NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of our SoCal/NorCal Player of the Week honorees are quarterback Shane Illingworth of Norco (left) and receiver Lane Thrap from St. Bernard’s of Eureka. If they were teammates, it would be Shane to Lane. Photos: Athlazon.com & Courtesy school.


Two of this week’s selections are out to super-hot starts in the categories of touchdown passes and touchdown catches. For TD passes, Norco’s Shane Illingworth threw for seven TDs in one game for the second time already this season, while for TD catches Lane Thrap from St. Bernard’s of Eureka already has 12 for the reported state lead. Two additional defenders and two more for special teams also gain honors. The six players also are from Lake of the Pines and Danville in the north plus Carlsbad and Las Flores in the south.

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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 markjtennis@gmail.com.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Lane Thrap
(St. Bernard’s, Eureka) Sr.

We go to the Redwood Empire and Behind the Redwood Curtain 275 miles north of the Golden Gate to the Humboldt County seat for our NorCal offensive winner. There we honor a young man whose name we blew by reversing the a and r (but have since corrected) on the Preseason All Redwood Empire team.

Another twist to Thrap is he was a defensive back as a preseason selection, but like so many of our weekly honorees for this feature the first three weeks the NorCal Offensive Player of the Week is the epitome of Multi-Purpose.

Last week, in a thrilling 43-41 victory on the road in the Portland, Oregon suburb of Milwaukee, the host Falcons of La Salle double-teamed him all night but still couldn’t wrap up Thrap after the 6-foot-3, 175-pound senior had six pass receptions for 147 yards and two TDs, including one for 89 yards on the first offensive play of the game.

He also caught a 2-point conversion had one carry for five yards rushing, and on defense he had four tackles and deflected two passes.

The performance in Oregon wasn’t even his best of the season, but it was against the Crusaders toughest opponent so far in a 4-0 start. Lane’s best outing came in a season-opening win against El Molino of Forestville when he had 210 yards receiving and three touchdowns. This was the week to reward him since his 22 pass receptions for 659 yards 12 TDs so far this season are the reported state leading totals on MaxPreps in both categories. If Thrap were to keep up his pace and St. Bernard’s is able to play at least 12 games (CIF North Coast Section), then he’d get to 36 TD catches (which would be a new state record).

We said he’s multi-purpose and the previous week besides big numbers receiving Thrap took a pass interception 91 yards to the house as a free safety in a big win over neighboring Arcata.

Last season, Thrap had 48 receptions for 809 yards and 12 touchdowns, and on defense he was second in the CIF North Coast Section with seven interceptions while adding 61 tackles. He’s not kicking this season but the three-sport athlete had 35 PATs and he made the one field goal he attempted last season.

“Lane is an exceptional three-sport athlete who was first team all conference in football, basketball and baseball as a junior,” Crusaders head coach Matt Tomlin said. “In baseball he led his American Legion team to a state championship. What makes him great is he is as tough as he is talented. He’s been absolutely electric this season.”

Speaking of talent and electrifying, we would be remiss to not mention his senior teammate and quarterback Will Omey. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior, who was a preseason Redwood Empire First Team Multi-Purpose selection, very well could have won the award himself this week after his performance in Oregon. Omey passed for 265 yards and four TDs and had 243 yards rushing and one more score, plus as a defensive back he had five tackles and two pass deflections.

Zink looks for more than just sacks when he comes in to tackle quarterbacks. Photo: theunion.com.


Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Zach Fink
(Bear River, Lake of the Pines) Sr.

For our NorCal defensive award winner we head out to the higher foothills of the Sierra Nevada Range to a school with a mailing address in Grass Valley, but with a campus located just off Highway 49 near picturesque Lake of the Pines halfway between Auburn and Grass Valley.

There we find a nose guard that may only be 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, but so far in a 4-0 start for the Bruins, opponents thinking they could move Fink off the line of scrimmage have been turned back by Zach.

Last week, in 44-21 win over Liberty Ranch of Galt, Zach was on the attack and finished with four sacks on eight tackles, with two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

Besides being on the football team, Zach runs track for Bear River where he competes in the 100, 4 x 100, high jump and the pole vault.

