride would tie with Merced. Pitman needs one more to assure itself of at least an at-large berth in the playoffs.QB Aaron Thomas, Lincoln High Trojans (Stockton)With the Trojans’ season on the line, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound junior QB rallied them to a 29-23 victory over Tokay, keeping Lincoln (5-3, 3-0) tied for first place in the Tri-City Athletic League with perennial parochial powerhouse St. Mary’s. The TCAL has two automatic playoff berths, otherwise a team needs to win six games to go on.Thomas, who had been sharing snaps at quarterback earlier this season, completed 14 of 21 for 170 yards and threw three touchdowns. Thomas’ TD run tied the game at 23-23 in the third quarter, then he engineered an 86-yard drive that culminated with  a TD pass to Izaiah Celestine. It was their second TD connection of the game.Thomas’ first TD toss was a 17-yarder to Desmond Short to open the game.Lincoln hosts Tracy (4-4, 2-1) Friday night and then St. Mary’s (6-2, 3-0) Week 10. A victory this week clinches a playoff berth for Lincoln, while Tracy would still need to beat crosstown rival West in Week 10 to guarantee itself a postseason trip.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #7QB Peyton Dunseth, Turlock High BulldogsThe 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior has led the Bulldogs to a 5-1 start, and they’re 2-0 in the Central California Conference following Friday’s 47-21 win at Buhach Colony of Atwater. Dunseth filled a variety of roles, piling up 287 yards and accounting for four TDs.Dunseth was as accurate as any passer in The 209 Friday, completing 11 of 13 for 182 yards, with TDs of 73 yards to Dustin Grein and 16 yards to RB Daniel Velasquez. He also had TD runs of 1 and 45 yards, and even ran in a two-pointer as the Bulldogs outscored Buhach Colony 26-7 in the second half.Dunseth and the Bulldogs visit 1-6 Atwater Friday, then it’s an Oct. 30 trip south to face Merced at Golden Valley High. The Bears are 2-0, and that Oct. 30 game is expected to feature 3-0 teams.

RB Carlos Garcia, Pacheco High Panthers (Los Banos)

The 6-foot, 180-pounder had 30 carries for 178 yards and three TDs, including the game-winning score at the finish, in the Panthers’ wild, 64-57 win over Ceres in the Western Athletic Conference.

Garcia also caught a pair of passes for 100 yards another TD, accounting for 278 of Pacheco’s whopping 654 yards offense. Garcia had played received the first three weeks of the season, before coach Dave Snapp shifted him into the backfield.

WR Michael Thompson, Stagg High Delta Kings (Stockton)

The 6-foot-4, 180-pounder was a standout during the summer 7-on-7 season, and he was the key player on both sides of the ball in the Delta Kings’ 56-50 upset of McNair in the San Joaquin Athletic Association Friday night. Thompson caught six passes for 61 yards –  but he made those catches count for four touchdowns.

His height also proved critical on the defensive play of the game, leaping to bat away a potential touchdown pass – a play that would have handed McNair the victory.

TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #6RB Jacob Duxbury, Ripon High IndiansThe 5-foot-5, 157-pound senior was a dynamo during Ripon High’s 52-38 win over Hilmar to open the Trans-Valley League, with the Indians scoring 28 points in the first quarter for their second consecutive victory. That snapped a three-game losing steak and comes on the heels of the Week 5 upset of Northern Section power Sutter – and the Indians visit winless Mountain House Friday.Duxbury made sure the Indians enjoyed their league opener, turning 20 touches into 320 yards and three TDs. He had 13 carries for 207 yards, averaging 15.9 yards per run, and a pair of TDs; Duxbury also caught six balls for 113 yards, including a 70-yard TD receptions.Duxbury is among The 209’s top RBs who double as receivers, with 30 catches for 304 yards and four TDs in six games. This was also the third game in a row he’s caught a TD pass.QB Adam Herrera, Los Banos High TigersThe 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior rushed for 315 yards – a school record for a quarterback – and had a hand in five touchdowns as the Los Banos Tigers knocked off the El Capitan of Merced Gauchos 59-20 to stay perfect in the Western Athletic Conference.Herrera needed just 14 carries to pile up his yardage, averaging 22.5 yards per carry, and score three touchdowns. He also tossed two TDs to David Walker, giving Herrera nine TD passes to go with his five scoring runs this season.Herrera and his 5-1 Tigers face their biggest challenge to date Friday, when they host 6-0 Patterson – a matchup of the two remaining unbeaten teams in the WAC. The winner seizes control of the race for the 2015 pennant, and Los Banos is the defending champion. QB Osai Brown, McNair High Eagles (Stockton)The 5-foot-8, 150-pound senior threw eight touchdown passes – tying the California single-game high for this season – and 325 yards as the Eagles opened San Joaquin Athletic Association play with a 72-6 win over Franklin of Stockton. Brown completed 21 of 26 throws and ran for 29 yards.Brown threw four TD passes to Derrion Grim, the Nebraska commit, and the two hooked up 11 times for 189 yards. Brown also threw three TDs to Sean Hamilton, and Domanic Bounmy had the eighth scoring catch.The QB is second in the state with TD throws (31) and passing yardage (2,124) 31 TD throws and 2,124 yards), and leads all of California in total yardage (2,481). He also is going to help Grim shatter the state record of 25 regular-season TD catches – Grim already has 22 TD catches and four more regular-season games to play.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #5RB/LB Brandon LaBry, Gustine High RedskinsThe 5-foot-10, 205-pounder was all over the field during the Redskins’ 42-7 Southern League win over Waterford. That lifted Gustine to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in league, after LaBry piled up 281 yards, scored two touchdowns and was in on 21 tackles.LaBry needed just 15 carries to rush for 243 yards and caught a 38-yard pass, and even had a sack while causing a pair of fumbles. He has run for 903 yards and 9 TDs in five games, averaging 12.2 yards per carry.RB/KR Michael Lawson, Patterson High TigersThe 5-foot-10, 170-pound is one of the most electric performers in The 209, capable of producing big plays from anywhere on the field – whether he’s on offense, defense or returning kicks. He was certainly the difference-maker in Friday’s 42-26 win over Western Athletic Conference foe Central Valley of Ceres.Lawson caught TD passes of 70, 40 and 25 yards from junior QB Kevin Todd, and his 85-yard return of a punt to open the second quarter undefeated Patterson a 21-7 lead. Lawson also caught TD passes to and the first half and start the second, pushing the Tigers’ (5-0, 1-0 in the WAC) lead to 42-7 – that was part of a run of 42 consecutive points by the Tigers.Lawson has 39 touches from the line of scrimmage this fall, accounting for 681 rushing/receiving yards and eight TDs.RB Jay Green, Beyer High Patriots (Modesto)The 