NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week are Carl Richardson (left) of Salinas and Garth White from state No. 6 Oaks Christian. Photos: &

It may be from an 8-person contest, but what running back Yaiden Ochoa and his teammates from Hillcrest Christian of Thousand Oaks did to honor the 12 victims of last week’s awful Borderline Bar shooting in their hometown was too much not to give a huge tip of the hat. It’s not often someone rushes for 404 yards and six TDs in any playoff game, either, no matter what level of the game it’s done. This week’s other honorees are from Salinas, Sutter, Napa, San Diego and Westlake Village.

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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

Carl Richardson
(Salinas) Jr.

Not a lot of games were completed last week in the Central Coast Section due to the fires in Butte County causing poor air quality in the Bay Area, and in fact the No. 4 seed Salinas hosting No. 5 San Benito was the only game completed in the CCS Open 1 bracket.

Nevertheless, Richardson, the little brother of current Stanford junior quarterback Jack Richardson, made the most of it and in doing so earned the Northern California Offensive Player of the Week award.

There was a little snarl in Carl’s game because his outstanding performance in the Cowboys’ convincing 38-14 win over San Benito avenged a 35-28 loss to the Balers three weeks ago that was their only Pacific Coast League – Gabilan loss of the season.

All the 6-foot-4, 192-pound junior did was complete 27 of 32 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown, plus he ran for an additional 78 yards.

With his effort against San Benito, Richardson goes over 3,000 yards passing for the season and going into a semifinal against an opponent to be determined but likely top-seeded and state-ranked Wilcox, Richardson has passed for 3,227 yards and 21 TDs, plus he also has 587 yards rushing.

Travis Tedder is latest hard-charging defensive end standout from Sutter. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Travis Tedder
(Sutter) Sr.

We go north for our NorCal defensive award winner and to a town that is named for and shadowed by the magnificent Sutter Buttes that majestically rise up in the middle of the upper Sacramento Valley.

In Sutter we find Tedder to honor, the kind of defensive end head coach Ryan Reynolds seems to find almost every year despite Sutter being a small town.

Last week, in a 48-12 CIF Northern Section Division 3 opening round win over Oroville, Tedder, a 5-foot-11, 200-pounder, was the leader of a defense that came up big for the second-seeded Huskies.

Travis wasn’t the only one at his best but his 12 tackles with three for loss, plus 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble gets him the nod.

Tedder would want us to mention his three teammates that were also in double-digits for tackles, sophomore Kyle Watson (15), senior Jeff Fitzgerald (12) and junior Mario Ayotte who had 10 tackles and two sacks.

Tedder isn’t the leading tackler on the Huskies as that honor goes to Fitzgerald, but Travis has 83 tackles and his 18 for loss by far leads the team as does his 12.5 sacks.

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

Eddy Gonzalez
(Vintage, Napa) Sr.

Like our SoCal special teams honoree, we choose a kicker that although only 5-foot-4 and 140 pounds came up huge in one of the biggest upsets in the state last week by the eighth-seeded Crushers over top-seeded Antioch in the CIF North Coast Section Division I quarterfinals.

When the Antioch kicker missed a field goal to conclude the hosts’ second possession in overtime, it meant Vintage only needed three points to win.

At that point, Crushers head coach Dylan Leach called his number and Eddy was ready. According to Prep2Prep correspondent Kyle Foster, the Vintage kicker “squeaked” one over the crossbar from 35 yards out to give the Crushers a 24-21 double overtime victory.

Gonzalez, who also kicks off and punts, has been pretty consistent this season on PATs after making 42 of 45, but the pressure was really on last week as Leach has only gone to him three times and he’s made two with a season-best 40-yarder against Petaluma.

“I was nervous, but I said ‘we’re not going to go home and it’s going to go in and we’re going to go celebrate tonight,’” Gonzalez told Foster.

Helmets worn by Hillcrest Christian of Thousand Oaks players last Saturday in CIFSS playoff game honored the victims of the Borderline Bar shooting. Photo: @CoachDearborn /

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Yaiden Ochoa
(Hillcrest Christian, Thousand Oaks) Soph.

We rarely pick a player from an 8-person team but after what the folks in Thousand Oaks have been through recently we went outside the box to honor Yaiden for a yeoman’s performance that earns him the Southern California offensive player award.

Last week, in a 68-32 CIF Southern Section 8-person Division 2 opening round victory over Lancaster Baptist of Lancaster, Yaiden ran away with the show after rushing for 404 yards and six touchdowns on 21 carries.

What makes this story and honor even more compelling is Ochoa, although only a sophomore and just 5-foot-6, 120 pounds, has the heart of a lion after performing his feat to honor childhood friend Blake Dingman, 21, who was killed in the Borderline Bar shooting last week in Thousand Oaks along with 11 others (including one heroic Sheriff’s Deputy).

“Blake’s spirit was definitely inside of him,” Hillcrest Christian head coach Christian Dearborn said in a tweet.

Dingman also was a graduate of the small, private school, which in addition to Ochoa rushing for more than 400 yards also inspired the team to wear helmets with the number “12” on them (referring to the victims).

With the win, which is the first quarterfinal round playoff win in school history, Hillcrest Christian advanced to this week’s semifinals against Hesperia Christian.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Patrick White
(Lincoln, San Diego) Jr.

Lincoln has always had a reputation for producing great running backs like NFL Hall of Famers Marcus Allen and Terrell Davis, but White does his work on the other side of the line of scrimmage and that’s why this week he’s garnering the Southern California defensive honor.

Last week, in a 35-21 CIF San Diego Section Division II victory over crosstown Point Loma, the Hornets’ 6-foot-2, 170-pound defensive back who also plays a little wide receiver, had two interceptions and fumble recovery to lead the Lincoln defense.

With the two interceptions, Patrick now has four picks this season.

Lincoln is facing top-seed Granite Hills (El Cajon) in this week’s semifinals.

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

Garth White
(Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) Sr.

For our Southern California special teams honoree, we visit the state No. 6 and undefeated 12-0 Lions to honor a young man who becomes the second player from Southern California with White as his last name to be an award winner this week.

One week after he made three of four field goals in a win that knocked Chaminade of West Hills out of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs in a 22-7 win by Oaks Christian, White came up big once again.

Country Western singer Garth Brooks wasn’t in town last week but Garth White was, and after what the 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior kicker did he had the Oaks Christian faithful singing his praises.

With 18 seconds left to play and the Lions trailing 34-32 at home to state-ranked JSerra of San Juan Capistrano in a CIFSS D1 quarterfinal, White split the uprights from 27 yards out to propel Oaks Christian in pulling out a 35-34 victory.

The Lions’ stats aren’t fully updated but it appears on the season White is 45 of 45 on PATs and 6 of 10 on field goals. He also kicks off and punts and prior to last week he had 33 touchbacks on 48 kickoffs and was punting for a 37.6 yard average per punt.

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. Joseph Lucido
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Congrats to Yaiden Ochoa! That community has been through so much and for his team to honor them is beyond just football. It shows heart and compassion, something our country sorely needs right now.

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