SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Tyler Buchner from Bishop’s of La Jolla & Hudson Walker from Redwood of Visalia. Photos: IrishSportsDaily,com & Essence Fine Photography.

Two of this week’s honorees forced us to update our state record files as Tyler Buchner from Bishop’s of La Jolla passed and ran for 760 yards in one game and Matt Meredith from Miramonte of Orinda threw for nine touchdowns. All state record categories involving those two are updated to show where they rank in state history. We also have four more outstanding players featured for defense and special teams. The group also represents Pacific Palisades, San Diego, Visalia and Rio Linda.

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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

Tyler Buchner (Bishop’s, La Jolla) Jr.

If one didn’t know better, it sure looks like one week removed from quarterback E.J. Kreutzmann of La Jolla Country Day passing for 663 yards (the fourth highest on the all-time state list) that it was decided to see what Tyler could do for rival school Bishop’s in its 71-42 triumph vs. Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista.

There are too many variables for a team or player to decide on purpose to go out and set records. Besides, just for Tyler to be putting up big numbers at all after missing all of last season with a knee injury is great to see.

Buchner didn’t surpass Kreutzmann’s new San Diego Section record for single game passing yards against Mater Dei Catholic, but he did break one for total offense. Ranked as one of the state’s top junior QBs and with a commitment to Notre Dame, Buchner connected on 24 of 36 passes fo 465 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran wild on keepers with 20 carries for 295 yards and four TDs.

Bishop’s coaches reported those numbers to us and also had 760 total offense yards for Tyler. That does break the section total offense record of 659 set the week before by Kreutzmann (who had -4 yards rushing), but here’s the kicker. According to our own Cal-Hi Sports state records, Buchner fell just one yard short of the state record of 761 yards set in 2014 by Jorge Amaya from Hawkins of Los Angeles. Amaya passed for 739 yards in a game against Los Angeles West Adams and added 22 yards rushing.

The other notation with that state record category is that a total offense number for David Koral of Palisades (Pacific Palisades) has never come in for the game in the 2000 season in which he passed for a state record 764 yards. An estimated total of 750 is being listed in the book based on game reports and that Koral was not a running quarterback and usually had negative rushing yards.


Regardless of those details, it’s still been a great start of the season for Buchner.

“It’s been a long journey for him, and you can’t help but feel a little bit storybook about his return,” said Bishop’s offensive coordinator Danny Mitchell. “He has worked so hard to comeback and just get to play the game he loves, and he deserves all the success he’s having and is going to have in this game. I know he felt the emotion of having that success Saturday night, and he credited his entire team to that success. That just shows you how humble he is, and how much he understands how incredibly team oriented this game is. It’s really is a blessing to get to coach him, and the rest of this team.”

Bishop’s as a team also set a new San Diego Section record for total offense yards with 821. The state record in that category is 943 by Centennial of Corona vs. Upland in 2013.


Riley flies around the field sideline-to-sideline getting tackles for Palisades. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Syaire Riley
(Palisades, Pacific Palisades) Sr.

The Los Angeles City Section is our destination for this week’s defensive honoree where we find a middle linebacker who some are calling way underrated, the most intimidating linebacker in the Western League, and one of top linebackers in the section.

To say “Sy,” as he’s called, is shy about making tackles would be a huge understatement.

Last week, in a 34-8 victory over Granada Hills Charter, Riley was more than ready for the Highlanders’ offense after recording 17 tackles with 2.5 for loss. He also blocked a punt on special teams. On offense, and on the tight end’s only pass reception of the year for the 2-1 Dolphins, Sy got the try, as they call a score in rugby, when he went into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown.

The defensive stats for Riley weren’t even his best game this season. The Dolphins lost their season opener to Cleveland (Reseda) but Riley still had his way after recording 20 tackles with one for loss. Last year for a Palisades team that went 8-3 before bowing out early in the LA City Section Open Division playoffs, Riley had 110 tackles with 21.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception.

At 6-1, 225 pounds, Sy is a big young man, but he’s dwarfed by his older brother Syr Riley who starred at Palisades and then the 6-foot-4, 317-pounder moved on to Washington State where he was a redshirt freshman last season.

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

Keyshawn Smith
(Lincoln, San Diego) Sr.

In each of the first three weeks of the season we’ve had at least one honoree who was a Multi-Purpose performer that had to find one of the three categories we do select, and this week, while this Hornets’ 6-foot, 175-pound wide receiver, return specialist and all-around athlete, did a lot of buzzing, it’s in the nest as the Southern California Special Teams Player of the Week.

Last week, in a 35-24 victory over Eastlake of Chula Vista that gets Lincoln to 3-0 on the season, it was his overall performance and the special teams work of Smith in particular that was instrumental in the win.

The number 79 appears twice because not only did Keyshawn return a punt 79 yards for a touchdown but he took a kickoff the same distance to the house for paydirt, and ended up with four kickoff returns for 157 yards.

