High School Football

Who’s No. 1? Looking at nominees for Coach and Player of the Year.

The 2019 High School Football regular season has come and gone.

Playoffs begin Friday.

Before, we gear up for the second part of the season, let’s look at some nominees for the Bee’s Coach and Player of the Year. The winners, along with the Bee’s All-District team, will be announced in December.

Coach of the Year

Greg Bockman, Beyer: In his first year at the helm, Bockman turned around a program that went 0-10 last year. The Patriots won the Western Athletic Conference Championship and qualified for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Tim Garcia, Davis: Davis had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2004-05 and Spartans’ alum Garcia changed the culture of the school. Their 8-2 record in 2019 was there best since 2001.

Anthony Armas, Denair: After winning a section and state title last year, the Coyotes lost some key pieces to graduation but Armas and his staff showed last year was no fluke as Denair is the No. 1 seed in Div. VII.

Andrew Beam, Escalon: Expectations were extremely high for the Cougars with all of their talent. So far, they’ve won a share of the Trans-Valley League title. They are the No. 1 seed in Div. VI. Can they do what Hilmar did last year?

Scott Sacuskie, Johansen: One of the most personable coaches in the area, Sacuskie has shifted the culture at Johansen. The Vikings went 7-3 in 2019, their best record since 2008. Johansen lost to Beyer in the WAC Championship.

Chris Musseman, Ripon: With a small roster and dealing with injuries to two of their best players for a month, the Indians went 9-1 and won a share of the TVL title. They are the No. 2 seed in Div. V.

Trent Merzon, Oakdale: It’s playoff time, which means the season where the Mustangs play their best football. They won a share of the Valley Oak League title with a win at rival Central Catholic last week. Oakdale has played in at least the semifinals in every year since 2013.

Player of the Year

Beyer sophomore wide receiver Darius Murphy: First year on varsity and had over 1,100 total yards and 13 touchdowns. Impressive. Murphy did it all for the Patriots.

Central Catholic senior running back Minaya Olivo: Olivo had at least 100 rushing yards in eight games and averaged 9.1 yards per carry. He had 1,136 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Give him open space and good luck stopping him.

Davis senior quarterback Elijah Diaz: Diaz took control of the Spartans’ up-tempo offense and accounted for nearly 3,000 total yards and 36 touchdowns. He had 1,627 passing yards (21 TDs) and 1,224 rushing yards (15 TDs). Also one of Davis’ best linebackers.

Downey senior quarterback Bryce Gouker: Led the section in passing yards (2,823), passing yards per game (282.3), completion percentage (73.2), and passing touchdowns (34). Just call him Mr. Efficient.

Downey senior running back Robert Rivera: Pound-for-pound, you might not find a stronger running back than Rivera. He 1,596 total yards and 23 touchdowns for the 7-3 Knights.

Escalon senior running back Kaden Christensen: All Christensen does is score. He had a touchdown in every game (22 total) and averaged over 11 yards per carry behind one of the best offensive lines in the Stanislaus District.

Escalon senior offensive and defensive lineman Jacob Walden: A great two-way player, Walden started at guard on the offensive side for the Cougars and also had eight sacks at defensive end.

Hilmar junior running back Cole Bailey: One of the fastest players in the area, Bailey had nine total touchdowns and added three interceptions.

Oakdale junior running back Zeke Saffar: Saffar had 144 carries for 1,324 yards and 14 touchdowns and helped the Mustangs earn a No. 2 seed in Div. IV.

Ripon senior tight end and linebacker Troy Brogan: A good two-way player who had five receiving touchdowns and 10 tackles for a loss. The Indians’ top red-zone target.

Ripon senior running back and defensive back Danny Hernandez: Hernandez had 16 touchdowns, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. He also had 48 tackles.

Ripon Christian senior running back Sean McGovern: If you had McGovern on your fantasy team, odds are you won your league. Nearly 1,700 total yards and 30 touchdowns to go along with four interceptions and 10 pass deflections, a special season ... so far.

Turlock senior defensive lineman Jacob Masihi: He anchored the district’s best defense and had 20 tackles for a loss and six sacks. An offensive lineman’s worst nightmare.

Turlock senior running back Anthony Frias: Despite dealing with injuries, Frias had 1,019 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had six tackles for a loss and three sacks.

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.