SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of our choices for this week are J.T. Campbell from St. Bernard’s of Eureka and Tiquan Gilmore from Torres of L.A. Photos: Sharon Falk-Carlsen/ & Courtesy school.

Three of our six honorees this week did it with state record book performances, such as T.J. Campbell of Eureka St. Bernard’s with eight TD passes, Tiquan Gilmore of Los Angeles Torres with nine TDs scored and Manuel Allen-Hooks of Moreno Valley Rancho Verde with three punt return TDs. Our other three picks went to players from Roseville, San Jose and Covina.

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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

Tiquan Gilmore
(Torres, Los Angeles) Sr.

When noted Los Angeles prep scribe Eric Sondheimer inquired about rushing TD records and reported Gilmore’s numbers his selection as the Southern California offensive honoree was a no brainer.

Last week, in a 64-33 victory over crosstown Franklin, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior with 4.45 40-yard speed and who according to a story by Sondheimer takes two buses and two trains from his home in South Los Angeles, a 45-minute trip, to reach Torres and attend the school’s Performing Arts Magnet to study dancing and acting, had a career performance in a Toros’ career of big numbers.

Gilmore danced 15 times for 451 yards and eight touchdowns in that game, and he took a kickoff return 82 yards for a ninth TD, and that’s the most touchdowns in CIF Los Angeles City Section history. Gilmore also ran in a two-point conversion and even had eight tackles on defense.

The previous record for TDs in a game in the L.A. City Section was eight, first set in 1998 by Corey Neal of Sylmar and then tied in 2003 by Marlon Lucky of North Hollywood. The state record of 11 was set in 1929 by Frank Greene of Coronado and we’ll say this again: no one should ever break that record because Frank later became a police officer who was killed in the line of duty.

Earlier this season in a 48-16 win over Verdugo Hills of Tujunga, he scored seven TDs after rushing for four and scoring on a punt return, kickoff return and an interception.

So far this season Gilmore has rushed for 1,481 yards and 24 TDs with 28 total touchdowns. He also has four 2-point conversions for 176 total points and that’s the second highest reported total in the state. Last season he led the L.A. City Section in rushing with 3,266 yards and 33 TDs.

Thompson had three interceptions with one returned for a TD in latest game. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Damian Thompson
(Northview, Covina) Soph.

The Vikings sailed to their second straight shutout in their Valle Vista League opening 56-0 victory over host Baldwin Park, and Thompson was all over the field while scoring both on defense and offense.

The 5-foot-11, 155-pound sophomore had three interceptions with 121 yards of return yardage and with one of the picks going for a touchdown. He only caught one pass in the game but it went for a 32-yard TD.

On the season, Thompson now has six interceptions with three going for TDs and has also caught 14 passes for 249 yards and three scores.

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

Manual Allen-Hooks
(Rancho Verde, Moreno Verde) Sr.

The 6-foot-3, 179-pound senior has been a bit traveled in his high school career. He started out at Rancho Verde his freshman and sophomore years and then transferred to Corona Centennial for his junior year. He was supposed to be at Corona this year but is now back at Rancho Verde.

Allen-Hooks has only played two games but last week in a 75-0 blowout of crosstown Canyon Springs he etched his name in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book on the list for most punt returns for TDs after tying the record with three. It’s the fourth time it’s been done. It was done just last year by Quincy Culpepper from Fremont of Oakland. The other two have been Ray Fullerton from Trinity of Weaverville (1966) and Cole Stanford from Nevada Union of Grass Valley (2008). Allen-Hooks also caught two passes in the game for 63 yards.

Last season as one of the primary receivers at Centennial, Allen-Hooks was second on the team with 44 pass receptions and third with 588 yards and four TDs.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

T.J. Campbell
(St. Bernard’s, Eureka) Sr.

Campbell caught our eye at the Pittsburg 7-on-7 in July when the 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback looked sharp in action against some of the Bay Area’s top larger schools, so despite biding his time behind former Crusaders’ QB and current Sacramento State freshman Jack Rice he was on the radar screen to start the season.

Longtime Eureka area sports personality Tag Wotherspoon made us aware of his feats from last week but it was too late so after Campbell followed it up this week with a similar performance we decided to honor him since both outings qualify for a place in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book.

Last week, in a 62-23 victory over rival Ferndale, Campbell passed for 442 yards and eight touchdowns. The eight TDs tie him for third place on the Most Touchdown Passes (Game) list with 25-plus others.

Two weeks ago, in a 68-14 win against Hoopa Valley of Hoopa, Campbell passed for 403 yards and seven TDs, but all seven were in the first half. That ties him for third on the Most Touchdown Passes (Half) with last week’s Southern California Offensive Player of the Week Levi Taylor of Victorville Silverado and seven other players, including 2014 Mr. Football State Player of the Year and current Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Browning when he was at Folsom.

Despite only playing six games for the 6-0 Crusaders with many other quarterbacks in the state having seven games under their belts, Campbell’s 2,227 yards is the most reported passing yardage in the state. He also has 28 TD passes and that’s tied for third.

“T.J. is the best QB nobody knew about coming into his senior year,” said St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin about the 3.9 GPA student athlete. “I knew he was a D1 QB as a sophomore and junior on varsity but he he had to back up another D1 QB. I think Campbell gained a lot of confidence in the Pittsburg 7-on-7. ”

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Seth Miller
(Oakmont, Roseville) Jr.

This 6-foot, 160-pound free safety was more like a one-man defensive wrecking crew in the Vikings’ 57-0 shellacking of Fair Oaks Bella Vista, and thus not only is he one of five players nominated for the Sacramento Bee’s Prep Football Player of the Week but he garners our Northern California award as the Defensive Player of the Week.

Miller had three interceptions in the game and returned one 28 yards for a TD. He had a 39-yard interception for a score called back for a block in the back and he returned his third interception 25 yards. He had a second defensive TD when he recovered an errant snap on a punt and took it to the house. Miller added seven tackles.

The week before, in a 14-10 loss to unbeaten Antelope, Miller scored the Vikings’ only TD on a 79-yard interception return and had 16 tackles to boot.

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

Dominic Cea
(Harker Academy, San Jose) Jr.

For special teams we go to a 7-0 Harker team that very well may be slugging it out with the St. Bernard’s team of our offensive winner this week for the CIF North Coast Section Division IV title. A twist to it is the schools are 325 miles apart, and other than the three schools north of Eureka it’s the farthest apart for any schools from the same section in the state.

Speaking of far apart, the uprights in high school are farther apart than college or the pros, and according to reported stats Cea has split them for more points than anyone in the state so far this season.

Last week in a 38-0 blanking of Tamalpais (Mill Valley), the Eagles’ 5-foot-11, 205-pound kicker, offensive lineman and linebacker was 5-for-5 on PATs and also booted a 34-yard field goal. This season he’s scored 53 kicking points on 35 of 36 PAT attempts and 6-for-6 on field goals. He also has a pass interception and a blocked punt this season.

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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