NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week are junior WR/KR/PR Elijhah Badger of Folsom (left) and senior LB Josh McCurty from Eastlake of Chula Vista. Photos: Willie Eashman & San Diego Prep Insider /

It just worked out this week that three of our six honorees are from State Top 50 teams Folsom, Eastlake of Chula Vista and St. Francis of Mountain View. Seven also was a magic number for Sacramento’s Javon Felton (he scored seven times) and North Hollywood Campbell Hall’s Johnny Hawkins (threw seven TD passes). Multi-talented Silverado of Victorville standout Devin Gandy rounds out the lineup.

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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
Defensive Player of the Week

Matt Craig
(St. Francis, Mountain View) Sr.

After our Northern California Defensive Player of the week snagged three interceptions in a 38-0 rout of Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco he joins another Matt in setting a Lancers’ milestone.

The three interceptions by the senior defensive back, along with four passes batted down, ties a Lancers’ school record set by St. Francis defensive coordinator Matt Scharrenberg who reportedly had three picks in a game back in 1995.

A player like Craig is sometimes what this feature is all about. Besides giving us an ability to keep track of performances worthy of an entry in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book, it gives us the ability to honor someone like Matt who put up his first reported stats this season in his record-tying performance.

Javon Felton scored seven touchdowns for Sac High in super-crazy win last Friday vs. Rio Americano. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Javon Felton
(Sacramento) Jr.

It’s been a bit of a rough year for Dragons’ fans but last Friday night they got a performance from Javon that was not only “right on” but it played a huge role in lighting up the scoreboard in a 75-36 victory over Rio Americano (Sacramento) that got Sac High to 3-1 in the Capital Athletic League.

Of the 435 total yards of total offense Felton rung up on the Raiders, 282 of the yards came from his running back position with six touchdowns, including a 68-yard run.

Felton didn’t find pay dirt on his one reception but it went for 50 yards and set up a score. He did score a seventh TD on an 80-yard kickoff return and he completed the 435 yards with a 23-yard kickoff return.

So far the season, Jovan leads Sacramento in rushing with 712 yards and 10 touchdowns. He rotates at defensive back on the other side of the ball and has an interception, plus he had 10 tackles in a loss to highly-regarded Inderkum of Sacramento.

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

Elijhah Badger
(Folsom) Sr.

There are some who would point out that we’ve already visited the state No. 7 Bulldogs when we honored quarterback Kaiden Bennett as the NorCal offensive honoree earlier this season, but with the explosiveness in several aspects of the Bulldogs composition in almost every aspect of the game, the performance of Badger last week was just too much to overlook. Plus, it’s harder to find quality performances in the special teams category.

The result is after scoring four times in the five times he touched the football in a 63-7 shellacking of Granite Bay, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior wide receiver and defensive back who also returns punts is being honored as the Northern California Special Teams Player of the Week.

The visiting Grizzlies punted in Badger’s direction twice and on each occasion he returned it to the house with touchdowns of 90 and 76 yards.

On offense he only caught three passes for 64 yards but scored twice.

As a punt returner, Elijhah has taken 11 punts this season and returned them 304 yards for a very impressive 27.6 yards per punt average.

Badger has a team-leading 14 TDs this season but besides the two punt returns against Granite Bay the other 12 scores have come as a wide receiver where he is tied for the team lead in TD receptions and is second overall with 27 catches for 588 yards.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Johnny Hawkins
(Campbell Hall, North Hollywood) Sr.

The destination is the San Fernando Valley for our SoCal offensive award winner. There we honor a senior quarterback who found his way to the reported varsity roster but never took a snap as a junior on a 7-3 team last year. However, after taking over as signal-caller this season, Johnny has been on the spot with some very impressive numbers that have been a big factor in getting the Vikings off to an 8-1 start.

Last week, in a 69-39 blasting of Calabasas Viewpoint, Hawkins drilled the visiting Patriots for seven touchdown passes and he was 31 of 43 for a season-high 383 yards to go with his most TDs this year.

