NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of our NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week are Tyson Dozhier of Shafter (left) and Jaheem Williams from Montgomery of San Diego. Williams should get to keep that turnover belt forever after he had a 103-yard pick six. Photos: Twitter.com & @CoachDunkle / Twitter.com.

Week five would be less than halfway through a normal football season, but this season is anything but normal, so instead we’re in the home stretch with just one more week to go for this feature. This week we travel to Orange County, San Diego and the Inland Empire for our SoCal honorees, and Shafter, Elk Grove and Mariposa for our NorCal award winners.

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

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Tyson Dozhier
(Shafter) Jr.

Not only do we get to remind readers that for all our Players of the Week features for all sports, boys and girls, the CIF Central Section is considered Northern California, but we also are able to give a shout out to Central Section historian and longtime Cal-Hi Sports friend and contributor Bob Barnett.

This week’s winner, a Barnett nominee who made his weekly Central Section Milestones feature, is from a town a little less than 20 miles west-northwest of Bakersfield and known for among several things as the home of an air field that saw heavy use during World War II.

This football season in Shafter it’s not airplanes flying through the air it’s pigskins, as Dozhier has been airing it out.

Last week, in a 49-6 blasting of Foothill of Bakersfield, Dozhier, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior quarterback, passed for 379 yards and six touchdowns, completing 17 of 25 passes, and according to Barnett, the passing yardage is the fifth best in school history. Tyson also carried 20 times for 67 yards.

Two weeks ago, in a 48-0 shellacking of Lake Isabella Kern Valley, Dozhier went to the air 19 times and was pinpoint in completing 16 of the passes for 324 yards and seven touchdowns, and according to historian Barnett, a school record for TD passes. Thirteen TD passes in two games is quite impressive as well.

Dozhier didn’t set any records in the season-opening 52-3 rout of Arvin, but besides passing for 227 yards and four TDs, Tyson also did some running, and finished with 128 yards rushing on 16 carries with two more scores.

So far this season, and heading into a game on the road in Bakersfield at Mira Monte, Dozhier has three-game totals of 930 yards passing and 17 TD with three interceptions, and 248 yards rushing and the two TDs he had against Arvin.

Nekhi Broadway is the defensive leader this season for state-ranked Monterey Trail of Elk Grove. Photo: Hudl.com.


Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Nekhi Broadway
(Monterey Trail, Elk Grove) Sr.

For our Northern California Defensive Player of the Week choice, we head back to the Sacramento metro area to honor a senior linebacker who is arguably the best defensive player on a team that prides itself on defense.

Last week, and due to COVID-related circumstances in a hastily arranged game on the road in San Leandro, the lights were shining as bright for Broadway as the neon lights of Broadway in New York will shine once the theatres open up once again. In a sense Broadway broadsided San Leandro with a whopping 13 tackles that included three sacks in a 48-12 win on the road.

Three weeks ago we got to see Broadway up close and personal when the Mustangs traveled to Concord to meet 2019 CIF D2-AA Bowl Game champion Clayton Valley. In that game, a 24-13 win over the Ugly Eagles, Broadway led the way again on defense after finishing with 10 tackles and a sack. That performance earned Nekhi the Sacramento Bee Prep Player of the Week honor, so now he gets to add a NorCal award to his local honors.

Including his performance in a 57-21 victory two weeks ago over crosstown rival Cosumnes Oaks, and a 34-7 season-opening win against Woodcreek of Roseville, Broadway shares the team lead for tackles with 36, and leads the team with four sacks.

Broadway has one more showtime appearance in his high school career when head coach T.J. Ewing, who as you can see hasn’t hesitated to take his team on the road and out of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section, finishes up this abbreviated season on Friday in Antelope.

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

Nathan Kunz (Mariposa County, Mariposa) Sr.

CIF Sac-Joaquin Section gets two-thirds of the pie for the NorCal winners this week after we land in the Sierra Nevada foothills around 40-miles east-northeast of Merced to find our Northern California Special Teams Player of the Week.

Known as a the home of longtime NFL offensive lineman Logan Mankins (New England Patriots), Mariposa isn’t exactly in the Central Valley, and it’s not exactly in the mountains at an altitude of 2,000 feet. It would be a bit unfair to say thin air had something to do with the feats of the foot of Kunz.

Last week, in a 40-10 victory over visiting Denair, Kunz, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior kicker and defensive back, got into the act at both positions, but it was his kicking that earns him this award after he split the uprights for a 51-yard field goal on his only attempt, was also 4-for-4 on PATs, and on six kickoffs Nathan put six in the end zone for touchbacks.

Kunz also had a solid game on defense with seven tackles.

So far, in a 4-1 season for the Grizzlies, Kunz has made 6-of-7 field goals and he’s 17 for 19 on PATs. Nathan has kicked off 33 times with 15 touchbacks and is averaging 53.1 yards on his kickoffs.

SoCal Offensive Player of Week Vince Silva (22) is congratulated by Sunny Hills teammate Munzer Muhammed (25) after 89-yard TD run. Photo: Jim McCormack / For OC Sports Zone.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Vince Silva
(Sunny Hills, Fullerton) Sr.

