NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Our two NorCal/SoCal defensive players of the week have been making plays for a long time before this season: Davion Ross of Sacramento Inderkum & Joshka Gustav of San Bernardino Aquinas. Photos: Chris Kaufman/Marysville Appeal-Democrat &

For the third week in a row, our NorCal Special Teams Player of the Week from Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland ran back a punt for touchdown. Our SoCal choice in that category from San Diego Lincoln had three kick return scores in just last week’s game. Other honorees this week are from Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Granada Hills and San Bernardino.

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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 Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Joey Thresh
(Montgomery, Santa Rosa) Jr.

There were some big performances in Northern California but No. 1 was this junior signal-caller and his favorite target was likely the runner-up.

First-year Vikings head coach Tony Keefer has assembled a staff that includes former San Marin, Stanford and NFL star Brad Muster, and the result is Montgomery and Thresh in particular are putting up huge numbers.

Last week in a 41-13 pounding of Sonoma Valley (Sonoma) the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Thresh threw the Dragons for a loop after completing 31 of 37 passes for 495 yards and six TDs. Thresh opened the season with 510 yards and seven TDs but the Vikings lost a shootout to Petaluma. Two weeks ago his time was limited in a blowout of Oakland but so far this season his 1,266 yards and 17 TDs is reported tops in the state for both among players with only three games.

The wide receiver Thresh likes to throw to the most, senior Austin Rapolla, had 17 catches for 248 yards and five TDs against Sonoma Valley and now has 33 receptions for 569 yards and nine TDs, and those are both the most for players with three games as well.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Davion Ross
(Inderkum, Sacramento) Sr.

This 5-foot-10, 170-pound cornerback likes to get his hands on the ball and when he does there’s a good chance he can find paydirt.

Last week, in a 70-20 shellacking of Hayward Moreau Catholic, the Tigers’ track star had three interceptions with 115 yards in returns and one of the picks he returned for a touchdown. That gives him four interceptions this year and a school record 16 for his varsity career. Ross also had six tackles in the game and returned a kickoff 34 yards.

We said Ross likes to get the ball in his hands and on the five occasions head coach Terry Stark has let him run the ball in a 4-0 start he’s averaging 20 yards per carry and had 47-yard and 20-yard TD runs.

Jevon Holland is one of the elite DBs in the state, but might not be a good idea to let him return a punt. Photo:

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

Jevon Holland
(Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) Sr.

This is the third-straight week the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Oregon-committed safety, wide receiver and punt returner has been on the board for a possible NorCal Special Teams Player of the Week honor.

Now, after a punt return in each of his first three games, Holland has snagged the award. Last week, in a rout of St. Mary’s of Berkeley, he had three punt returns for 87 yards with one going for a 37-yard touchdown.

Two weeks ago prior to a bye he had a 75-yard punt return for a TD against Napa Justin-Siena, and in the Dragons’ opening game shellacking of Fremont Kennedy he took a punt 37 yards to the house. In seven total punt returns he has the three TDs and is averaging 32 yards per return.

As a wide receiver, Holland had an 18-yard TD reception against St. Mary’s and also has a 76-yard TD catch against Kennedy. The catch is O’Dowd head coach Napoleon Kaufman hardly has let him catch the ball. He only has four receptions with the two TDs and is averaging 37 yards per catch.
“When he gets his hands on the ball he’s a problem for people,” Kaufman told Cal-Hi Sports.

Playing with the numbers and adding punt returns and pass receptions together, instant-offense Holland has scored five of the 11 times he’s touched the ball.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Maxi Perez
(Granada Hills) Sr.

After an 0-3 start, the Highlanders finally got off the hard luck wagon with a 63-21 victory over crosstown arch-rival Kennedy, and this senior running back was the big reason.

For his efforts, not only did L.A. Daily News prep scribe Evan Barnes name him the Daily News Boys Athlete of the Week but Perez snags this Southern California regional honor as well.

His 414 yards rushing on 27 carries with six TDs is just one yard shy of the 415 yards currently needed to make the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book. It is probably in the top 10 or better all time for single game rushing according to the record book in the Los Angeles City Section. The highest reported total for that is the 475 yards that Sherman Austin of L.A. Lincoln had in a 1997 game against Venice.

Perez isn’t the first Granada Hills player to put up some big numbers since the most famous Highlanders’ player of them all is 1978 Mr. Football State Player of the Year and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Joshka Gustav
(Aquinas, San Bernardino) Sr.

For our Defensive Player of the Week we go out to the Inland Empire to honor this 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker and tight end that also puts the shot and hurls a discus for Aquinas and is a huge reason the Falcons are off to a 4-0 start and are one of the top small school programs in the CIF Southern Section.

In a thrashing of Palm Desert Xavier Prep, Gustav was all over the place and reportedly scored five TDs, two on defense, two as a tight end and one on a punt return. There was some confusion about the totals since one tweet didn’t mention the defensive TDs but another did. Regardless, Gustav has been having dominating outings all year so far on defense and has committed to Colorado.

Last season that saw Aquinas lose a 33-32 heartbreaker to Long Beach St. Anthony in the CIFSS Division 10 championship, Gustav had 78 tackles, four sacks and an interception on defense and 50 receptions for 978 yards and 15 TDs on offense.

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

Da’Jon Thomas
(Lincoln, San Diego) Sr.

The final score was a bit of an ouch in a 66-0 whitewash of National City Sweetwater but it’s in those type of games that big numbers are put up and long returns usually happen.

Thomas only touched the ball four times but each resulted in a score. His one kickoff return to open the game resulted in an 85-yard touchdown. Thomas then returned both punts he fielded 63 yards and 55 yards for scores to finish with 203 yards in kicking returns.

Hornets head coach David Dunn only gave him one carry at running back, but you guessed it, Thomas took it 23 yards to the house.

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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