For the first time in Servite of Anaheim history, there is a State Player of the Year in football as Tetairoa “TMac” McMillan gains the longest running No. 1 statewide honor. He keeps alive a streak of Trinity League state players of the year that goes back to 2016, but this time it’s not to someone from the No. 1 team. That should give people an idea of how much McMillan did — on both sides of the ball — for the Friars this season.
To see who has been named Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year for juniors, sophomores, medium schools and small schools, CLICK HERE.
To see who has been named Cal-Hi Sports Defensive State Player of the Year, CLICK HERE.
For a list of our all-time players of the year for juniors, sophomores, medium schools and small schools, CLICK HERE.
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Gaining accolades was not even close to any kind of reason why Servite of Anaheim super receiver Tetairoa McMillan played defense this season. But when it became time to sit down and dig into the numbers of the major contenders who were under consideration for the 2021 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Football State Player of the Year award, McMillan being a standout on both sides of the ball sure made it a lot easier.
The Friars’ graduating senior has today been named as the state honoree and will join an all-time list of Mr. Football winners from California that stretches back 131 years. He is the sixth selection in a row from the mighty Trinity League of the CIF Southern Section and the fifth honoree in the last six years from Orange County. But the big news is that he’s the first-ever to take the huge honor from Servite. There’s been a few players who were close — especially quarterback Steve Beuerlein in 1982 — but not one at the top until now.
“It definitely feels great (winning for Servite),” McMillan said on Sunday night not long after he and his family were notified of the news. “I know I’ll walk away from Servite leaving a legacy.”
The multi-talented receiver/defensive back has already graduated from the school was leaving Monday morning for San Antonio, Texas, to play in next Saturday’s All-American Game on NBC. Then when once the game is over, he will head to the University of Arizona to report for his first days as a college freshman.
It was also a breakthrough season for Servite due to its 40-21 victory over St. John Bosco of Bellflower in the CIFSS D1 semifinals. The Friars had lost to the Braves in the regular season and lost twice to state and national No. 1 Mater Dei. They also hadn’t beaten Bosco for 10 years. Despite the losses, it could be argued that Tetairoa was the most impressive plyer on the field in all three games. In a 47-38 loss to the Monarchs in the regular season, McMillan had 15 catches for 163 yards and two TDs. The avenging win over Bosco meant that even at 10-3 Servite could be No. 2 in the final state rankings.
The two-way talents of McMillan were on display in many of the team’s biggest wins. He had nine catches for 209 yards and four TDs against eventual CIFSS D2 champion Orange Lutheran, he had 11 grabs for 162 yards and one TD vs. Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth and in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals he had three interceptions, including an 85-yard TD return, in a win vs. league rival Santa Margarita.
For the season, Tetairoa, who is also known by his nickname TMac, landed 88 receptions for 1,302 yards and 18 TDs as a receiver. Defensively, he finished with eight interceptions with two going back for TDs.
“I had been begging the last four years to play defense and this year I finally did,” said McMillan when asked if it was the coaches who came to him about it or if it was he who had the idea. “I felt we needed that because if our goal was to win a championship that the only way that we had a chance was for me to do that. I feel like it was my job to be productive on both sides of the ball.”
It’s the overall athleticism for someone who at first glance at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds seems a bit thin, though, is what definitely stands out. McMillan also has played basketball at Servite and last spring was considered one of the best volleyball players in Southern California. He was named the Orange County Register’s Boys Athlete of the Year for the 2020-21 school year.
Speaking of honors, McMillan already has a national honor with his selection as the Polynesian High School Player of the Year. He also could have been the Gatorade National Player of the Year, but that one went to a running back from Pennsylvania.
If TMac had not added all of the defensive accomplishments this season, one would only have to look at the middle of the Servite offense to see another player who easily could have been Mr. Football for this season. That would be three-year standout quarterback Noah Fifita. He was, after all, the State Sophomore of the Year for 2019 and for 2020-21 he was the State Junior of the Year.
