SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of our SoCal/NorCal honorees for this week are Lando Brown (left) of Gardena Serra & Tsion Nunnally from Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman. Photos: & Harold Abend.

With just about every team in the state finally in action, we had lots of performances to choose from. Our honorees this week took us to some familiar places — Gardena, Solana Beach and Valencia in the south, and Concord, Gilroy and Santa Rosa in the north.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate anyone, email We pick the winners on Monday nights.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Lando Brown
(Serra, Gardena) Sr.

Last week, our SoCal defensive honoree was from the Long Beach Poly team that defeated Serra in the two teams’ season opener in overtime.

Now, in a bit of a twist of fate, our Southern California defensive award winner this week is from that very Cavaliers team that shook off the Poly loss, and you guessed it, in a further twist, the next game for the Cavs went to overtime again only this time Serra won it 12-6 over a very solid Chaminade on the road in West Hills, and Brown had a big hand in the victory.

In a game where both teams missed PATs to force an overtime, and where defense was at a premium, Lando was the man after recording four sacks for 29 yards in losses, 11 total tackles with five for loss, and just for good measure Brown forced a fumble the Cavaliers recovered.

Last week against Poly, Brown was a defensive star despite the loss after recording 14 tackles with one sack. Last year, as a junior, Brown had 99 tackles with 29 for losses, including 19 sacks.

Tyler Voss is hoping a big junior showing this spring will set himself up for a busy summer and more D1 college offers. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Tyler Voss
(Valencia) Jr.

For our Southern California offensive honoree, we head to the Santa Clarita Valley where we had a matchup in a season opener for Valencia and its crosstown arch-rivals from West Ranch.

The stage was set for West Ranch to avenge its 45-0 loss to the Valencia last season when the Vikings went 5-0 as the Foothill League champions. Voss was in his first game as the Valencia quarterback and was matched up against San Jose State-bound senior Walker Eget from West Ranch, and when the reigning league champs fell behind 13-7 after one quarter the plot began to thicken.

That’s when Voss, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior in his first varsity start as a Viking, took over and led Valencia to 35 unanswered points in a decisive 63-20 victory.

In the battle of quarterbacks, it was Voss that was the boss. He was a pinpoint 19 of 25 passing for 435 yards and three TDs with no interceptions. That produced a 157.1 QB rating, not bad for a first ever start. Voss even ran for 23 yards and a fourth score.

We’re sure Tyler would want to give a shout out to his favorite target, Duhron Goodman. Voss only found the junior wide receiver three times, but it was for 183 receiving yards and every one of the receptions went for TDs, including a 90-yarder.

With Voss, Valencia would appear in good shape to keep winning Foothill League titles. Head coach Larry Muir’s program has a current streak of 11 straight league crowns. That total already is listed in the most updated Cal-Hi Sports state records.

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

Stephen Britton
(Santa Fe Christian, Solana Beach) Sr.

We head to the North County area of the CIF San Diego Section for our Southern California Special Teams Player of the Week. There, we find a running back and special teams contributor that could have easily been the SoCal offensive honoree last week with what he did in a record performance by the Eagles.

That was two weeks ago but let’s start with this past week first. On the road in San Diego, and in a 47-14 victory over Francis Parker, the 6-foot, 215-pound senior had a 97-yard kickoff return he took for a house call, and a 55-yard punt return that went for paydirt giving him two different special teams scores.

On offense, where he was a monster two weeks ago, Britton rushed for 123 yards on only seven carries with two TDs, including a 47-yard romp.

Now, about two weeks ago. In an 81-54 victory over Orange Glen of Escondido where the 135 combined points by the two teams set a CIF San Diego Section record and made it into our state record book, Britton was doing the hitting when he carried the ball after rushing for a whopping 310 yards and four touchdowns.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Tsion Nunnally
(Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa) Sr.

We head 50 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge to the City of Roses for our NorCal offensive weekly honoree.

