In the history of the NFL, only two defensive players – defensive tackle Alan Page of the Minnesota Vikings and linebacker Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants – have ever been named MVP.
The same is true in college football – Michigan defensive back Charles Woodson is the lone defender to win the Heisman Trophy.
In other words, postseason awards have long been dominated by offensive stars.
Central Valley High School defensive tackle Erik Mejia beat those long odds when he was named MVP of the Western Athletic Conference this week.
We were the best team in the WAC and he was our best football player.
Central Valley head coach Scott Edwards, on defensive tackle Erik Mejia
After all the nominations were made for MVP at the league meeting, Central Valley coach Scott Edwards was reminded that there were designated slots for offensive lineman and defensive lineman of the year.
“I was asked, ‘Would you rather put him for that,’ ” said Edwards, who was named Coach of the Year for guiding the Hawks to a 9-1 regular-regular season record and the school’s first league title. “I simply said, ‘No.’
“We were the best team in the WAC and he was our best football player.”
The coaches agreed, making Mejia a unanimous choice.
“I knew I had a chance to make first team,” said Mejia, a 6-foot-2, 256-pound senior. “I wasn’t expecting to win MVP. To have all the coaches vote for me is a huge honor.”
Mejia, with four sacks and 42 combined tackles, led a defensive line in which every starter earned postseason accolades.
Carlos Fregoso, a 6-1, 215-pound senior defensive end, was named the league’s Outstanding Defensive Player, while Gabriel Quezada, a 6-4, 255-pound senior defensive end, shared the Outstanding Defensive Lineman trophy with Los Banos’s Juan Bravo.
Teammate Angel Lopez was named Outstanding Kicker/Punter, while offensive lineman Jacob Geist of Los Banos and Pacheco running back Tk Teneng shared Outstanding Offensive Player honors.
David Serrano, a 6-3, 275-pound junior DT, was the fourth member of the CV defensive line to be recognized, making the league’s first team. Serrano was also a first-team choice on the offensive line.
Linebacker Nasson Sanchez and safety Estevan Barragan also were selected to the first team from Central Valley’s defense. Barragan’s brother, running back Jonathan Barragan, was a first-team selection at running back and the seventh CV player to be honored.
Quezada led Central Valley with 12 sacks, followed by Fregoso, with 10. Fregoso totaled 20 tackles for loss, followed by Serrano (17), Quezada (16) and Mejia (14).
The Hawks, who lost 28-13 to powerful Antelope in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs after trailing 14-13 at halftime, gave up just 10.27 points per game this season.
“It was a defensive-oriented football team and the stats backed it up,” said Edwards, who has led the Hawks to the playoffs in each of his two seasons at the helm. “It’s pretty rewarding to the program and the job our defensive staff did.
“As an old lineman, it’s a proud moment.”
For the complete All-WAC team, see Scoreboard, Page B-5.