“It’s definitely been crazy for us to get all these honors,” McMillan said. “We’ve been a big part each other’s success. All the credit to Noah and to all of our coaches.”
Fifita’s greatest accomplishment, however, may have come off-the-field and after the season was over. Both he and his great friend had made college commitments — Fifita to Arizona and TMac to Oregon — but then in the midst of coaching changes around the country, including one at Oregon, McMillan had a change of heart. He didn’t sign on on the first day he could, but two days later went with the Wildcats. It was reported as one of the greatest signings in UofA history. McMillan won’t be joining just Fifita in Tucson, either. Two other Servite players going there are linebacker Jacob Manu and tight end Keyan Burnett.
“100 percent continuing to play with them was the reason for the switch,” Tetairoa said. “There’s just not many guys who can say they’ve played together from youth ball all the way through college. We’ll be able to say that.”
Fifita and Burnett also have already graduated early and will be joining McMillan for spring practices in Tucson. Manu will graduate from Servite in June and will be there in the fall.
Since TMac is the youngest of four siblings (older brother Wyatt, older sisters Alexis and Kiana), him leaving early for college also means it might be an adjustment for parents Wyatt Sr. and Shawny. It’s a little closer by around 400 miles to Tucson compared to Eugene, though, plus it might take Mom and Dad a long time to sift through all of the awards and honors that have been given to their son.
Here is the all-time list of Mr. Football State Players of the Year (all selected by Cal-Hi Sports but done retroactively based on research prior to 1975 by our late founder, the great Nelson Tennis):
2021 — Tetairoa McMillan (Servite, Anaheim) WR/DB
2020 — Raesjon Davis (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) LB*
2019 — DJ Uiagalelei (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) QB
2018 — Bru McCoy (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) WR
2017 — JT Daniels (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) QB (Jr.)*
2016 — Wyatt Davis (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) OL
2015 — Najee Harris (Antioch) RB (Jr.)
2014 — Jake Browning (Folsom) QB
2013 — Adoree’ Jackson (Serra, Gardena) WR-DB
2012 — Michael Hutchings (De La Salle, Concord) LB
2011 — Deontay Greenberry (Washington Union, Easton) WR-DB
2010 — Dano Graves (Folsom) QB
2009 — Dillon Baxter (Mission Bay, San Diego) QB-RB
2008 — Tyler Gaffney (Cathedral Catholic, SD) RB
2007 — Milton Knox (Birmingham, Lake Balboa) RB
2006 — Aaron Corp (Lutheran, Orange) QB
2005 — Toby Gerhart (Norco) RB
2004 — Desean Jackson (Poly, Long Beach) WR-DB-KR
2003 — Sean Norton (Hart, Newhall) QB
2002 — Whitney Lewis (St. Bonaventure) WR-RB
2001 — Derek Landri (De La Salle, Concord) OL-DL
2000 — Tyler Ebell (Ventura) RB
1999 — D.J. Williams (De La Salle, Concord) RB-LB
1998 — Kyle Boller (Hart, Newhall) QB
1997 — DeShaun Foster (Tustin) RB
1996 — Rod Perry (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) WR-DB
1995 — Chris Claiborne (J.W. North, Riverside) RB-LB
1994 — Daylon McCutcheon (Bishop Amat, La Puente) RB-DB
1993 — Keith Smith (Newbury Park) QB
1992 — Travis Kirschke (Esperanza, Anaheim) OL-DL
1991 — Amani Toomer (De La Salle, Concord) WR
1990 — Napoleon Kaufman (Lompoc) RB
1989 — Ryan Hancock (Monta Vista, Cupertino) QB
1988 — Tommie Smith (Antelope Valley, Lancaster) RB-DB
1987 — Bret Johnson (El Toro) QB
1986 — Russell White (Crespi, Encino) RB (Soph.)