Orange County is where we land for our Southern California Offensive Player of the Week. There we find a senior running back who has been running roughshod over opponents so far this season.

Last week, in a 31-7 victory over a Freeway League crosstown arch rival Fullerton team that just earlier in the season pushed Cal-Hi Sports No. 24 La Habra to overtime before falling, the senior gave Fullerton its fill of Silva after Vince rushed for 344 yards and three TDs on only 17 carries as the Lancers posted a decisive 31-7 victory over the Indians.

One of his TD runs was on an 89-yard romp to paydirt, and if all that didn’t put the hurt hard enough his rivals, Silva also plays outside linebacker where he had an interception, a batted pass and three tackles.

The victory got Sunny Hills to 5-0 and none of the games have been close. In fact, the 24-point victory over Fullerton was the smallest margin of victory. Because of that, Silva has not gotten a ton of carries, but he’s averaging 12.1 yards every time he rushes the football and now has 786 yards and nine TDs this season.

The win last week also got the Lancers into the state rankings in the No. 50 spot heading into the final week of the season. Part of the reason head coach Peter Karavedes may have given Vince more carries is the game was against a crosstown rival, but probably more important was Silva and the rest of the Lancers are going to need a huge effort this Friday night when they travel to La Habra in a battle of unbeatens for Freeway League bragging rights.

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

Nicholas Pasquarella
(Alta Loma) Jr.

The physical address for Alta Loma High says its location on Baseline Road is in Rancho Cucamonga, so it’s out to the Inland Empire we go for our Southern California Special Teams Player of the Week.

Like our defensive honoree, Pasquarella was a multi-purpose star as well, but his foot, legs and kicking is the reason he’s being honored.

Last week, in a 38-17 victory over Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga, Pasquarella, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior kicker, wide receiver and defensive back, and the son of Braves’ head coach Mark Pasquarella, had foot and hands in 20 of the Alta Loma points, three different ways.

As a kicker, Nicholas kicked a 34-yard field goal and was 5-for-5 on PATs, and he had four touchbacks on seven kickoffs. Pasquarella also returned three kickoffs for 80 yards, so for this week that gets the SoCal kudos for special teams.

On offense, Pasquarella had four pass receptions for 84 yards and two TDs, including a 42-yarder, plus he even rushed for 15 yards. On defense, Nicholas had eight tackles.

Earlier this season as a kicker, Pasquarella also made a 49-yard field goal.

The victory got Alta Loma to 2-1 with one game left against 4-0 La Serna of Whittier. Will Pasquarella help put a blemish on the record of La Serna? We shall see.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Jaheem Williams
(Montgomery, San Diego) Jr.

The South Bay area of San Diego is where we set down in our search for the Southern California Defensive Player of the Week. It’s there that we find a 6-foot-1, 205-pound, safety, wide receiver, and running back, and although Williams is being honored for his defense, this week’s award could be called multi-purpose.

Last week, in a 57-0 rout of neighboring Chula Vista, Jaheem was more like a bad dream for the visiting Spartans.

Williams is being honored for his two interceptions, one of which he returned 103 yards for a touchdown. The other one wasn’t quite that far, but he did return that one 46 yards and it also found paydirt. The 103-yard pick six doesn’t quite make the Cal-Hi Sports online state records since the cutoff is 105, but we haven’t heard of a longer one this year. We can also say we saw the highlight on various twitter feeds and Jaheem clearly grabs the ball a few yards into the end zone.

When we say Chula Vista wasn’t too keen on Jaheem we meant it. Besides the interceptions on defense, Williams batted down two passes, had four tackles, and a quarterback hurry.

But wait, there’s more. Only one pass was thrown his way but Jaheem made a house call on that one from 29 yards out for his first career receiving TD in a three-year varsity career. Williams didn’t score as a running back, but he led the Aztecs with 54 yards rushing on only four carries.

About the only thing Jeheem didn’t do in this game was return punts and kickoffs, but he has this season and in fact returned a punt for a touchdown.

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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2 Comments

  1. Robert Stitt
    Posted April 14, 2021 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Thank You for recognizing Nathan Kunz from Mariposa County High School! He is deserving. This is on of many reasons why it was so important to play this year. Nathan ended last season with a game winning 27 yard FG to beat Denair in a section championship game in OT. He finished last season with 33 out of 33 on his PAT. and 6 for 12 on his field goals.
    This season he set a record of 4 field goals against Waterford 45 yds (school record), 40 yds,39 yds, and 25 yds.
    Last week against Denair he broke his record for the longest field goal of 51 yards.
    Yesterday in practice he hit from 57 yds into a breeze and then kicked from the other direction with the breeze and hit from 60 yds out!
    This week is Nathan’s last game at Orestimba, if we get the opportunity we will be kicking if the ball is on the 41 yard and in.
    Thank You,
    Robert Stitt

    P.S. you mentioned ex-Mariposa/ NFL player Logan Mankins
    We also have Cody Wichmann who has played for the Rams,Titans(practice Squad),and Cowboys (practice squad).
    Stephen Spach played for Mariposa when he was a sophomore then moved back to Clovis High

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted April 14, 2021 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Coach Stitt. FYI, 56 yard FGs make it into the state records. 55 does not.

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