Large School Offense
QB – Tiki Tonga, Modesto: Led the Panthers to a share of the Modesto Metro Conference title and proved he could beat you with his arm or his legs. Had to learn new coach Rickie Alkire’s system on the fly.
RB – Alex Laurel, Manteca: The Valley Oak League MVP carried the ball 23 times for 150 yards in his first three games of the season, then broke out with 194 yards against Sonora; finished with 1,876 yards and 49 touchdowns (fifth best in the state and 13th in the nation).
RB – Frank Ginda, Pacheco: Was a two-way standout, rushing for more than 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns, while recording 81 tackles and three sacks from his middle linebacker position. Could’ve made team as linebacker, but when you run for 306 yards in a single game (Sept. 7 against Central Valley) you’re a running back.
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RB – Ja’Quan Gardner, Central Valley: The Bee’s Player of the Year, he rushed for 2,467 yards – the second highest single-season total in Stanislaus District history – and 27 touchdowns, while setting a new career rushing mark (6,014) in the process.
WR – Travante Richard, Merced: The Central California Conference MVP caught 51 passes for 730 yards and 10 touchdowns, helping the Bears to the league championship.
WR – Tristan Best, Downey: The senior was a model of consistency during his two varsity seasons, hauling in 46 passes for 705 yards and 11 TDs as a junior, then catching 37 balls for 814 yards and 12 scores this season.
TE – Jordan Levu, Patterson: This two-way beast caught 23 passes for 435 yards and seven touchdowns as a tight end; as a defensive end Levu recorded 60 tackles (23 of them for losses) and 14 sacks.
OL – David Soriano, Merced: The 5-foot-10, 247-pounder was the Central California Conference’s Lineman of the Year.
OL – Isaac McClain, Manteca: This mountain of a left tackle (6-3, 290) provided protection for quarterback Joe Menzel (65.1 competion percentage, 28 TD passes, six interceptions) and opened holes for Alex Laurel (1,876 yards, 49 TDs).
OL – Aaron Lusher, Pitman: The 6-0, 275-pound Lusher was one of the top lineman in the Central California Conference and the top lineman for the Pride’s run-oriented attack. Improved as a pass rusher and always had his motor running.
OL – Cesar Arreola, Modesto: Was voted the Modesto Metro Conference’s Outstanding Offensive Lineman; provided time for QB Tiki Tonga and opened holes for 1,000-yard back Antonio Perez; took care of the Panthers’ line calls.
OL – Kyler Bourque, Downey: The 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior was the best lineman on the Modesto Metro Conference co-champions.
UT – Lovell Collins, Modesto: Was asked to play running back and he handled that; was asked to play receiver and he did that, too; was asked to play defense and he recorded three picks; was asked to return kickoffs and punts and well, you get the picture. Collins could do it all.
Large School Defense
DL – Jamell Bedford, Merced: The 6-foot, 275-pound Bedford was named the Central California Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. Made 72 tackles and 7½ sacks for the league champs.
DL – Billy Sharmoug, Manteca: The 6-foot-1, 300-pounder was a two-way lineman but wreaked havoc on the defensive side, recording six sacks.
DL – Nick Roditus, Pitman: Was a first-team selection in the Central California Conference. Motor is always running.
DL – Landon Ichord, Oakdale: Big, strong and physical. Was a VOL first-teamer as a tight end but he stood out on defense when Bee reporters were attendance.
LB – Dennis Orzhekovsky, Beyer: Burst onto the scene with a pick-six in each of the Patriots’ first two games of the season. Was the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year for the MMC.
LB – Jacob LeDon, Manteca: Voted the Valley Oak League’s Outstanding Defensive Player, LeDon totaled 83 tackles, four sacks and three fumble recoveries.
LB – Josh Baldonado, Downey: Imposing size at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds. Baldonado took part in the photo shoot for the cover of The Bee’s football preview edition. He looks like a linebacker.
LB – Ruben Rosas, Patterson: Was named the Outstanding Defensive Player for the Western Athletic Conference – a league with lots of outstanding defenders.
DB – Tanner Morgan, Oakdale: Was named the Valley Oak League’s Utility Player of the Year, for good reason. He did it all.
DB – Paul Fagbamila, Beyer: Picked off two passes and recorded 88 tackles; helped the Patriots earn a postseason berth.
DB – Adam Perez, Pacheco: His six interceptions were the fourth highest total in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Three-year varsity starter had a nose for the ball.
DB – Damarrio Hammonds, Patterson: The junior safety tied for the Stanislaus District lead with eight interceptions and recorded 24 tackles.
K – Marcus Montano, Manteca: Booted 61 of 108 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks and was 84 of 87 on PATs. Because the Buffs’ offense was so high-powered, only attempted two field goals all season.
Small School Offense
QB – Jake Pruitt, Sierra: Senior completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 3,260 yards and 38 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. Totaled 400-plus passing yards three times this season, including a 453-yard, five-TD performance in a 42-37 playoff loss in Colfax.
RB – Matt Ringer, Central Catholic: Played in the shadow of Ray Lomas and Rey Vega last season, but was the focal point of the Raiders’ offense this year. Rushed for 2,348 yards and 33 touchdowns. Easily left 500 yards on the field by sitting out late in blowouts. Also played linebacker for the two-time state champions.
RB – Andrew Brown, Ripon Christian: Rushed for a Stanislaus District record 2,781 yards and 55 touchdowns (second in the state, fifth in the nation) this season, pushing his career total to 5,909 yards and 126 TDs. His career rushing mark is the second best in the district, while his 126 TDs are a Sac-Joaquin Section record – just 11 off the state’s all-time mark.
