SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal players of the week are Nova Kebeli from Portola of Irvine & Hanford’s Cayden Muir. Photos: Fernando M. Donado / For OC Sports Zone & Facebook.com.


This week we have several players that had outstanding all-around performances, including one with some twists we’re not sure we’ve ever seen before. Our Southern California stops are in Orange County, Santa Clarita Valley and San Diego. In Northern California, we visit “The Valley” as the locals call the Central Section, and finish up in the CIF Northern Section and then on The Peninsula.

We hope you enjoy this free story on Cal-Hi Sports.com. For our State Top 25 rankings packages for the rest of the football season plus State Stat Stars of the Week, state record updates and special features, please check out our Gold Club membership today. If you’re not a member, CLICK HERE.

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

FOR UPDATED SINGLE-GAME STATE PASSING RECORDS THROUGH LAST WEEKEND (GOLD CLUB),
CLICK HERE.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Nova Kebeli (Portola, Irvine) Sr.

The City of Irvine and the flatlands of Orange County that were orange groves many years ago is the destination for our Southern California Offensive Player of the Week award winner.

At Portola, a school of 2,600 students that opened in 2016 but only has played varsity football since 2018, we find a 5-foot-10, 195-pound running back who not only is a huge reason the Bulldogs are 6-0 to start the season, he’s the first ever student-athlete from Portola to win one of our region player of the week honors in any sport.

Last week, in a 28-24 comeback victory over crosstown rival Northwood, Nova was a bright star once again as he’s been all season after rushing for a season-high 260 yards on 32 carries with three TDs, including a 72-yard run and the game winner on a 25-yard run with just over seven minutes left.

On the season Kebeli has literally been the bell ringer for the Bulldogs’ offense. He now has two 200-plus yards performances and his 1,060 yards rushing yards is the top reported mark so far in Orange County and 12 TDs is second. Overall, he also has the No. 4 reported rushing yardage total in the state.

A side note is that Kebeli has been on varsity all four seasons that Portola has had a varsity team and now has 2,716 rushing and 37 TDs heading into a bye this week.

Valencia’s Duhron Goodman is listed as an athlete by recruiting services so of course he makes plays on special teams. Photo: Twitter.com.


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

Duhron Goodman (Valencia) Sr.

Our next stop in Southern California is in the Santa Clarita Valley where we find a 6-foot, 185-pound cornerback and wide receiver who came up huge in helping get the Vikings end a two-game skid and get to 2-2 this season.

In a 15-13 victory over Westlake of Westlake Village last week that came down to the final play of the game, it was the hands of Duhron that made the difference in the outcome. With Westlake lined up to attempt a 37-yard field goal, Goodman broke through and blocked the kick to end the game.

Goodman wins this honor for his game-saving blocked field goal, but he did even more in the victory.

On defense, Goodman had one of two Valencia first-half pass interceptions, and before the big block he killed another Westlake drive by forcing a fumble. On offense, Duhron had five catches for 68 yards receiving. He’s been a top target on offense of QB Tyler Voss the last two seasons at Valencia while making big plays on defense and special teams.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Jayden Virgin (Mt. Carmel, San Diego) Sr.

The Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood in the northeastern area of the City of San Diego is where we land in our search for the Southern California Defensive Player of the Week.

It’s at Mt. Carmel that we find a 6-foot-3, 230-pound free safety who has played a big all-around role in the 5-0 start for the Sundevils, however it’s his defense that wins him this statewide honor.

Last week, in a 42-0 blanking of Rancho Buena Vista of Vista, the third straight shutout for Mt. Carmel, Virgin certainly didn’t treat the visiting Longhorns like kin.

On defense he had five tackles with two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. Jayden had a part in the win on offense as well. He rushed for a TD and had a 26-yard pass reception.

So far this season on defense, Virgin has 30 tackles with 10 for losses including nine sacks, the interception and fumble recovery, plus a blocked punt. On offense besides the rushing TD against Rancho Buena Vista he has 15 pass receptions for 216 yards and one TD receiving.

As a college prospect, Jayden has been getting offers as a tight end. He recently committed to Boise State.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Cayden Muir (Hanford) Jr.

For the first time this season we visit “The Valley” as the locals refer to the CIF Central Section, so it gives us the opportunity to remind readers for all our Player of the Week features, in all sports, boys and girls, the Central Section is considered part of Northern California.

