NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Ryan Kelley of the Marin Catholic football team was all over the field during a win last Saturday over Alhambra of Martinez in the CIF North Coast Section D3 playoffs. Photo: Harold Abend.

Ryan Kelley of Marin Catholic was all over the field during a win last Saturday over Alhambra of Martinez in the CIF North Coast Section D3 playoffs. Photo: Harold Abend.


Only one is named from each region for offense, defense and special teams and we’re going to do our best to spread it around as much as possible. This week’s honors go to Elk Grove, Kentfield, Granite Bay, La Quinta, Downey and Mission Viejo.

Note: For purposes of this feature, we are considering the CIF Central Section to be in the north.

To nominate a player for next week, email markjtennis@gmail.com by Monday at 12 noon and be sure to include a photo that we can use (which means it’s not from the local newspaper or from another web site). Please feel free to call at 209-463-9050 as well both for nominations or to see if your business or small company would like to become a sponsor for this weekly content.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Trey Nahhas (Monterey Trail, Elk Grove) Sr.

We nearly picked Trey two weeks ago after he rushed for 345 yards and six touchdowns during a 40-24 win over Davis but we are glad we waited and are able to select him this week.

Playing on a roster with just 25 players, Nahhas piled up 398 yards and five touchdowns on 39 carries during a 51-45 win over Merced in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Division I quarterfinals. He also completed his third pass of the season, which went for a 33-yard completion.

As the No. 12 seed in the bracket, the Mustangs (8-4) opened the playoffs with a 29-28 win over Cosumnes Oaks of Elk Grove when Trey had 35 carries for 242 yards and two scores. He has now rushed for 2,534 yards and 33 touchdowns this season and should be busy once again this week since Monterey Trail will need to control the ball for long periods of time to have any hope at staying close with nationally ranked Folsom.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Ryan Kelley (Marin Catholic, Kentfield) Sr.

The big props this season at Marin Catholic have mostly gone to dual-threat junior quarterback Darius Peterson and his assault on the 2,000-yard passing and 1,000-yard rushing mark, but last week it was the Wildcats’ cat-quick Kelley that turned in the most impressive performance in a 48-9 CIF North Coast Section Division III quarterfinal thrashing of Martinez Alhambra.
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The 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end had 20 tackles, three sacks, three other tackles for loss, a forced fumble on one of the sacks that he recovered, two batted passes and four quarterback hurries that were all nearly sacks.

“I brought my game today and everything just clicked for the whole team,” said a smiling Kelley, a transfer from the Boston area who arrived at Marin Catholic over the summer after his father, Gregg Kelley, was named the new General Manager of KTVU-TV Channel 2 in the Bay Area when Fox acquired the station in June.

Besides running down quarterbacks and anyone else he can wrap his huge frame around, Kelley, a 3.5 GPA student-athlete can also chase guys around the wrestling mat. Last season, he was a Massachusetts state champion and this coming season he will be wrestling at Marin Catholic for longtime friend of Cal-Hi Sports and Wildcats’ head coach Chris Feder.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Special Teams Player of the Week

Sam Cusano (Granite Bay) Jr.

With former Grizzlies’ standout and current Oakland Raiders’ starting linebacker Miles Burris on the sidelines to watch their 28-13 win over Napa in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinals, he had to be impressed with the play of the Grizzlies’ defense and special teams, including Cusano.

Cusano is receiving this honor for returning a punt 86 yards for a touchdown in the final minute of the first half that extended Granite Bay’s lead to 21-7. It was the second straight playoff game in which Cusano returned a punt for a score. He also was credited with three pass deflections on defense.

Granite Bay (9-3) meets Tracy (9-3) at home on Friday in the semifinals.

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Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Chris Rom-Toribio (La Quinta) Sr.

Continuing to lead the state in reported scoring and rushing this season, Chris rushed for 325 yards and four touchdowns during a 49-13 win over Vista del Lago of Moreno Valley in the CIFSS Eastern Division quarterfinals. It was Rom-Toribio’s second straight 300-yard game and his fourth this season.

With other state rushing leaders having their seasons halted due to their teams losing in the playoffs, Rom-Toribio’s totals are only going to stretch further into the state lead. This week, in fact, he should go over 3,000 yards rushing.

In addition to the yardage, Rom-Toribio also now has 44 touchdowns and one TD pass this season. Mark Paule Jr. from Sierra of Manteca also has 44 TDs, but his team is done after last week. Chris could still have two and potentially four games left.

This is the second La Quinta player to be chosen for a SoCal player of the week honor. The other was kicker Lucas Norblom.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Chris Blanton (Downey) Sr.

Making it hard for Los Angleles Cathedral QB Andrew Tovar to have much time to pass, the Vikings’ defense piled up the sacks and advanced in the CIFSS Southeast Division playoffs with a 21-18 win over the Phantoms.

A 6-foot, 200-pounder senior defensive end, Blanton was blazing with a season-high six sacks and also had 14 tackles.

Blanton, who has been listed with a sack in 11 of Downey’s 12 games, now has 96 tackles and is among the reported state leaders in sacks so far this season with 24.5.

The Vikings (9-3) play league rival Salesian of Los Angeles (6-6) in this week’s section semifinals.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Special Teams Player of the Week

Adam Gordon (Capistrano Valley, Mission Viejo) Sr.

Scoring in multiple ways, Gordon helped the Cougars (9-3) advance in the CIFSS Southwest Division playoffs for a matchup against San Clemente (11-1) with a 26-7 win over Valencia of Placentia.

Starting with his play on offense, Gordon caught six passes for 49 yards and one touchdown and has now caught 79 passes for 766 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year. On defense, he also recorded his fourth interception.

This is a shout out about special teams, however, and Gordon had plenty of plays for those units. He returned a short punt 31 yards for a score to get things going and followed up both of his touchdowns on the night by kicking the extra points. Along with the two extra points, Gordon also kicked two field goals to finish the night scoring 20 of Capo Valley’s 26 points.

Paul Muyskens and Harold Abend contributed to this content item. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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