If there was any doubt about Cardinal Newman star senior wide receiver and defensive back being the top player in the Redwood Empire portion of the CIF North Coast Section this spring, or one of the very top players in the entire section and all of Northern California, it was pretty much erased after his performance in the Cardinals’ 28-7 home victory last week over North Bay League rival Windsor.

Both teams were a little rusty but not Nunnally. He’s somewhat quiet and humble off the field, but on the field the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Washington State-committed senior was like a man among boys. All Tsion did was account for all four of his team’s scores on TD receptions of 58, 24, 50 and 58 yards. He only had six catches but totaled 240 yards receiving. He also had a 46-yard kickoff return and played lockdown defense from his cornerback position.

On his TD receptions, it wasn’t just how many he scored but how he did it. On his first 58-yarder the intended screen pass from quarterback Jordan Cooke seemed to pop up in the air before Nunnally corralled it and blasted past everyone to paydirt. The 24-yard TD pass came on fourth-and-15 when he went to the left corner of the end zone and easily out-jumped the defenders.

The 50-yard TD and the second 58-yard TD showcased the 4.5 speed Nunnally flashed at the National Preps Showcase last November in Vacaville. Both times he just blew past the initial defenders and then outran those in pursuit, even ones with good angles.

When asked how it felt to finally get back on the field and show what he can do, Tsion wanted to talk about the team and his teammates.

“It felt great to be out there playing with my teammates and to play on our home field again,” Nunnally responded. “I’m super excited for our next game.”

Lu-Magia Hearns of De La Salle is one of the most dynamic, explosive players in Northern California. Photo: Mark Tennis.

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

Lu-Magia Hearns
(De La Salle, Concord)

At a point prior to De La Salle beginning its official contact practices on February 26 when the state eased restrictions and football was able to prepare for a shortened season, the Cal-bound Hearns and his Sacramento State-bound fellow senior teammate and quarterback Dorian Hale, made a decision to forego their senior seasons, watch from the sidelines, and prepare for college.

Then, in a complete reversal, and after seeing their teammates on the field and feeling left out and like they might be letting them down, the pair decided to play.

It’s conjecture, but who knows, if they hadn’t changed their minds, the current streak of no one north of Fresno beating the Spartans since 1991 and in 312 games after a 63-27 victory last Saturday over East Bay Athletic League rival Monte Vista of Danville, might not be intact.

Hearns didn’t have as big an impact in the Spartans’ season-opening 35-27 victory over a very good St. Mary’s (Stockton) as Hale, but he was a force from his cornerback position.

Against Monte Vista, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Hearns showed just why Cal coveted getting him starting this fall. De La Salle jumped out to a 28-0 lead with two of the four TDs coming on kickoff returns by Hearns of 95 yards and a 72-yarder in which he weaved through and past opponents as he danced down the left sideline to paydirt. Lu-Magia also had a first-half 35-yard TD reception from junior quarterback Luke Dermon, who shared snaps with Hale.

It’s pretty safe to say the Spartans’ faithful are glad to see Hearns and Hale on the field in this abbreviated season.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Adam Andrade
(Christopher, Gilroy) Sr.

We go to the Garlic Capital of the World around 20-miles south of San Jose on Highway 101 for this week’s NorCal Special Teams Player of the Week.

In a game that in some ways proves last season and this season are not just 15 months apart but also being played with limited prep time, Andrade’s all-around game and the Christopher running game gave the Cougars a 1-0 record to start the season after going 0-9 last season. They rolled to a massive 55-6 win and sent a Branham of San Jose team that was 11-2 last season back to San Jose with an 0-1 start.

On defense, for which he’s being honored, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Andrade had two of the three interceptions the Christopher defense had against the Bruins.

Adam also got into the act on offense with a 16-yard touchdown catch.

We’re sure Andrade would want to give a shout out to his team’s running game, which produced a bulk of the offense. Senior Logan Sterling had a game worthy of honors himself after rushing for 282 yards and four touchdowns.

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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