NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week are running back/kick returner Christian Grubb from Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks and running back D’Marcus Ross from Capital Christian (Sacramento). Photos: Willie Eashman & David Gershon / SportStars.

Three of the players being honored this week are from teams that just completed the regular season with undefeated records. We also have one who did a great deal to prevent another team from doing the same. It’s a group representing Sacramento, Eureka, Clovis, Simi Valley, Westlake Village and Sherman Oaks.

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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

D’Marcus Ross
(Capital Christian, Sacramento) Sr.

A big part of the reason Capital Christian is the top seed in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, and in the opinion of 30-plus year Sacramento Bee sports scribe Joe Davidson this year’s Cougars team is the best in the history of the 41-year old school, is this 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior running back.

“D’Marcus Ross is a terrific player, a bulldozer runner with speed who cares about what he does,” said Davidson. “He’s proud that he’s become a student to match his football abilities, and coaches rave about his leadership. An absolute beast.”

“This is clearly the best team in school history,” continued Davidson. “Capital “Christian had some terrific Division 5 teams that won Sac-Joaquin Section championships, but nothing compared to the talent, skill and schedule of this D-3 team now.”

As was previously mentioned, Ross is huge in the talent and skill part of Davidson’s remarks, and in fact we could have picked him as the NorCal offensive honoree in the first week when he rushed for 320 yards and three TDs in a win over Cosumnes Oaks (Elk Grove), but he was edged out by Campolindo (Moraga) quarterback Grant Harper.

Last week, Ross, who has nine mid-major offers with the warmest interest from Utah State, outdid his performance from week one. Not only did Ross show who was boss by rushing for 345 yards on 21 carries (16.6 yards per carry) with two touchdowns in a 40-14 victory over Vista del Lago of Folsom, he caught one pass and took it 75 yards to the house for a third score.

So far this season for the 10-0 Cougars, who are in the second season under successful veteran head coach Casey Taylor, Ross has rushed for 1,650 yards and 17 touchdowns, and he has 16 pass receptions for 374 yards and six more scores. Ross didn’t show any reported defensive stats for last week’s game, but on the season he has 39 tackles with six for loss and 2.5 sacks as a linebacker.

Capital Christian has a bye this week but next week Ross will almost assuredly go over the 5,000 yard career rushing mark which will get him a spot in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book on the Most Rushing Yards (Career) list. Ross currently sits at 4,937 yards and 73 touchdowns. He also has 890 yards receiving and 12 more touchdowns.

Buchanan’s Brock Jones in one of the most impressive two-sport athletes in California. He also plays baseball. Photo:

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

Brock Jones
(Buchanan, Clovis) Sr.

We remind readers that for this feature the CIF Central Section is considered Northern California, and so Fresno is where we land for our NorCal Special Teams honoree and two-sport star that is even better at his other sport.

Not only that, but Brock is solid as a rock as not only a kick returner for which he wins the award, but as a wide receiver and strong safety where he has excelled all season.

Last week, in a 49-21 victory over Fresno Clovis North that secured the No. 2 seed in the Central Section Division I playoffs, Jones showed why he is one of the top kick returners in the section when the 6-foot, 175-pound senior took a kickoff 95 yards to the house for a touchdown.

As for his other sport, it’s baseball, and Brock has a hot bat and glove that not only landed the Bears outfielder on the All-State Underclass team selection last season, but a scholarship to Stanford.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Tyce Mullins
(Eureka) Sr.

We go to the far northern reaches of the North Coast Section and to a portion of the Redwood Empire the locals like to say is “behind the Redwood curtain” since they don’t get a lot of publicity from the Bay Area metro areas of the NCS.

For our NorCal defensive honoree we end up in Eureka, which means “joyfully finding something” and what we found is an award winner that has been putting up some solid numbers all season.

Last week, in a 42-13 over neighboring Humboldt-Del Norte Big 4 League rival Fortuna, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Loggers’ middle linebacker was all over the place. He’s being honored for his 14 tackles with two for loss, a sack, and an interception he returned 34 yards. On the season, Tyce hasn’t been very nice to opposing offenses as he leads the team in tackles by far with 106, and his 21 for loss also leads the team handily. Mullins also has three sacks, two interceptions and forced a fumble.