1985 — Terry Rodgers (Sweetwater, National City) RB-KR
1984 — Aaron Emanuel (Quartz Hill) RB
1983 — Ryan Knight (Rubidoux, Riverside) RB
1982 — John Paye (Menlo School, Atherton) QB
1981 — Kevin Willhite (Cordova, Rancho Cordova) RB
1980 — Michael Alo (Banning, Wilmington) FB
1979 — Kerwin Bell (Edison, Huntington Beach) RB
1978 — John Elway (Granada Hills) QB
1977 — Marcus Allen (Lincoln, San Diego) QB
1976 — Freeman McNeil (Banning, Wilmington) RB
1975 — Charles White (San Fernando) RB
1974 — Myron White (Santa Ana Valley) RB
1973 — Frank Manumaluena (Banning, Wilmington) LB
1972 — Wally Henry (Lincoln, San Diego) RB
1971 — John Sciarra (Bishop Amat, La Puente) QB
1970 — Pat Haden (Bishop Amat, La Puente) QB
1969 — James McAlister (Blair, Pasadena) RB
1968 — Jesse Freitas (Serra, San Mateo) QB
1967 — Calvin Jones (Balboa, San Francisco) RB (Jr.)
1966 — Mickey Cureton (Centennial, Compton) RB
1965 — Greg Jones (South San Francisco) RB
1964 — George Buehler (Whittier) LB-OL
1963 — Tim Rossovich (St. Francis, MV) LB
1962 — Steve Grady (Loyola, Los Angeles) RB
1961 — Mike Garrett (Roosevelt, Los Angeles) RB
1960 — Kent Nance (Madera) RB
1959 — Willie Brown (Poly, Long Beach) RB
1958 — Daryle Lamonica (Clovis) QB
1957 — Jim Josephson (Bellarmine, San Jose) FB
1956 — Randy Meadows (Downey) RB
1955 — Mickey Flynn (Anaheim) RB (Jr.)
1954 — Dick Bass (Vallejo) RB
1953 — C.R. Roberts (Oceanside) RB
1952 — Ronnie Knox (Santa Monica) QB
1951 — Marty Keough (Pomona) RB
1950 — Charley Powell (San Diego) E
1949 — Paul Larson (Turlock) HB
1948 — Johnny Olszewski (St. Anthony, Long Beach) FB
1947 — Hugh McElhenny (L.A. Washington) FB
1946 — Al Pollard (L.A. Loyola) HB
1945 — Paul Haynes (Pasadena) HB
1944 — Jackie Jensen (Oakland) HB
1943 — Don Burnside (Grant, North Sacramento) QB
1942 — Glenn Davis (Bonita, La Verne) QB
1941 — Billy Agnew (Piedmont) HB
1940 — Tommy Fears (L.A. Manual Arts) E
1939 — Johnny Petrovich (Alhambra) QB
1938 — Jim Jurkovich (Fresno) FB
1937 — Frankie Albert (Glendale) QB
1936 — Mike Klotovich (San Francisco Mission) HB
1935 — Kenny Washington (L.A. Lincoln) QB
1934 — Doyle Nave (L.A. Manual Arts) HB
1933 — Vic Bottari (Vallejo) QB
1932 — Nello “Flash” Falaschi (Bellarmine, San Jose) HB
1931 — Larry Lutz (Santa Ana) T
1930 — Charles “Chili” Bertoli (Berkeley) HB
1929 — Ervin “Cotton” Warburton (San Diego) QB (Jr.)
1928 — Orv Mohler (Alhambra) QB
1927 — Gus Shaver (Covina) HB
1926 — Erny Pinckert (San Bernardino) FB
1925 — Francis Tappaan (Los Angeles) T
*Davis was a senior and played in five-game spring season in 2021. Daniels played as a junior during the 2017 season and is being listed as a junior for this list. He reclassified to senior status after the season with goal of graduating early.
Note: List continues back to 1890 in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac.