LEADER IN THE CLUBHOUSE
Su’a Cravens (Vista Murrieta, Murrieta)
This hasn’t changed since the start of the season and Cravens has done nothing to diminish his candidacy. As a force on both sides of the ball, this talented safety headed to USC has continued to play well in helping his team to a No. 3 overall state ranking.
On the defensive side of the ball, last season’s State Junior of the Year and the 2011 L.A. Times Player of the Year has three interceptions, four sacks and 78 tackles.
Cravens also has shown having a knack for the end zone when he gets the ball on offense, including four touchdowns rushing and eight touchdowns on pass receptions.
In Vista Murrieta’s regular season finale, he caught eight passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. If the Broncos can reach and win the Open Division Bowl Game, it will likely clinch the top honor for him.
HIGHLY RANKED QB ON A HIGHLY RANKED TEAM
Troy Williams (Narbonne, Harbor City)
If Cravens is the leader in the clubhouse, this 6-foot, 175-pound signal caller is not far behind. He’s led the Gauchos to a perfect 10-0 regular season record and No. 2 state ranking behind De La Salle.
Narbonne’s team success has obviously helped Williams in the Mr. Football race, but he’s also a great individual talent who could become the first dual-threat QB to earn state player of the year honors since Orange Lutheran’s Aaron Corp in 2006.
Williams closed out the regular season with a 349-yard, six-touchdown performance in a win over Gardena and has completed 122 of 172 pass attempts for 1,881 yards with 26 touchdowns against five interceptions to go with eight rushing touchdowns.
The Elite 11 national quarterback has committed to Washington and has been one of the top college prospects in the Class of 2013 for several years.
HE’S JUST A SOPHOMORE BUT…..
Jake Browning (Folsom)
This sophomore continues to pile up big stats and wins and could be in some huge games in December. After the regular season, Browning has passed for 3,726 yards and 43 touchdowns for a Bulldog team that is now ranked 10th in the state.
After a few quiet weeks, he exploded for back-to-back six touchdown performances against Oak Ridge and Jesuit before throwing five touchdowns in a win over Sheldon.
Folsom is the favorite to capture the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship and with that would play in a NorCal regional bowl game and then a possible state bowl game. If all that happens, Browning could have well over 5,000 yards and a new state record.
DYNAMITE DUO FROM THE SAME TOP TEAM
Tiapepe Vitale & Michael Hutchings (De La Salle, Concord)
As long as the Spartans have a shot at winning their fourth straight CIF Open Division state title, one or two of their top players will have to be close to the top of the Mr. Football tracker.
Vitale has emerged as one of the most powerful, effective backs the team has had in recent years. He finished the regular season with nearly 1,500 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. Top outings include 183 yards against Bellarmine and 195 against California of San Ramon.
Hutchings, who is headed to USC, is the leader of the DLS defense, which has given up more points than last year’s unit but is just as talented and capable of dominating any offense. Hutchings leads the team with 74 tackles from his linebacker position and also has had 2.5 sacks and two interceptions.
MAIN MAN IN MARIN
Jared Goff (Marin Catholic, Kentfield)
Goff doesn’t have close to the stats of others on this list, but that’s because his team has been routing its opposition in the Marin County Athletic League.
What he does have is obvious talent – he was in the Elite 11 quarterback camp last summer and has committed to Cal – and he has the opportunity to lead a team to a possible berth in the CIF NorCal Division III bowl game.
For the regular season, Goff completed 76 percent of his passes for 1,537 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s also gone past the 6,000-yard mark for his career.
MAD MAX ON A MISSION
Max Redfield (Mission Viejo)
Mission Viejo’s 10-0 club is balanced with many standouts on both sides of the ball, but the Diablos’ best two-way talent is Redfield. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder makes ton of plays from his free safety position and also makes plays on special teams like the blocked punt he had in last week’s league showdown versus El Toro.
As a receiver, Redfield is also a big play-maker who is averaging 18.8 yards per reception. He has 34 receptions for 640 yards with six touchdowns and nine overall. Redfield’s statistics are not overwhelming, but the Diablos have an excellent chance to go deep in the CIFSS Pac-Five playoffs and potentially play in a regional bowl game.