Fink is also an accomplished photographer. Back in April as a junior, he earned a first place medal in the Literary Magazine Photography category at the 2019 National Journalism Convention in Anaheim.

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

Chase Salisbury
(San Ramon Valley, Danville) Soph.

Talk about pressure. We’ll cut right to the chase in describing the feats of Chase.

Last week, with his team trailing 9-7, and in his very first attempt at kicking a field goal, Salisbury was more than ready and booted home a 45-yarder with 10 minutes left to go and the defense held Antioch scoreless the rest of the way for a 10-7 victory by the Wolves.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Salisbury also has a twin brother on the team, 6-foot, 195-pound wide receiver and safety, Tanner Salisbury.

Chase also seems to be an aspiring baseball player as well since the outfielder is listed on a couple of the baseball scouting websites. He’ll always have this memorable field goal to talk about too.

Quinn isn’t the only stifling defender for the 3-1 Lancers. Photo: Hudl.com.


Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Dylan Quinn
(Carlsbad) Sr.

The CIF San Diego Section and the North County area is our destination for our SoCal defensive award winner, and to say Quinn and the rest of the Lancers’ defense had a huge part in their 17-7 win over Mission Hills of San Marcos, would certainly be understating what Dylan and his mates did.

All Dylan did was record four sacks, force a fumble and recover it, and the 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker had a pass interception as the centerpiece of a Lancers’ defense that held Mission Hills to 104 yards of offense.

The victory got Carlsbad to 3-1 and vaulted the Lancers back into the Top 50 state rankings this week as they grabbed the No. 46 spot.

So far this season of his 14 tackles by Quinn, 4.5 have been for loss with four sacks, two interceptions and the forced and recovered fumble.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Shane Illingworth
(Norco) Sr.

A huge part of the reason Norco is 3-0 and currently No. 16 in the newest Cal-Hi Sports State Top 50 rankings is because of the arm of our Southern California Offensive Player of the Week.

To say Shane was on his game in a 49-28 victory over No. 31 Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) last week would a shameful understatement. All the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Oklahoma State-bound Illingworth did was go 24 for 30 for 567 yards and seven touchdowns. His longest TD pass was for 91 yards and three of his wide receivers went over the 100-yard mark.

Shane also rushed for 34 yards and adding up the arithmetic shows Illingworth had 601 yards of total offense against a quality opponent.

The yardage and touchdowns were reported as school records, but the seven TDs only tied the record he set in the Cougars first game when he passed for 479 yards in a 52-27 victory over Williams Field of Gilbert, Arizona.

The seven TDs does not make the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book but the 567 yards passing would currently be a top 30 spot on the Most Yards (Game) list in the on-line record book.

So far this season, Illingworth has passed for 1,356 yards and 17 TDs, and despite only playing in three games that’s the No. 6 reported mark in the state with all five players ahead of him and the next eight players below him with four games played.

Last season, Illingworth passed for 2,739 yards and 29 touchdowns for a 9-3 Cougars team that made it to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 quarterfinals before bowing out 33-28 to eventual champion Upland.

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

Kyle Schaefers
(Tesoro, Los Flores) Sr.

Orange County and the Rancho Santa Margarita area is the destination for our Southern California Special Teams Player of the Week award winner.

With his performance on special teams, Kyle put a smile on the faces of the Titans’ faithful after returning a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown last week in a 57-13 victory over West of Torrance. Kyle also had a couple of tackles from his defensive back position.

This was one week after Schaefers returned a punt 85 yards to paydirt for a score in a 36-18 Tesoro victory over Roosevelt of Eastvale.

Tesoro improved to 4-0 this season but to get to 5-0 this week at home against San Juan Hills of San Juan Capistrano, the Titans are going to have to do it without head coach Matt Poston.

Our prayers are with Poston and the Tesoro community. According to the Orange County Register, Poston is to undergo a heart procedure on Wednesday of this week.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at marketingharoldabend@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend


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