A dozen Stanislaus District football players were named to the Cal-Hi Sports small- and medium-school all-state football teams on Monday.
Central Valley running back Ja’Quan Gardner, The Bee’s 2013 Player of the Year, was named to the medium schools’ first-team offense, joining lineman Billy Sharmoug of Manteca.
Gardner, a senior, rushed for 2,467 this season and set a district record with 6,014 career yards as the Hawks earned their first playoff berth in school history. He also won the USA Today High School Sports Ultimate Athlete competition by capturing 42 percent of the votes (207,062) nationwide.
Sharmoug was a key part of a massive offensive line that paved the way for a trip to the Division 3 Northern California championship.
Three members of Central Catholic’s state championship team – offensive lineman Spencer Stark, linebacker Reggie Bland and kicker Kenny Smart – were named to small schools’ first team. They were joined by Ripon Christian running back Andrew Brown and Le Grand RB/LB Ryan Martinez, who was named as a multi-purpose player.
Brown rushed for a district-record 2,781 yards and Martinez totaled 2,010 in leading the Bulldogs to an undefeated season and a fourth consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 championship.
“That’s awesome, I didn’t expect to get that,” said Brown. “As a junior I got all-state MaxPreps for being a wide receiver, which was really random. I played running back that year. I never thought I’d get all-state for running back.
“It’s pretty awesome to look back and see what you’ve accomplished with all your friends and coaches.”
Two more Central Catholic players – running back Matt Ringer and defensive back Jared Rice – were named to the small schools’ second team. Ringer (2,348) was the fourth 2,000-yard back in the district this season, while Rice intercepted seven passes.
Hilmar kicker Devon Mederios and Mariposa punter Phillip Rauch were also small school second-teamers.
Manteca offensive lineman Isaac McClain was a medium school, second-team choice.