That would give Redfield the opportunity for big performances that would increase his candidacy. He’s headed for USC as well and is considered an All-America candidate.
RUNNING BACKS MAKING A CHARGE
(Their teams could be playing many more weeks too)
Zach Green (St. Bonaventure, Ventura)
The University of Arizona-bound Green shined with 27 carries for 240 yards and two TDs in the Seraphs’ big win last week over Oaks Christian. He also recently had three scores in just six carries in a game against Simi Valley. Due to several blowouts, Green’s overall season stats may not match others, but his ability sure does and he has the possibilities of posting even bigger performances in the next month.
Terrell Newby (Chaminade, West Hills)
The all-state sophomore from two years ago is making a big charge this season. Just last month, he put name into the state record book with eight touchdowns to go with 16 carries for 351 yards in a win vs. Harvard-Westlake. Newby also had six TDs just last week against Cathedral of Los Angeles. For the season, he has 1,651 yards and 23 scores. Colleges have increased their attention towards him as well. Newby has offers from Cal, Nebraska, UCLA, Arizona State and others.
FRONT RUNNER WHO JUST TOOK A HIT
Conner Manning (El Toro, Lake Forest)
The Utah-bound senior suffered with six interceptions in a 49-7 loss to Mission Viejo after throwing just three in the previous nine games.
Manning’s chances can be revived in the CIFSS Pac-Five playoffs and we’ll see about that quickly since the first playoff game will be against Santa Margarita.
For the season so far, he has passed for 3,740 yards and 39 touchdowns with at least three touchdown passes in the first nine games.
STATE RECORD BREAKING RECEIVERS
Drew Wolitarsky (Canyon, Canyon Country) & Corbin Covey (Camarillo)
Wolitarsky already has broken the state record for most receiving yards in a career and could add most receptions for the career in the upcoming CIFSS Northern Division playoffs.
Covey completed his regular season last week for the 9-1 Scorpions with 124 catches for 1,208 yards and eight TDs. He broke the state record of 122 set last year by Logan Smith from Vista del Lago of Folsom.
A few more record-breaking nights for either player could move them up the honors charts.
DEFENDER WHO COULD SNEAK UP
Eddie Vanderdoes (Placer, Auburn)
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle who has committed to USC requires double-teaming on every play and is the prime force for a defense that has led Placer to a 10-0 record so far this season.
Vanderdoes doesn’t have a ton of tackles (55), but leads the Hillmen in sacks with eight and his constant presence and pass-rushing has caused quarterbacks to throw errant passes. Teammate Isaiah Pineiro, in fact, is among the state leaders with nine interceptions.
OTHER QUARTERBACKS WE’RE TRACKING
Devon Dunn (Alemany, Mission Hills) Sr.
Trevor Hodge (Citrus Hill, Perris) Sr.
Brandon Martinez (El Monte) Sr.
Israel “Tofi” Paopao (Oceanside) Sr.
Aaron Zwahlen (Downey, Modesto) Sr.
OTHER RUNNING BACKS WE’RE TRACKING
Anthony Cota (Sierra, Manteca) Sr.
Justin Davis (Lincoln, Stockton) Sr.
Justin Ewing (Capuchino, San Bruno) Sr.
Robert Frazier (Elk Grove) Sr.
Sty Hairston (Banning) Sr.
D.J. Martin (Stockdale, Bakersfield) Sr.
Khalfani Muhammad (Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks) Sr.
Jamal Morrow (Heritage, Menifee) Sr.
Joe Protheroe (Clayton Valley, Concord) Sr.
Eric Redwood (Serra, San Mateo) Sr.
Jacob Taylor (Rim of the World, Lake Arrowhead) Sr.
Olito Thompson (Concord) Sr.
James Toland (Shadow Hills) Jr.
OTHER PLAYERS WE’RE TRACKING
Royce Freeman (Imperial) Jr.
Jonathan Lockett (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Jr.
Marcellus Pippins (El Cerrito) Sr.
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