RB – Ryan Martinez, Le Grand: During his three years on Le Grand’s varsity team, the Bulldogs were 35-3 with three Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 titles. This season, with expectations high, the senior rushed for 2,138 yards and 33 TDs as the ’Dogs capped a perfect 12-0 season with a 20-13 win over Golden Sierra (Garden Valley).
WR – Tyler Robinson, Hilmar: The 6-foot, 165-pound senior caught 61 passes for 1,038 yards (17 yards per catch) and 15 touchdowns. Production would’ve been even better if his team hadn’t been so dominant – the Yellowjackets won six of their first seven games by four touchdowns. Coach Frank Marques called him the “best receiver ever at Hilmar High.”
WR – Christian Williams, Le Grand: Caught 26 passes for 702 yards (27 per catch) and seven TDs for the undefeated D5 section champ Bulldogs. In fact, with 2,177 all-purpose yards this season, Williams averaged 28 yards every single time he touched the ball this season. Dangerous.
OL – Spencer Stark, Central Catholic: How dominant was the 6-2, 325-pound Stark? Consider this: Last year, RB Ray Lomas rushed for 2,000-plus yards, while teammate Rey Vega rushed for 1,524 yards and would’ve been a lock for 2,000 yards if he hadn’t had to sit out the first six games. This year, Stark opened holes for Matt Ringer, another 2,000-yard back. Essentially, that’s three 2,000-yard backs and back-to-back state titles running right behind Stark. Enough said.
OL – Jorge Barajas, Hughson: The 6-foot-1, 235-pounder opened holes for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Tanner Duron and Kyle Kerlee, and a third (Andrew Ocegueda) who rushed for more than 700 yards.
OL – Lance Davis, Escalon: Was named the Trans-Valley League’s Offensive Lineman of the Year and helped the Cougars clinch a playoff berth.
OL – Robert Taylor, Ripon: Provided protection for sophomore quarterback Nick Price, who stood tall to complete 58 percent of his passes for 20 TDs and just four picks.
OL – Kory Mora, Modesto Christian: With fewer than 20 players on the roster, everybody on the Crusaders’ roster had to play both ways, and the 6-foot, 260-pound Mora was the rock of both lines.
UT – Michael Ysit, Ripon: Two-way star rushed for 1,525 yards (15.1 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns and caught 26 passes for 393 yards (15.1 yards per catch) and four scores. On defense, made 65 tackles and nine sacks from his linebacker position, with one interception. Also returned a kick (91 yards) and a punt (95 yards) for scores.
Small School Defense
DL – Kody Day, Ripon: Pound-for-pound, one of the strongest football players around. Totaled 51 tackles, a team-high 11 sacks and caused nine fumbles.
DL – David Bisby, Hilmar: Had 100 tackles and 7½ sacks for the Yellowjackets’ swarming defense. Also picked off two passes, returning one for a touchdown in a playoff victory against Liberty Ranch. And he played hurt since Week 5!
DL – Collin Strasser, Escalon: Ranked 10th in the Sac-Joaquin Section with 14 sacks. Made almost 100 tackles from his D-line position.
DL – Will Kamps, Ripon Christian: Was 10th in the state, and third in the Sac-Joaquin Section with 20½ sacks. Here’s the scary part: The 6-0, 190-pounder is only a sophomore.
DL – Travis Gist, Central Catholic: At 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, Gist was a force for the Raiders up front.
LB – Reggie Bland, Central Catholic: The versatile Bland, who played on back-to-back state championship teams, rushed for more than 500 yards on offense but made his bones on defense, where he recorded 107 tackles and led the team with five sacks. Had a 41-yard pick-six in a win over Downey, the night he was crowned Homecoming king.
LB – Joseph Bello, Hilmar: Totaled 138 tackles, including eight games with 10 or more, and had three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. Was named the Trans-Valley League’s Outstanding Defensive Player. Was named All-Section and All-NorCal, too.
LB – Michael Morris, Ripon: The 5-10, 225-pound Morris recorded a Stanislaus District leading 154 tackles – the third best total in the Sac-Joaquin Section. More than 100 of them were solo takedowns. Also had 10 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a pick.
DB – Jake Smith, Hilmar: Named the Outstanding Defensive Back in the Trans-Valley League, the 6-foot, 165-pound Smith had 98 tackles and two interceptions for one of the meanest defenses in the Stanislaus District. Would cover receivers at times, and would creep up to play against run at others.
DB – Jesus Vega, Waterford: Was named Defensive Player of the Year in the Southern League and helped the Wildcats to a second straight playoff appearance.
DB – Matthew Gonzalez, Hughson: The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder had 61 tackles and a district-best eight interceptions – two of which were returned for touchdowns – for the 6-5 Huskies. Only Tyrell Anderson of Center (Antelope) had more picks (12) in the Sac-Joaquin Section.
DB – Jared Rice, Central Catholic: Had seven interceptions, two caused fumbles, two fumble recoveries – including a scoop and score in the state championship game – and 70 tackles from his safety position.
K – Kenny Smart, Central Catholic: Kicked a career-best 53-yard field goal against Livingston and booted 77 of 111 kickoffs (69 percent) into the end zone for touchbacks. His 108 total points this season pushed his three-year varsity total to 310, which places his No. 2 on the state’s all-time list behind Alex Ball, who totaled 340 points for Westlake Village (2009-11).
– Joe Cortez