The Hornets’ leading wide receiver with seven solid D1 college offers as a wideout also had eight receptions against Eastlake for 106 yards and a third touchdown and 342 total yards in the game.

So far this season, Smith has 19 receptions for 288 yards and four touchdowns.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Matt Meredith
(Miramonte, Orinda) Jr.

We realize we’ve had a couple of players from the CIF North Coast Section in the first three weeks, but part of the reason we do this feature is to track potential additions to the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book, and for this one we have a doozy.

Meredith is only a junior and with his lanky frame will draw comparisons to former Miramonte great Ken Dorsey. Photo:

This nomination came from our friend Nate Smith, the AD at Heritage (Brentwood) and a senior editor at Prep2Prep, who when informed of the record Meredith set gave Cal-Hi Sports a credit some others do not, and we appreciate it.

Some players and coaches roll it up for records but after a look at the final score and according to Smith “Miramonte needed every ounce of his production.”

All Meredith did was throw for what is an NCS record nine touchdown passes in a 62-54 victory over Stellar Prep of Hayward. The final one came after Stellar Prep tied the score at 54-54 with just over two minutes left. Along with the nine TD tosses, Matt was 23-of-34 for 441 yards with the TD passes going to five different receivers.

Senior Tanner Zwahlen had three TD receptions and 179 yards receiving, and junior Aidan Brown snagged two TDs and had 121 yards receiving.

The nine TD passes that now gets a spot in the record book list for Most Touchdown Passes (Game) replaces four players that shared the NCS’s top spot on the list, David Barr of Concord (1989), Noah Davis of St. Bernard’s of Eureka (2014), Kaylor Sullivan of Fort Bragg, who reached the mark in 2014 and twice in 2015, and T.J. Campbell of St. Bernard’s in 2017.


So far this season, Meredith has passed for 1,126 yards and 14 TDs with the yardage being the top reported mark in the NCS and third in the state (based on reported totals to MaxPreps), and the 14 TDs is second in the NCS and tied for fourth in the state.

Two twists to this are the game was on a Thursday, and two weeks ago Meredith threw for four touchdowns in a 45-39 victory over Fortuna, but while his 441 yards against Stellar Prep doesn’t make the Record Book for Most Yards Passing (Game) the 472 yards against Fortuna currently gets a spot.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Hudson Walker
(Redwood, Visalia) Sr.

We drop down to The Valley as the folks like to call the CIF Central Section to the agricultural hub and city of 130,000 in the San Joaquin Valley, for our Northern California Defensive Player of the week, and yes Visalia and all the schools in The Valley are in NorCal for this feature.

Last week, Walker was a backbreaker and a one-man wrecking crew, and what he wrecked was a 28-game winning streak by Tulare Union of neighboring Tulare against teams from the Central Section in the regular season after the 6-foot-4, 221-pound defensive end had five sacks, and eight total tackles with seven for loss in a 28-8 Rangers’ victory.

Besides the local win streak, Tulare Union came into the game 2-0 and having scored 99 points in the two games combined, but Hudson and his defensive mates would have none of that.

Walker doesn’t have an official offer yet, but in recruiting terminology he has “warm” interest from several schools, including Stanford and UCLA. He also is listed as a three-star prospect by more than one recruiting service.

Last year as a junior, Hudson was an All-West Yosemite League performer for Redwood with 99 tackles, 10 sacks, 30 tackles for loss and one blocked PAT. He wasn’t listed first team on our preseason All-Central Section team, but upon further review probably should have been.

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

Abraham Banks
(Rio Linda) Sr.

We had to search far and wide for a Northern California Special Teams Player of the Week, and we found Banks about five miles east of the banks of the Sacramento River due east of the Sacramento International Airport and just north of the old McClellan Air Force Base.

Abraham is another of our Multi-Purpose standouts that like our Southern California Multi-Purpose star lands on special teams. He takes over at quarterback at Rio Linda after playing running back last season for the Knights and rushing for 623 yards and seven touchdowns.

Last week, in a 55-0 blowout of Cordova of Rancho Cordova and in a game in which he didn’t play the whole game, Abraham took one to the house with an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Banks also passed for 117 yards and a touchdown and ran for 80 yards and two more scores.

Had Abraham had over 100 yards passing two weeks ago he would have been a strong candidate for the NorCal Offensive award last week. In a 54-26 victory over Casa Roble of Orangevale he rushed for 304 yards and four TDs and passed for 67 yards and one touchdown. Even so, those are two pretty impressive back-to-back performances for the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder.

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. Kevin Duke
    Posted September 12, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Was the 472 yards a record for this season or just an individual record?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted September 13, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      472 passing yards just gets name onto all-time state list. 469 isn’t enough. It’s not an actual record of any kind. You could go through the all-time list and see if other Miramonte guys are in it to see if it’s a school record, but other than that it’s not a record.

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