SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of the SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week are Johnathan Arceneaux of Whittier & Jake Reuss from Redding University Prep. Photos: Hudl.com & Mike Daly / Shasta County Sports.

Around the state we go once again with visits to Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties for our Southern California honorees, and then for the NorCal winners it’s Santa Clara County, then a trip to Tulare County, and finally from there we go 375 miles north to Shasta County as our final stop. This week’s award winners are from Whittier, Mission Viejo and Camarillo in the south, and Mountain View, Visalia and Redding in the north.

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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 Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Johnathan Arceneaux
(Whittier) Jr.

For our SoCal offensive honoree go 10 miles southeast of Downtown Los Angeles to a town that borders Orange County and is famous for being the place President Richard M. Nixon was raised, although he didn’t go to Whittier High.

It has been a bit of a rough start for Whittier this season after the Cardinals’ non-league schedule sees them at 2-3 with one more week to go before the start of Del Rio League action, but despite it all Arceneaux, a 6-foot, 180-pound running back has certainly been the go to guy.

Last week, in a 55-28 victory against visiting Schurr of neighboring Montebello, Johnathan was more than the man after rushing for 451 yards and five touchdowns.

It won’t be anywhere near the top of the list but the 451 yards rushing does get a spot in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book on the Most Yards (Game) list.

Arceneaux also went for over 200 yards in a loss to Fullerton and close to 200 yards in a loss to Arcadia, so he has done everything he can and now has 950 yards and 13 TDs rushing in the Cardinals five games so far this season.

As a sophomore, Arceneaux shined with 1,754 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns. He was named to the Cal-Hi Sports all-state team for sophomores.

Liddell has been helping put the lid on Camarillo’s opponents so far this season. Photo: Twitter.com.


Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Grady Liddell
(Camarillo) Sr.

Our destination for the Southern California Defensive Player of the Week is Ventura County off Highway 101 to a town named after Adolfo Camarillo who grew citrus and walnuts and raised horses in the early 1800s.

Camarillo is still an agricultural hub and horses can still be seen roaming in pastures, but the stud that’s been doing it on defense for the Cal-Hi Sports State Top 50 bubble team and 5-0 Scorpions is Liddell, a 6-foot, 200-pound strong safety who can also play linebacker.

Last week, in a 48-0 shellacking of nearby Ventura, Liddell was a little giddy after snaring his sixth interception of the season and returning it for a 45-yard pick six. It was the third time Grady took an interception to the house for a score this season. This season on defense he also has a forced fumble and he blocked a field goal that helped preserve a 26-25 victory over neighboring Oxnard.

The Scorpions also occasionally use him as a wide receiver and against Ventura he had four receptions for 51 yards.

Last season, for an 11-2 Camarillo team that made it to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 semifinals before bowing out to Corona del Mar of Newport Beach, Liddell had three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles, plus he had 79 tackles with seven for loss.

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

R.J. Lopez
(Mission Viejo) Sr.

More often than not we try to stay away from singling out one player in a blowout type game involving a ranked team, but it’s hard to argue against what the Diablos’ 6-foot, 178-pound kicker has done this season to help his team get to 5-0 and a Cal-Hi Sports No. 5 ranking, and that’s being close to perfect.

Last week, in a 63-7 rout of a decent St. Mary’s-Stockton, Lopez kicked off 10 times, all in the first half, and each and every one of them was a touchback. On PATs, he attempted nine and made them all. A 10-for-10 total isn’t a category kept for state records, but it was claimed to be an Orange County and CIF Southern Section record. It would be hard to confirm that, but 10-for-10 would be a great place to start.

We said close to perfection because although he’s 29-of-29 on PATs this season and carries a 4.4 GPA in the classroom, R.J. hasn’t sent every kickoff for a touchback, but he’s 29-of-33, and on field goals Lopez is 2-for-4 but one of them was for 44 yards two weeks ago in a win over Villa Park.

Of note, R.J. is a Chris Sailer protégé and the younger brother of Nick Lopez, last year’s kicker for CIF state Open Division Bowl Game champion Mater Dei of Santa Ana.

Rening had his big outing in a game in which CVC didn’t run up the score. Photo: Hudl.com.


Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Jaalen Rening
(Central Valley Christian, Visalia) Sr.

With the selection of Rening as our Northern California Offensive Player of the Week we get to remind readers that the entire CIF Central Section is considered Northern California for our Players of the Week features in all sports.

To say Renning was ready to start running last week might be a bit of an understatement. After missing the first three games with a wrist injury, Jaalen returned to the lineup with the 2018 CIF Division 4-AA Division Bowl Game runners-up off to a 1-2 start.

With Rening in the line-up and running the ball, the Cavaliers evened their record at 2-2 with a 27-14 victory over visiting Immanuel of Reedley. All the 5-foot-10, 180-pound running back and UC Davis-committed Rening did was rush for 305 yards and all four of his team’s touchdowns, including setting the tone for what was to come by taking a handoff on the game’s first offensive play and going 76 yards to pay dirt for the game’s first score.

Last season, in helping Central Valley Christian to the CIF Southern Regional Division 4-AA Bowl game title, Rening rushed for 1,695 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also had 16 pass receptions for 323 yards and three more TDs, and as a defensive back he had four interceptions, blocked two field goals, had 38 tackles, and on special teams he returned kickoffs and punts.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Andrew Bice
(Mountain View) Sr.

The Spartans are 4-0 to start the season, and a lot of it has to do with the defense of this 6-foot, 155-pound defensive back, because the bottom line is Bice has not been very nice to opposing offenses so far this season.

Last week, in a 47-14 victory over Capuchino of San Bruno, Bice made the opposing offense think twice about coming his way, but they did and he responded with 20 tackles, a pass interception and a fumble recovery.

So far this season Bice has 56 tackles with four for loss, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Bice is a three-sport athlete and is a right-handed pitcher on the Spartans’ baseball team and a guard on the basketball team.

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

Jake Reuss
(University Prep, Redding) Jr.

His last name may or may not rhyme with the children’s storybook character Dr. Seuss (we don’t know Jake’s pronunciation), but the story of the Panthers’ 23-21 come from behind victory over Colusa was magical.

Trailing 23-20 with 40 seconds left to play, the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Reuss got turned loose and broke through the Colusa line to block a punt and give his team the ball with a final shot to win.

You guessed it, although the University Prep kicker had already missed a field goal and one of three PATs in the contest, Jake was straight as an arrow on his second field goal attempt and split the uprights in the final seconds for the game winning field goal.

Besides the blocked punt, Reuss also got into the act on defense with four tackles and on offense he even ran the ball as a running back.

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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