So far this season Hawkins has completed 150 of 238 passes for 2,077 yards and 29 TDs with only five interceptions for a solid 121.8 quarterback rating. He’s also rushed for 241 yards and two more scores.

In the Johnny finds Johnny passing game show at Campbell Hall, we’re sure Johnny would like to give a shout out to another Johnny, wide receiver teammate Johnny Garnett. He caught four of the seven TD passes against Viewpoint, a number that could have qualified him for the award.

Devin Gandy of Silverado returns kicks and he’s been known to kick it himself as a special teams player. Photo:

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

Devin Gandy
(Silverado, Victorville) Jr.

As we move around Southern California we go to the high desert for our special teams award winner where we honor a unique young man who punts and returns punts, plus more.

Never was it more apparent than in last week’s 43-0 trouncing cross-town arch rival Victor Valley.

It’s been a so-so 4-5 season for the Hawks but last week’s win got them to 3-0 in the Desert Sky League, and the 57-yard punt return for a touchdown by Gandy was a highlight of the game. Punting-wise he only had to attempt three, but got one inside the 20 and averaged 36.0 yards a punt.

We told you he was multi-faceted and on offense Gandy was dandy as well. The junior wide receiver caught five of the eight passes completed by quarterback Anthony Jackson for 111 yards and two touchdowns.

He’s punting for a 34.2 yard average this season with eight inside the 20, and besides his one punt return TD, Devin also returns kickoffs and has two TDs there, including a 99-yarder.

There’s more. He has a 2-point conversion both rushing and receiving, and occasionally when they put him in on defense, Gandy has been handy there as well with an interception and a fumble recovery.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Josh McCurty
(Eastlake, Chula Vista) Sr.

We head to the southeastern portion of the metropolitan San Diego area about 10 miles east of San Diego Bay and 10 miles north of the US/Mexico border to Chula Vista, where the most beautiful view, or “chula vista” in Spanish, is in on the Titans side of the field in the stands, and of McCurty putting the hurt on the opposing offense.

In order to win games you have to score, but it’s just as important to stop the other team from scoring and when they see the 6-foot-1, 230-pound middle linebacker coming they feel like “oh my gosh it’s Josh.”

Last week, in a 49-7 humbling of cross-town arch rival Bonita Vista, McCurty led state ranked No. 39 Eastlake with 14 tackles and two sacks.

This was the week we were able to honor McCurty, but this performance wasn’t close to his best. Two weeks ago in a 56-21 victory against cross-town Mater Dei Catholic he had 18 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and two pass deflections.

McCurty has gone over the 20 tackles mark twice, including 24 in a 46-31 victory over El Camino of Oceanside. With those kind of numbers Josh is the leading reported tackler in the CIF San Diego Section and he’s fifth in the state.

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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  1. Nereyda McCurty
    Posted February 22, 2019 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Such a high caliber Athlete Josh Mcurty. Still no college offers, so sad and disappointing. Although he has proven himself in so many ways in showing the world that defensive player that he is. Josh has been given a gift of great strength power and endurance and has earned the prestigious Defensive player of the year by KUSI PPR, Best Captain, and MVP for CIF, Spanos bowl and Eastlake high. Exerting all this energy out for our entertainment and still no offer? Is there some thing we need to do as parents so colleges can notice him?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted February 22, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      At this point for the fall, it’s probably more about getting him to a college to walk on or going the JC route. Just don’t give up. A lot of guys have been in the same situation as Josh and then a few years later they’re the ones in the NFL while some of the guys who did sign with colleges out of high school are not.

  2. Nereyda McCurty
    Posted May 10, 2019 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Josh did receive walk on offers to D1 Colleges but not a full ride. He is disappointed on this outcome but will not give up. Josh is uniquely determine to prove he is the best, and knowing that things happen for a reason! He has decided to continue his education and football at Southwestern College. #runtrainschooltrainsleep! #WATCHOUT!
    Thank you for replying.

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