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior had his busiest night of the season to lead the Patriots to a 28-14 of Gregori in the Modesto Metro Conference. Green had a season-high 30 carries, piling up 240 yards and 3 touchdowns to even the Patriots’ conference record at 1-1.It was a must-win for the Patriots – every game the rest of the season has a do-or-die risk as Beyer tries to recover from a 1-4 start that saw it score more than 13 points just once. Green’s 69-yard TD run sealed the victory, and he has now rushed for at least 1,000 yards in three straight seasons – with 1,005 yards and six straight 100-yard rushing games this season. Green is also the school’s career rushing leader, with at least four more games to play.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #4RB/DB/KR Austin Martins, Orestimba High Warriors (Newman)He was the Southern League’s Player of the Year as a junior, and the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder got a nice start toward his second MVP with Friday’s all-around effort in a thrilling, 49-43 win over Ripon Christian in a league-opening battle between contenders.Martins had 20 carries for 145 yards and touchdown, returned a kickoff 85 yards for another TD, was in on 16 tackles (9 solo/7 assists) and also intercepted two passes – it’s the second time this season Martins has intercepted two passes in one game.When it comes to all-around efforts, it’s one of the best performances we’ve seen in The 209 this season. That pushed Martins’ rushing total to 598 yards and six TDs for the Warriors (4-0), and he has at least one rushing TD in each game. He’s also been in on 47 tackles with two sacks.QB Lavante Bushnell, Stagg High Delta Kings (Stockton)He’s transitioned from ‘athlete’ to quarterback during his two varsity seasons with the Delta Kings, and the senior has been as hot as any QB in The 209 the last few weeks. The 5-foot-8, 165-pounder threw for five TDs and 240 yards, and also ran for a TD in Stagg’s back-and-forth 49-46 loss to McClymonds of Oakland – an elite program loaded with athletes in the Bay Area. Bushnell had thrown four TDs a week earlier, while completing 23 of 33 passes in a 41-28 win over Lodi. He was a receiver, but shifted to QB the week before the 2014 opener. He is expected to return to receiver when he moves on to college, but he’s leading Stagg’s offense for now.Bushnell, who also has averaged 50 yards rushing a game over the last four weeks, has a bye this week before Stagg hosts crosstown rival Edison Oct. 9 to open the San Joaquin Athletic Association.QB Adam Olsen, Oakdale High MustangsIt was a career night for Olsen, who has been on the varsity since his freshman season. He threw 5 TD passes – three to TE Greg Hickman & two to slot receiver Bobby DePuy – in Friday’s 54-14 win over Sierra in a Valley Oak League opener between the defending co-champions.Olsen also piled up 400 yards of offense, including a scramble that took the Mustangs from their goal line to midfield. He tossed thee touchdowns during a 21-0 second-quarter blitz that gave Oakdale the Mustangs a 40-12 halftime lead.The Mustangs are 4-0 and are expected to be 8-0 when they host Manteca High in Week 9 of the season, and Central Catholic hosts Oakdale the last week of the regular season.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #3
RB/LB Angel Sena, East Union High (Manteca) It was a demanding Friday night for the 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior, whoEast Union Lancers handled much of the physical running inside in a 30-27 upset of Gregori (Modesto). The Lancers handed the Jaguars their first loss of the season, winning on the game’s final play.Sena ran through Gregori’s defense on both of his TD runs, and his 11 carries for 56 yards forced the Jaguars to respect both facets of the Lancers’ game. Sena also was in on five tackles and deflected a passa, while leading a second-half charge by the Lancers’ defense.The Lancers are (3-0) going into this Friday’s Valley Oak League opener at Lathrop (2-1).RB/KR Moses Ghiorso, Central Valley