The town we land in is Hanford, a city of 60,000 residents surrounded by farms and ranches around 10 miles west of Highway 99 and Visalia.

In Hanford we find our Northern California offensive honoree, a 6-foot, 160-pound quarterback who has been producing solid numbers since taking over under center as a sophomore in the pandemic-shortened spring season.

Last week, in a 41-7 drubbing of Tulare Western of nearby Tulare, Cayden had the perfect cadence as a signal-caller after throwing for a career high 409 yards on 20 of 32 passing with three TDs, plus he ran for the fourth score.

The Hanford fans aren’t absolutely sure that with Muir at quarterback their Bullpups will be victorious, but more than not they have been. So far this season the team is 3-0 and Cayden has passed for 738 yards and eight touchdowns, and he’s rushed for 80 yards and two additional scores.

In the spring, Muir passed for 1,051 yards and 10 touchdowns, and ran for 93 yards and two more TDs to lead Hanford to a 3-1 finish.

Karson Seaman of Los Molinos might be the first 300-pound defensive tackle ever who scored on a run, scored on a catch and threw a TD pass in one game. Photo: Courtesy school.


Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Karson Seaman (Los Molinos) Sr.

The CIF Northern Section is our destination for the Northern California Defensive Player of the Week, and we land in Los Molinos, a town of 2,000 on Highway 99 around 10 miles north of Chico.

One of the things we try to do in this feature is uncover some kids with unique accomplishments that sometimes go unnoticed, and that’s exactly why we may never have known of the feats of Seaman had not Bulldogs head coach James Humphrey send us a nomination of his senior captain.

In the intro we made mention of a performance being honored that is a bit out of the ordinary. In fact, in 40 years of covering high school football, we can’t remember a similar all-around performance.

We have Multi-Purpose categories for the All State teams but not for our weekly honors, so the big fella had to go in the defensive category to get the honor, but there is so much more.

First off, we say big fella because Seaman is a pretty big young man.

Last week, in a 49-12 thrashing of Weed from the far north, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound Seaman did a lot of pounding, and because he did so many different things for the oddest of combinations for a two-way lineman, Humphrey sent us a link to game film for proof.

Let’s start with the defense for which Karson is being honored. That part of his performance consisted of 14 tackles with three sacks.

On offense Karson had 14 pancake blocks, but that ouch for the opposing defensive linemen is just the tip of the iceberg. Can you imagine Seaman as a running back? Well, Humphrey called his number 10 times and Karson ran for 57 yards and a touchdown.

But wait, there’s more. Coach used him at quarterback near the goal line. With Karson, that can’t be the Wildcat. The Rhino might be more appropriate. Seaman was 2 for 3 for 35 yards and a second touchdown. You guessed it, there’s even more. Seaman also had a pass reception on a tipped ball off of a slip screen, and he rumbled his way 37 yards to pay dirt. That’s three TDs three different ways for a 300-pound lineman. Holy Toledo. Do you think anyone wanted to get in his way?

We’ll leave you with a final big ouch. To open the season and in the one game the 2-1 Bulldogs lost, a 27-26 heartbreaker to Delta of Clarksburg, Seaman was listed with 28 pancake blocks.

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

Ryan Kall (Burlingame) Sr.

For our final stop in Northern California, our destination is in San Mateo County on what’s known as the Peninsula around 20 miles south of San Francisco on the El Camino Real.

In Burlingame we find a quarterback who also has a booming leg and uses his foot for kicking and punting duties.

Last week, in a 26-13 victory over visiting Homestead of Cupertino, Kall got the call and had a solid all-around performance.

On special teams for which he’s being honored, Kall booted the football between the uprights on 2 of 3 field goal attempts including a 37-yarder, and he was 2-for-2 on PATs. He had six kickoffs for a 53.8 average with three touchbacks. Ryan only punted once and that was for 35 yards.

At quarterback, Kall was a pinpoint 11 of 15 for 203 yards and a touchdown.

So far this season for the 4-0 Panthers, and on a team that runs the ball a lot, Kall has passed for 583 yards and six TDs with no interceptions, and he’s rushed for one score.

Ryan’s kickoff average was shown at 54.6 yards through four games and he’s had 11 touchbacks. He has a 41.6 per yard average on 12 punts and getting it inside the 20 four times. The field goal Kall missed last week is his only kicking gaffe as he’s 4 of 5 and at 13 for 13 on PATs.

On a final note, Kall is a pretty decent baseball player as well.

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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