SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week are Jonathan Martin of Culver City and Keshon Butler of Tulare Western. They’ve both been chosen for offense. Photos:

Two who’ve put their names into the state record book — Jonathan Martin of Culver City (total offense single game) and Keshon Butler of Tulare Western (most receiving yds single game) — lead this week’s SoCal/NorCal Player of the Week picks. Other honorees are from Yucaipa, San Juan Capistrano, Atherton and Lake of the Pines.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate someone by 12 noon on most Mondays, email

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Jonathon Martin
(Culver City) Sr.

The Centaurs came off a bye week to open the season in style while also doing something in a 58-27 victory they hadn’t done in a while – and the biggest reason they beat West of Torrance for the first time in six years was the arm and legs of their senior quarterback.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Martin passed for a school record 537 yards and five touchdowns and also rushed for 103 additional yards with two more scores. To be exact, Martin completed 28 of 37 passes for 537 yards and rushed seven times for 103 yards. His published stats earlier were a bit lower but didn’t include completions, attempts or rushing carries.

Martin and the Centaurs had shown they might be a force this season in several passing tournaments. They were early on against West. With less than two minutes gone in the game, the fleet-footed Martin gave notice of what kind of night it was going to be with a 51-yard touchdown run around left end off a play fake.

Adding Martin’s rushing and passing total together and the 640 yards of total offense looks like it will be among the top 10 in state history. The state record of 761 was set in 2014 by Jorge Amaya of Los Angeles Hawkins (739 passing, 22 rushing). According to our state records, the CIF Southern Section record of 676 was in 2006 by Robert Fuller of San Bernardino (602 pass, 74 rush).

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Matthew Best
(Yucaipa) Sr.

After leading the 10-2 Thunderbirds with 127 tackles last season as a junior, the 6-foot-1, 194-pound senior defensive back helped Yucaipa start the season in fine fashion. The Thunderbirds came off a bye week to post a 55-26 victory over Grand Terrace.

Best, who was on the preseason Citrus Belt Players to Watch list of Press Enterprise scribe Eric-Paul Johnson, had a season-opening performance that has him en route to another great season.

Of five turnovers forced by Yucaipa, Best had two and both were interceptions, one of which he returned 67 yards and another he returned 23 yards for pick six TDs. He also had his usual 11 tackles with a quarterback hurry and also returned a kickoff 17 yards for good measure.

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

Jamiel Henning
(JSerra Catholic, San Juan Capistrano) Jr.

The Lions have always been known to have great kickoff and punt return personnel and Henning, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound transfer from Buena Park, is just the latest.

In the first ever home game for JSerra on its brand new field, Henning had two punt returns and both his 55-yard and 45-yard returns went to the house in a 48-27 victory over Bishop Alemany of Mission Hills. He also had a pass interception from his cornerback position and two tackles.

An interesting twist is that the punt returning performance by Henning came the same night former JSerra kickoff and punt returner Dante Pettis tied the Pac-12 record with his sixth punt return TD in a victory by Washington against Rutgers. JSerra grad Avery Williams also had a punt return TD over the weekend for Boise State.

Menlo School’s Dillon Grady celebrates with teammates after scoring defensive touchdown in game last week. Photo: Pam McKenney/Menlo Athletics.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Dillon Grady
(Menlo School, Atherton) Jr.

Besides scouring the state each week to find the players who make big contributions and/or put up huge numbers in the biggest games, we get several nominations and encourage high school football fans to keep sending them in because like this week we may use the nomination. Like this one.

In a 56-6 pounding of Pebble Beach Stevenson, Grady, a 6-foot, 175-pound middle linebacker, had three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, plus nine tackles.

Grady also handles the kicking and punting duties for the Knights, and although he didn’t punt or try a field goal against Stevenson, he made all eight PATs and of his nine kickoffs four were touchbacks.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Keshon Butler
(Tulare Western, Tulare) Jr.

The numbers were flying in the CIF Central Section but according to section historian Bob Barnett only one performance set a new record and that was by this 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior wide receiver.

In a 63-28 scoreboard lighter-upper victory over neighboring Visalia Mt. Whiney, Butler, who is also a star sprinter on the Mustangs’ track team, had nine catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns with a longest of 80 yards.

The nine catches and four TDs were not records but the 380 yards is the new standard in the Central Section for receiving yardage. Butler surpassed the previous record of 373 yards set in 1991 by Keith Poole of Clovis, who later played in the NFL.

It was hard to overlook the QB/WR duo from San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) of Alec Trujillo and Jalen McMillan. In a 53-46 victory over Lemoore, Trujillo, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound junior, passed for 488 yards and six touchdowns on 21 of 26 attempts. His big target was McMillan, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore who snagged 12 receptions for 369 yards and six TDs. According to Barnett, the six receiving touchdowns ties the Central Section record.

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

Alex Bohn
(Bear River, Lake of the Pines) Soph.

The 30-yard field goal by the Bruins’ kicker and punter with 25 seconds left in the first half was all the points the boys from the Mother Lode area foothills of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains would need in a 20-0 blanking of El Dorado Union Mine.

Bohn also closed out the scoring with a field goal and was good on both PAT attempts that made him 9-for-9 so far on the season. Bohn also punted five times for a 39-yard average and only two of his five kickoffs were returned.

A special teams shout-out also has to go to Bohn’s teammate Garrett Pratt. His fumble recovery led to the first field goal and he later blocked a punt in the third quarter that led to a score.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend

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One Comment

  1. Cameron Bennett
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I played sports in high school and college and I now have kids that play sports, so I love being able to see a website that allows me to keep up to date on things that are going on in our area and pertain to me and my kid’s lives. Looking at these stats, it will be interesting to see how the football season goes. Yucaipa is a rival of ours, so watching the game against Grand Terrace was a fun watch, but the Thunderbirds will certainly be a force this season!

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