SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week's honorees from SoCal/NorCal are running back Najee Harris of Antioch (left) and QB/LB Mique Juarez from North of Torrance. Photos: Tom Hauck/

Two of this week’s best from SoCal/NorCal are RB Najee Harris of Antioch (left) and QB/LB Mique Juarez from North of Torrance. Photos: Tom Hauck/

Once again for this season, 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 players from Torrance, Chino, Thousand Oaks, Antioch, San Jose and Hercules.

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 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).

It’s also a great time to sign up for our Gold Club to see all of our great content. The yearly rate is going up possibly as early as next week. For details, CLICK HERE.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Mique Juarez (North, Torrance) Sr.

Leading the Saxons to their first win of the season was this dual-threat quarterback and linebacker that is headed to play at USC next season, probably as a linebacker.

During the 40-14 win over Peninsula of Rolling Hills Estates, the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder with 4.66 speed connected on 14 of his 21 pass attempts for 205 yards and three touchdowns while putting up similar numbers rushing the ball with 13 carries for 173 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a two-point conversion to help North Torrance bounce back from a season-opening loss to Redondo of Redondo Beach.

Juarez was on the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Sophomore Team two years ago in the multi-purpose position and the summer after that he blew up nationally as a big-time recruit.
NFHS Network ad
Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Willie Morris (Chino) Jr.

Before the season, new Chino head coach Jesse Ceniceros compared Morris to two all-state level players had in his previous job at Norwalk – Rashaad & Elijah Penny.

“One of the best athletes I have coached,” Ceniceros told “He has tremendous hands and can catch anything thrown to him. He will be a team leader for the next two years.”

Morris, who missed a solid chunk of his sophomore season with a shoulder injury, is making up for lost time. In a 53-20 win last weekend over Baldwin Park, the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder came up big with three interceptions on defense.

Morris also is expected to be one of the top receivers for the Cowboys this season.

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

Kevin Howell (Thousand Oaks) Sr.

This versatile player probably was going to be picked at some point this season as a SoCal player of the week on offense or defense, but it ended up he was good choice this week for special teams.

Since we didn’t have any reports as of Monday afternoon of any kickers who did anything especially noteworthy, Howell having a 93-yard kickoff return as part of huge night in the Lancers’ 53-26 triumph over Canyon of Canyon Country fit the bill. In addition to the kickoff return, he also caught eight passes for 224 yards and four TDs.

Last year as a junior, Howell caught 72 passes for 932 yards and 11 TDs and also was highly regarded as a cornerback. He has committed to the University of Nevada.

Thousand Oaks, of course, also is the home of Cal-bound QB Max Gilliam, who we’ll probably get picked as a SoCal Offensive POW later this season. In the same game, Gilliam tied a Ventura County record with seven TD passes and completed 21 of 27 passes for 365 yards.
Players to Watch 120
Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Najee Harris (Antioch) Jr.

Nearly named as our State Sophomore of the Year last season and chosen to our preseason All-State first team, this Alabama-committed running back rushed for 396 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries while also catching two passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns during a 47-22 win over Milpitas.

It’s not as if Milpitas is some patsy opponent, either. The Trojans were 10-0 in the regular season last year (they finished 11-1, not including a forfeit) before being edged in the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs 9-6 in overtime by Bellarmine of San Jose.

Harris has now rushed for 583 yards and five touchdowns through two games as he looks to make a run for State Junior of the Year honors or more. Last season, he rushed for 2,263 yards and 23 touchdowns with his season-best performance coming late in the year with 371 yards and four touchdowns during a 50-26 win over San Leandro.

Jones also was a track standout last spring at Valley Christian. Photo:

Jones also was a track standout last spring at Valley Christian. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Akil Jones (Valley Christian, San Jose) Sr.

We will be seeing Akil play this Friday since their game against Oak Grove of San Jose is going to be televised by Comcast Hometown Network (and Paul Muyskens will be doing stats).

Jones will be going into that game as a NorCal player of the week for his performance during a 54-0 win over Pioneer of San Jose. During the Warriors’ season opening win, he had three sacks and four additional tackles for losses in the shutout.

Committed to Colorado, Jones was a preseason pick to our All-CIF Central Coast Section team.

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

Ernest Jackson (Hercules) Sr.

Earning this honor for what he did during a 42-7 win over San Rafael was this senior captain who has played on offense, defense and special teams this season.

Finding the end zone on special teams, he returned a punt 55 yards for six points while also adding 85 yards and scoring two more touchdowns on five carries. He also is among the team leaders in tackles on defense.

Thanks to Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens for contributions to this post. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

Enjoy this article?

Find out how you can get access to more exclusive content, one-of-a-kind California high school sports content!

Learn More

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


    Latest News

    Insider Blog