High Hawks (Ceres)The 5-foot-1, 160-pounder was impossible to stop Friday night, piling up Central-Valley-RB-Moses-Ghiorso1431 all-purpose yards and scoring five touchdowns in a 42-21 win over Enochs of Modesto.Ghiorso had 13 carries for 237 yards and four TDs (87, 80, 20 and 2 yards) and caught two passes for 107 yards, including an 84-yard catch-and-run for his fifth TD. He also returned three kickoffs for 65 yards and had a 22-yard punt return.He has 33 carries for 378 yards and 5 TDs though four games, while catching eight passes 156 yards and a score. The Hawks will visit Pacheco of Los Banos Friday night in a Western Athletic Conference opener. RB Hunter Calton, Escalon High CougarsThe 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior had the rare opportunity to play two Unknown-11games in one week – a 63-21 rout of Bret Harte on Monday night and then a 35-14 win over Liberty Ranch of Galt. Calton totaled 319 yards rushing and four TDs, on a total of 22 touches.Calton’s big night came Friday, when he turned 14 carries into 279 yards and three touchdowns, pushing his season totals to 67 carries for 572 yards and six TDs. His Cougars host state-ranked Bear River this Friday night, then it’s on to the Trans-Valley League.TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #2
Hughson High RB Cesar Cuevas
All Hail Cesar … Cesar Cuevas, that is.He is Hughson’s favorite son this week, after scoring a career-high 6 1476261_cf4ccbf9161d46fcb2fedefae81f50c7touchdowns in a 50-27 victory medium-school Ceres. The 5-foot-7, 160-pound uevas scored on runs of 47, 3, 3, 8, 5, and 47 yards. He ran for 277 yards in the game.IMG_1799His final TD came with 10 minutes left in the game, and it assured that the Huskies would get off to a 3-0 start. The Huskies have outscored their three foes by an average of 43-9, but should get a nice game from 2-1 Summerville this Friday and then they host Liberty Ranch in the non-league finale.The Huskies will have to woe hard not to think too far ahead, to the Oct. 10 Trans-Valley League opener vs. Escalon. The middle of the season was a troubling time for the Huskies a year ago: They started 4-0, then lost 3 in a row, then won four in a row before losing in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 playoffs to eventual champion Bear River.WR Tomiwa Ologundudu, Chavez of Stockton TitansWhen it comes to Taco Bell Athletes of the Week, Tomiwa Ologundudu PH-912009999.jpg&cb=468&Maxh=623&Maxw=738&border=0&Q=65certainly has one of the most colorful names we’ve come across. He went from being a receiver known for his name … to a receiver known for producing the big play during Friday’s thrilling 46-43 upset of Pacheco (Los Banos).Ologundudu, who caught a 2-pointer in the first half of the shootout, broke free for touchdowns receptions 30, 40 and 35 yards in the second half to make sure the Titans prevailed. The 5-foot-9, 165-pounder caught six passes for 124 yards, pushing his season total to 12 catches, 203 yards and 3 TDs.The victory evened Chavez/s record at 1-1, and the Titans host West of Tracy this Friday.RB Ulonzo Gilliam, Merced BearsThat offseason conditioning program paid off in a big way Friday night for Unknown-3Merced High junior running back Ulonzo Gilliam. He had a career night in Unknown-3the Bears’ 18-6 win over Edison of Fresno, posting career highs for carries (33), yards (182) and tying his career high with 2 rushing TDs in a game.The 33 carries in one night are more half of the carries Gilliam had during the entire 2014 season, when he ran 63 times for 618 yards and 8 TDs. It was clear pretty early that this would be Gilliam’s night – he had 9 carries on the game-opening drive, which ended with a Merced field goal.Gilliam later ripped off a 32-yard TD to make it 9-0, then he carried eight more times during a second-half drive that he capped with a 1-yard TD.
TACO BELL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK #1
RB Jake Fulkerson, Summerville of Tuolumne City BearsEvery small-school programs loves the sort of player who can fill multiple