Mullins is also one of the leading targets for quarterback Cruz Montana, and in fact caught his sixth touchdown pass of the season, a 56-yarder on his one reception in the game. He also had a 3-yard pass completion in the game, and to close it out he punted once in the game as well, his 10th punt of the season.

We’re sure Mullins would want to give a shout out to Montana. Besides Mullins and others, Montana is another big reason Eureka is 10-0 and the No. 2 seed in the NCS D2 playoffs. Last week, Montana had a season-high 331 yards with three TDs, the longest of which went to Mullins.

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

Christian Grubb
(Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks) Sr.

Last week’s SoCal Special Teams honoree was from the Inland Empire and Notre Dame of Riverside, and while we go with another Our Lady, this week’s winner is from the San Fernando Valley and Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.

This past week, in a 52-24 win versus Chaminade of West Hills, the sprinter with 10.8 speed in the 100 blew past everyone for a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that earns him the award.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior with mid-major offers from Army, Cal Poly, Drake, and Sacramento State, who is also the Knights’ leading running back, added 109 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns. Grubb also had a 35-yard pass reception.

The kickoff return for a touchdown was his second of the season with the other an 88-yarder against Moorpark in one of Notre Dame’s three losses.

Two weeks ago, in a 54-21 victory over Alemany of Mission Hills, Grubb left no grub on the dining room table for anyone else after he rushed for 172 yards and five TDs, and added a 33-yard TD reception for a sixth score.

So far this season he has 864 yards and 13 TDs rushing. While he only has seven receptions, at 31.1 yards a clip, they have gone for 218 yards and four scores.

Lontrelle Diggs of Grace Brethren is one of those running backs who is very tough to bring down. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Lontrelle Diggs
(Grace Brethren, Simi Valley) Sr.

We go to southeastern corner of Ventura County for our SoCal Offensive honoree.

To say Lontrelle is pretty swell as far as the Lancers’ faithful are concerned, or that Diggs is a big part of the offense of last year’s CIF Southern Section Division 8 and CIF Southern Regional 2-A Bowl game champions would be understatements.

Diggs, a 5-foot-8, 225-pound fireplug of a running back, has a third of the Lancers’ total yards with his rushing and over half of his team’s overall touchdowns.

Last week, in a 42-21 victory over previously unbeaten Camarillo, Diggs dug in and the result is he rushed for a season and career high 377 yards and four touchdowns in a win that secured Grace Brethren a matchup with St. Bonaventure (Ventura) in the Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.

So far this season, Lontrelle will go into the playoffs with 1,681 yards and 24 touchdowns rushing. Diggs also has a chance this year or next to reach the magical 5,000 yard career mark that gets him a spot on the Most Yards Rushing (Career) list in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book. Heading into this week, he has 4,623 yards rushing with 68 TDs.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Jack Lenthall
(Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) Sr.

Next, we head to the very northwestern border of Los Angeles County where it meets Ventura County. There we honor a 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior defensive end who came up huge on defense in a game that preserved the Lions’ perfect 10-0 season.

In a game that featured eight turnovers and nine sacks, Jack had his teammates’ backs when he contributed in both turnovers and sacks.

The biggest play Lenthall made came with just over two minutes to play and Oaks Christian tied 7-7 with arch-rival Westlake (Westlake Village) when he picked off a pass and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown that gave Oaks Christian a 13-7 victory in a game it trailed 7-0 after three quarters. The win propelled the Lions into the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs where the state No. 6 ranked team is the No. 5 seed.

Besides the pick six, Lenthall forced two fumbles and recovered one, and of his five tackles one was a sack, and he also had two hurries.

So far this season, Lenthall has 30 tackles with an amazing 14 of them for loss, including seven sacks. He also has forced four fumbles and recovered three, and has the one interception.

We don’t want to leave out Jack’s twin brother, Nate Lenthall. At 5-foot-10, he doesn’t quite have Jack’s size, but as a defensive back Nate has three interceptions including one he returned 34 yards for a touchdown in a big win over Alemany of Mission Hills.

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. 1tunz1
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Eureka is actually the #2 seed in NCS D3, not D2.

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