SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week are RB Sean McDonald of Ramona and QB Alec Trujillo from Fresno San Joaquin Memorial. Photos: @SDFNLMagazine &

Coming off of a three-week absence due to injury may not have ever been done better than what Sean McDonald of Ramona High did last Friday. Plus, we’re honoring one of three CIF Central Section QBs who should surpass 10,000 career yards on the same night this week. This week’s group in all also comes from Los Alamitos, Riverside, Brentwood and Newman.

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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

Sean McDonald
(Ramona) Jr.

We go inland in the CIF San Diego Section and to the foothills around 15 miles east of Escondido on Highway 78 for our SoCal offensive honoree.

It was a battle of running backs but not many folks thought the 5-foot-10, 195-pound McDonald would dominate one of our 2017 SoCal offensive award winners, but that’s just what happened in his matchup with Dorian Richardson of Rancho Buena Vista of Vista last week.

Both players put up astronomical numbers but it was McDonald that got the Bulldogs over the hump after rushing for a school record 398 yards on 28 carries with four touchdowns in a 44-41 home victory that gets Ramona to 6-2 and 3-0 in the Valley League. What makes the performance even more impressive is McDonald was coming off missing three games with an injury but even so he is still now over the 1,000 yard rushing mark this season.

Richardson didn’t do too badly with a second-best performance this season of 297 yards rushing and four TDs, but last Friday night belonged to McDonald and the Bulldogs.

McDonald was pressed for the award by another player from the San Diego Section. Mac Bingham of Torrey Pines of San Diego, the top team in the section and No. 12 in the state, rushed for a reported section record eight touchdowns and a record 50 points in a game in a 71-41 victory over Oceanside. We had Mac’s photo leading off the State Top 50 rankings this week, however, and he’s been all-state underclass in baseball.

Ashton Authement has been an electrifying performer in more than one Notre Dame of Riverside game this season. Photo:

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

Ashton Authement
(Notre Dame, Riverside) Sr.

The Inland Empire is the destination for our SoCal special teams award winner where we honor a pretty prolific kick returner.

Last week, in a scoreboard lighter-upper 70-56 win over host Elsinore of Lake Elsinore, not only was Ashton prolific but Authement has become authentic, because we’re honoring him for special teams. The 6-foot-4, 180-pounder is certainly the real deal in more than one aspect of the game.

The special teams honor comes from the fact Ashton had a kick return of 90 yards for a touchdown, the third time this season he’s taken a kickoff to the house.

The Titans’ leading wide receiver also had two touchdown receptions against Elsinore and now has 33 catches for 613 yards and 11 TDs this season.

Ashton also punts and returns punts for Notre Dame. As a punter he’s averaging 38.8 yards per punt. Returning punts Authement, has one touchdown, and on the one time he has rushed this season, he ran it in from seven yards out, plus he has a two-point conversion receiving, meaning he’s scored four different ways this season.

But wait a minute, there’s more. Authement wasn’t a star but he was a bench player on a Notre Dame basketball team that won a CIF Southern Section Division 3-A title and a CIF Southern Regional Division III championship. He also plays baseball but didn’t see much action last season.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Dallas Burke
(Los Alamitos) Sr.

We visit Orange County once again and this week it’s for our Southern California Defensive Player of the Week, and this Dallas is starring at Los Al and not in Texas.

Burke, a free safety and two-sport star who also excels in baseball, got the Griffins all the points they would need, and he did it all on defense in a 47-0 victory last week over Huntington Beach. At the same time, he helped them maintain a pretty notable streak.

On each of the first two Huntington Beach drives Burke picked off a pass and both times he returned the interception for a touchdown.

With his first interception the points that went up on the scoreboard, Los Alamitos avoided being shut out for the 402nd consecutive game, an ongoing national record. The last time the state No. 38 Griffins were shut out was in 1987.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Alec Trujillo
(San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno) Sr.

We had two excellent nominations for our NorCal offensive award with one coming from the CIF Central Section and the other 500 miles to the northwest in the Redwood Empire.

We remind readers that for purposes of this feature the Central Section is considered Northern California and the other is that another reason we give out these weekly awards is it enables us to keep track of new entries into the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book.

For that reason our NorCal honoree is Trujillo, a San Jose State-bound senior quarterback who not only is a big reason his team is 9-0 and on the bubble of the State TOp 50 rankings, but Alec has already etched his name in the Record Book in week four this season and on two other lists since the beginning of this season.