Thursday, September 3, 2015 Summerville Bears' #16, Jake Fulkerson, runs downfield with 8:07 remaining in the first half during the game against the Mariposa Grizzlies. The Summerville Bears defeated the Grizzlies 70-44 in the game played at Thorsted Field, in Tuolumne, California. Photo by Tracy Barbutes

Thursday, September 3, 2015
Summerville Bears’ #16, Jake Fulkerson, runs downfield with 8:07 remaining in the first half during the game against the Mariposa Grizzlies. The Summerville Bears defeated the Grizzlies 70-44 in the game played at Thorsted Field, in Tuolumne, California. Photo by Tracy Barbutes

roles: Carrying the ball, catching it a few times, jumping in on defense to make some tackles – and willing to return kicks. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Fulkerson fits all those roles, as he showed in a 70-44 shootout with Mariposa that raised the Bears’ record to 2-0.

Fulkerson opened the Bears’ scoring by returning a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown – after Mariposa had taken an 8-0 lead in the first quarter – and that was just the beginning. He also had 20 carries for 178 yards, averaging 8.9 yards per carry and scoring two TDs, while catching two passes for 23 yards and a score and making two tackles.

RB Marcel Dancy, West of Tracy Wolfpack

Dancy was on the Starbucks Black Hat Football Team last winter, and a preseason pick on the Starbucks Team just a few weeks ago. Two games into the 2015 season, Dancy is making those selections look pretty good. He’s become a workhorse for the resurgent Wolfpack, with 31 PH-905009999.jpg&cb=568&Maxh=623&Maxw=738&border=0&Q=65carries for a career-high 274 yards and four TDs in a 35-7 win over crosstown rival Kimball.

He returned a punt 41 yards to the 4-yard line then quickly scored West’s first TD, then added runs of 3 and 14 yards – the latte TD capping a 92-yard drive engineered by QB James Gibbons. Dancy capped his performance by carrying it twice during an 80-yard scoring drive: Dancy had a 61-yard run, then the 19-yard touchdown scamper.

Dancy was just as busy in Week Zero, with a career-high 32 carries for 152 yards and a score. He is #3 in California with 63 carries, and he’s made those carries count for 426 yards and five touchdowns. As a junior, Dancy ran for 1,231 yards (7.7 yards per carry) and 12 TDs.

QB Kevin Todd, Patterson Tigers

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound junior quarterback was on target during Friday’s 36-21 win over Ripon, a small-school program coming off a stunning upset of large-school power Sierra. Todd completed 17 of his 25 passes, throwing for 318 yards, with five touchdowns and one interception. Todd has completed 66 percent of his throws through the first two weeks, averaging 21 yards a completion with 7 TDs and the one interception.

Kevin is the brother of former Patterson High QB Bryan Todd, who graduated in 2012, and he spread the ball among three receivers – Pierre Williams (8 catches, 135 yards, TD) Alec Espos (5 catches, 124 yards, 2 TDs) and Michael Lawson (2 catches, 49 yards, 2 TDs). His 2-0 Tigers face 2-0 Modesto Friday at Gregori High in Modesto.

TACO BELL HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES FOR WEEK ZERO

ADAM OLSEN, Oakdale Mustangs

Highly regarded for his ability to orchestrate the Mustangs’ prolific running game, part of its Wing-T attack, Oakdale’s senior quarterback showed he can beat teams with his arm, as well. He made the most of his opportunities, completing 13 of 15

Oakdale Mustang QB Adam Olsen. Photo by Mary Hackbarth

Oakdale Mustang QB Adam Olsen. Photo by Mary Hackbarth

passes for 310 yards and 4 TDs in a surprisingly lopsided, 40-15 win over rival Sonora.

It was 99th all-time meeting between defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 champion Oakdale and the section defending D4 runner-up Sonora, and Olsen’s offense piled up more than 600 yards. The Mustangs leads the series 63-35-1 and they’ve won 10 in a row vs. their foothill rivals, as Osen hit tight end Greg Hickman for two TDs, tossed a 37-yard score to Vincent Albertoni and a 73-yard strike to Logan Hall.

POAKA KEKUA, Downey-Modesto Knights

The 6-foot, 200-pound senior linebacker is one of the most easily recognizable defenders in The 209 with his half-and-half 1439087046_thumbnailhead of hair – one half is blonde, the other half black. He’s not just a gimmick, however, as the returning all-league selection was in on 21 tackles in Friday’s season-opening, 30-14 win over Pitman. It was a bit of revenge for Downey, which let a huge second-half lead slip away in last year’s loss to the Pride.

Kekua, who averaged 11 tackles and one tackle-for-loss in his six varsity games a year ago, made 13 solo tackles and assisted on eight others as the Knights’ defense controlled Pitman’s dangerous Wing-T attack. Kekua and the Knights could have their hands full this Friday when travel to face the potent passing attack of McNair-Stockton.

DERRION GRIM, McNair-Stockton High Eagles

The 6-foot, 188-pound senior receiver committed to Boise State this offseason, and debuted in 2015 with a 7-touchdown night in a 74-26 win over Calaveras-San Andreas. Grim returned theDerrion Grim , McNair Eagle WR opening kickoff for a TD, and then went on to catch 10 for 253 yards and six more TDs. Grim also was on the Preseason 2015 Starbucks/Black Hat Football Team.