SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal players of the week are Adrian Ramirez of Los Banos (left) and Trey Kukuk of Capistrano Valley. Photos: & @capofootball.

Once again this week we remind readers that we use this feature for finding entries in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, and also to uncover top performances by players from schools that don’t always get a lot of attention, and this week one of our honorees from Southern California covers both bases. That honoree is from Southern Orange County. We also head to the Inland Empire and the border of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties for our other two Southern California stops. For Northern California we head to the CIF Central Section, Los Banos and end up in the Silicon Valley in San Jose.

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


Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Trey Kukuk (Capistrano Valley, Mission Viejo) Jr.

Southern Orange County and the city of Mission Viejo is the destination in our search for the Southern California Offensive Player of the Week, and while some high school football fans around the state think of Mission Viejo High first because it’s the area’s powerhouse, they forget about the other high schools in town.

The Diablos may get the rankings and the area’s props, but the new Orange County record for single game passing yardage on that list in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book is now housed just off the I-5 at Capistrano Valley.

Last week, in a 59-56 barnburner won by the Cougars over crosstown Trabuco Hills, Kukuk made sure the visiting Mustangs were out of luck and gave the home fans a Senior Night to remember after passing for 615 yards on 40 completions in 61 attempts with six touchdowns. His final pass was a 30-yard TD to Dane Beneix with six seconds left to win the game

According to the record book, that mark surpasses the 613 yards with seven TDs of Conner Manning in a 2012 Lake Forest (El Toro) victory over El Cajon Valhalla. Besides being the new Orange County high water mark, it also puts Kukuk into the No. 7 spot all time.

So far in a 5-4 season for Capistrano Valley, Trey has made his way to the No. 4 reported spot in the state after the 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior has passed for 2,837 yards with 29 touchdowns.

In a bit of a strange twist Orange County Register prep writer Manny Alvarez had a daily double of sorts with a potential SoCal offensive player winner already in the books. The reason is because on Thursday and prior to Kukuk’s feats on Friday, Alvarez covered a 507-yard, six TD performance by Tobey Schmidt of Tustin in a 51-31 victory over Placentia Valencia. We’ll have more on Schmidt in this week’s State Stat Stars of the Week honor roll.

Aidan Flintoft of Oaks Christian may be the top combo punter-place kicker in the nation. Photo:

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

Aidan Flintoft
(Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) Jr.

Around 50 miles west of downtown Los Angeles where LA and Ventura Counties meet in Westlake Village is where we land to find our Southern California Special Teams Player of the Week.

It’s at Oaks Christian, a school that in just over 20 years of existence has become known as a football power. The Lions traditionally play an ultra-tough schedule and that may account for the fact that at 4-5 they are one of only three teams with a losing record to be On the Bubble of our state rankings.

The reason we give you this overview is because Flintoft could likely have been honored early on because with his booming foot, Aiden has put up monstrous numbers from the very start of his junior season. The problem for the 6-foot-1, 185-pound kicker and punter is his team lost its first five games, and unless it’s a Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book entry, or even then, we almost never pick a player for this feature from a losing team.

Last week Flintoft finally made the grade, but it’s not like he’s not on every recruiting radar screen, including getting a No. 1 ranking in the nation as a kicker by several, including the prestigious

What Aidan did in a 38-13 win over nearby Calabasas that got Oaks Christian to 2-0 in Marmonte League action was like another day at the office. Here’s his line. Let’s start with seven kickoffs with all going 60-plus yards into the end zone for touchbacks. He was 5-for-5 on PATs and made his lone field goal attempt from 33 yards out. As a punter, where some services have him as No. 1 in the nation or No. 2, Flintoft had four punts with a 45.0 yard average with a 53-yarder the longest.

Hold onto your hats for his season stats. Of 44 kickoffs, 38 have been touchbacks. He’s 25-of-26 on PATs and 8-for-9 on field goals with a 50-yarder the longest. He punts for a 35.7 yard average but of his 36 punts a slew have been coffin-corners going out inside the 20-yard line.

Aidan has had to bide his time since last season’s Oak Christian kicker, Brenden Segovia, was an All State selection. Could Aidan make it two straight? Stay tuned.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Sergio Lopez (A.B. Miller, Fontana) Jr.

For our Southern California defensive award winner we head out to the Inland Empire just off the 210 and a couple of miles east of where it intersects with the I-15. In Fontana at A.B. Miller we find a defensive back that, shall we say, had the backs of a Rebels’ offense that did its part in a 30-6 victory over neighboring San Bernardino.

To say Lopez was a wiz on defense last week would be an understatement. Defensive backs don’t usually lead the team in tackles but Sergio did with 14 against the Cardinals. One thing they often do is intercept passes and Lopez had two of them he returned for TDs on 25 and 47 yards.

But wait a minute, there’s more. Sergio also recovered a fumble and had a couple of punt returns as well to close the book.

The 7-2 Rebels occasionally use Lopez on offense and he has a TD rushing and one receiving to give him four scores for the season after the two on defense last week.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Adrian Ramirez (Los Banos) Sr.

The Sac-Joaquin Section snags the Northern California Defensive Player of the Week honors as we land just off the I-5 in the fast growing town of Los Banos, or the “the baths” in Spanish since the town is named after a nearby natural spring.

Last week, in a 35-14 victory over Lathrop, Ramirez, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound senior cornerback that also plays baseball for Los Banos, led a stingy Tigers defense with 10 tackles, an interception and he recovered two fumbles to boot.

Adrian is being honored for his defense but he was just as productive on offense after rushing for 255 yards on a mere 13 carries with three touchdowns.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Rudy Navarro (Mission Oak, Tulare) Sr.

For our Northern California Offensive Player of the Week we jog our reader’s memories by reminding you that the CIF Central Section is considered Northern California for this feature and all Player of the Week features in all sports, girls and boys.

To find this week’s honoree we head just south of Visalia on Highway 99 to Tulare where we find a quarterback named Navarro that was nominated by Central Section historian and longtime Cal-Hi Sports friend and contributor Bob Barnett.

Last week, in a 60-38 victory over crosstown Tulare Union that got Mission Oak to 8-0 this season, and in a game they trailed 25-6 at halftime, Navarro helped the Hawks fly high in a 54-point second half and finished with 482 yards and six TDs passing, plus 25 yards rushing to get him over 500 total yards for the game. All six TD passes came in the second half.

According to Barnett, Rudy set five school records in his performance last week.

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

Sam Betz (Leigh, San Jose) Sr.

It’s been a while since we found our way to a public school in San Jose but that’s where we find ourselves, five miles south of downtown San Jose and adjacent to Los Gatos, in what was a difficult search for a Northern California Special Teams Player of the week

Unlike All State honors, we don’t have a multi-purpose category any of our Player of the Week features in any sports, boys or girls, but if we did Betz would be a good bet to win it. Instead, we’re honoring Sam for special teams since among all the reported state scoring leaders, Betz is the only one in the top 10 that is mainly a kicker. Last week, in a 49-0 blanking of crosstown rival Willow Glen, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior was 7-for-7 on PATs and that gives him 41 PATs for the season for the 7-1 Longhorns.

The No. 6 reported leading scorer in the state makes his mark on offense as well. Against Willow Glen, he had 140 yards rushing and four touchdowns to give him 791 yards and 19 TDs this season. Betz also has a TD receiving to give him 161 total points in his eight games. For good measure, he even completed a pass for a 45-yard gain.

But wait, there’s more. Sam is the man on defense as well. Against Willow Glen, he had nine tackles and is second on the team with 44 tackles this season

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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