Last week, in a 55-13 thrashing of Madera, Alec was a pinpoint 21 of 24 for a season-high 415 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 42 yards and a sixth score.

With the passing yardage against Madera the 6-foot, 170-pound Trujillo has now passed for 9,990 yards in his career.

Alec started his career at Exeter, a town near Visalia about 60 miles southeast of Fresno. As a freshman, he passed for 1,949 yards in leading the team to an 8-4 mark. He transferred to San Joaquin Memorial for his sophomore season and passed for 1,727 yards and 10 touchdowns and the Panthers finished with a 7-6 record. Last season Trujillo led the Panthers to a Central Section Division III title before they bowed out to Southwest (El Centro), 31-28, in the CIS Southern Regional Division 4-A bowl game. Along the way, Alec had one heck of a season after passing for 3,755 yards and 40 touchdowns.

Add it all up and with his 2,559 yards and 31 TDs this season and you will come up with Trujillo needing 10 yards passing this week against Sanger to reach the 10,000 yard passing mark. When he passed for 404 yards against Bakersfield Garces Memorial he qualified for a spot on the Most Yards (Career) in the Record Book, however when he reaches 10,000 yards he will join an elite group of only 14 to 16 previous players to achieve that milestone, with current Washington Heisman Trophy candidate Jake Browning at the top of the list when he quarterbacked Folsom. Amazingly, two other CIF Central Section quarterbacks who also are on track to reach 10,000 career yards this week (and on the same night) are Fresno Central’s Trent Tompkins and Tulare Union’s Nathan Lamb.

As for the other two spots in the state record book, one of the others came when Trujillo was 15 of 15 against Madera South of Madera to make the Best Perfect Passing Performances (Game) list. The third spot is for Most Touchdown Passes (Career) list when he threw career TD pass No. 86. Alec now has 97 career TD, which means with three more he joins an elite group with 100 career touchdown passes.

Because of all the feats of Trujillo, that was enough to beat out the seven TDs passing and one TD rushing of Will Omey from St. Bernard’s of Eureka. Will is a junior and we’ll try to take care of him and his story during a later week.

Sione Vaki was the center of attention after Liberty of Brentwood topped Pittsburg in showdown game last Friday. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Sione Vaki
(Liberty, Brentwood) Sr.

Legendary San Francisco Chronicle columnist and MaxPreps national writer Mitch Stephens was comparing what Sione did for Liberty in its 24-21 victory last Friday at Pittsburg as one of the greatest two-way outings in Bay Area history. We were there and it was indeed great and for this week we’re writing him up as the NorCal defensive winner of the week.

On the defensive side of the ball, Vaki made his biggest impact toward the end of the game as Pitt was attempting to come back in a matchup of the state’s No. 11 (Liberty) and No. 17 (Pitt) ranked teams coming in. First, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior came up with a forced fumble at the 1-yard line to prevent a possible go-ahead score. It was one of eight tackles he had in the game. Then in the final three minutes, Vaki came up with not one but two interceptions. The first one was on a one-on-one play in which Vaki might have gotten beat if he hadn’t turned his head at the correct moment to make a play on the ball. The second one was in desperation mode for the Pirates.

Vaki has been one of the top two-way players in California all season, along with Concord De La Salle linebacker-running back Henry To’oto’o, and if you count Oaks Christian’s Kayvon Thibodeaux’s contributions for his team at tight end. On offense against the Pirates, Sione came through by catching a pair of touchdown passes from junior QB Jay Butterfield and ended with 10 catches for 158 yards.

For the season, Vaki has 34 tackles with four interceptions, two caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also has 47 catches for 1,081 yards and 17 TDs plus a 94-yard kickoff return for a score.

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

Ulysses Madrigal
(Orestimba, Newman) Sr.

For our special teams honoree we go to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and a small rural town on Highway 33 just east of Interstate 5 and about 35 miles west of Merced. There we honor a kicker who has a foot some opponents might think is as strong as the ancient hero Ulysses he shares a name with.

When we honor a kicker, it’s usually for going perfect or booming a long field and while Madrigal was not off the map with his performance last week in a 38-7 win over nearby Delhi, it was very solid and after looking for a better performance we couldn’t find one.

Madrigal was five for five on PATs in the Delhi victory and he only attempted one field goal. That was from 47 yards out, though, and he split the uprights.

Ulysses also is now five for five on field goal attempts this season and although he’s missed four extra points and is 41 of 45, two weeks ago he was six of six on PATs in a win over Waterford so he now has a streak of 11 straight extra points.

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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