SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week are Delon Thompson from St. Bonaventure of Ventura and Jerry Rigumidin from Stagg of Stockton. Jerry is shown with head coach Don Norton. Photos: Courtesy school & Mark Tennis / Cal-Hi Sports.


All 10 CIF sections in the state were in action last weekend and we have honorees from cities such as Ventura, Carlsbad, Los Angeles, Stockton, San Jose and Elk Grove. While the performance of our SoCal offensive player of the week was seen in person by Cal-Hi Sports, the NorCal offensive player of the week was seen in person during a visit to the school on Tuesday afternoon by Cal-Hi Sports.

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Notes: NorCal offense this week by Mark Tennis. We have a new twist to this feature that give more flexibility to one of the honorees by expanding the Special Teams category to now be Multi-Purpose/Special Teams. Multi-Purpose is already a category for All State honors. For these honors, we also consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate anyone, email markjtennis@gmail.com.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Delon Thompson (St. Bonaventure, Ventura) Sr.

More often than not when we talk about landing in or visiting a town or area it’s usually meant metaphorically, but last week was an exception. We found ourselves on holiday in Ventura County last week and decided to take in the Friday night match-up at Ventura College between host St. Bonaventure and Pacifica of Oxnard in what promised to be a good game. So when we say we landed in Ventura to find our Southern California Offensive Player of the Week we really mean it this time.

As for the game itself, it was a game for the ages for the Seraphs and their fans, and has been the case so many times in over four decades of covering high school football, we were there when the lights were shining brightest, and this time it was for Thompson.

Last Friday, in a 46-41 victory over Pacifica, and in front of a packed house of both Seraphs and Tritons fans all sitting together in the one set of bleachers, Thompson dazzled the St. Bonaventure fans and deflated the Pacifica faithful by rushing for a school record 369 yards on 33 carries with six touchdowns. Of his totals, 245 yards came in the second half with 193 yards and three TDs in the fourth quarter when St. Bonaventure had to overcome a 34-25 deficit.

The fourth quarter onslaught by the 5-foot-9, 196-pound running back began when Pacifica missed a 33-yard field goal that would have given the Tritons a 12-point lead. From there, Thompson went to work. First he rushed for 11 yards. Then after an incomplete pass he ran for two, 25, six, four and finally broke one for a 32-yard TD romp. That made it 34-22 with 8:43 remaining.

Pacifica came right back and scored to make it 41-32 but Thompson was just starting to rev up the engines. On the first play after the ensuing kick-off, he blasted past everyone and this time he raced 60 yards to pay dirt. After a successful 2-point conversion, the Seraphs now faced a 41-40 deficit with 4:34 remaining.

Thompson still had unfinished business but needed the defense to have his back and it came through with a fourth down stop at the 48-yard line. After a 5-yard penalty Thompson had all the carries in the final drive. He ran for seven, 31 and six yards, and on the final play he scored from 9-yards out for the Seraphs’ final tally and first lead of the game with 1:44 left to play.

Despite Delon’s heroics, the game was far from over. Pacifica drove 39 yards to the Seraphs 21-yard line but on the final play of the game defensive star Jared Barlow picked off a pass in the end zone to secure the victory as the St. Bonaventure sidelines and fans in the stands went bonkers.

One Tweet about the game from a fan said “this stuff can’t be made up. We saw it with our own eyes.” Indeed we did and before we even left the stadium the nomination for this honor was sealed.

“It is truly special, yet not at all surprising, to witness what Delon is doing right now and the impressive run that he is on,” said head coach and 2003 St. Bonaventure graduate Joe Goyeneche. “He’s doing the things on the field that put him in elite company with other backs like Lorenzo Booker, Whitney Lewis, and Darrell Scott, who are the best to ever wear green and gold.

“Delon is a complete back that does everything on the field, but is an even better young man,” Goyeneche continued. “He’s humble, intelligent, hard-working, and a leader on our team. I’m so lucky that I have the opportunity to coach Delon and see what he does on a daily basis.”

Booker, who held the previous school rushing record of 352 yards, was watching from the sidelines.

And what does Thompson have to say about his performance and putting the team on his back? Naturally his answer was humble and he had to thank his defense.

“Coach trusted me,” Thompson said. “Getting reps in practice increased my endurance. There wasn’t any doubt that we couldn’t win. I trust the defense and the big-time playmakers on it.”

Heading into another tough match-up with San Diego Lincoln for the 1-1 Seraphs, Thompson has rushed for 605 yards with the six TDs, plus he has two TDs receiving.

Delon now also has a statewide honor to go along being named the Ventura County Star boys Athlete of the Week.

What Thompson surprisingly doesn’t have is a college offer. Possibly and hopefully that may change soon.

Aidan Moss led Cathedral in passing and rushing yards last season. Photo: Twitter.com.


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

Aidan Moss (Cathedral, Los Angeles) Sr.

The search for the Southern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week finds us about a mile north of downtown Los Angeles and just across the 110 freeway from the home of the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.

At Cathedral, we honor a dual-threat three-year starting quarterback who has helped get the Phantoms off to a 2-0 start after the perennially strong program suffered through a 1-8 season overall and an 0-4 record last year in a very tough Angelus League..

Last week, in a 39-38 barnburner with the Phantoms coming out on top of Long Beach Millikan, Cathedral needed every bit of Moss’s production and the 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior signal-caller came through with a 23 of 30 passing performance for 348 yards and five TDs, plus he had 94 yards rushing.

Cathedral and Moss will be tested this week against state-ranked Serra of Gardena, but the Cavaliers better not take this QB and this team too lightly.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Ratumana Bulabalavu (Army-Navy, Carlsbad) Jr.

For our Southern Defensive Player of the Week, we head to the north San Diego County portion of the CIF San Diego Section, and there we land in Carlsbad, which is not only home to Legoland but our honoree as well.

Last week, in a 24-0 victory over Clairemont of San Diego, the junior linebacker who also plays on the offensive line, had 17 tackles (10 solo) with five for loss including three sacks.

Two weeks ago, Bulabalavu played we see you for a first time this season when Ratumana and the Warriors’ defense pitched the first of their two shutouts so far this season. In that game, a 29-0 win vs Temecula Prep of Winchester, he had seven tackles but five were for loss with 3.5 sacks. The 6.5 sacks for Bulabalavu is the top reported mark in the San Diego Section so far and No. 2 in the state.

Last season, Bulabalavu was a just miss for an all-state small schools selection after recording 75 tackles and 18 sacks as a sophomore.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Jerry Rigumidin (Stagg, Stockton) Sr.

It wasn’t a given that Rigumidin was going to be the starting quarterback for the Delta Kings this season, but according to head coach Don Norton he’s done everything asked of him since January.

“He works hard and really puts in the time to be the starting quarterback,” said Norton on Tuesday in a visit by Cal-Hi Sports to the school. “He hasn’t missed anything, period. The other kids have totally responded to him.”

That was especially apparent last Friday when Rigumidin had a monster game in leading Stagg past Sierra of Manteca, 41-21, to even its record at 1-1. Jerry connected on 16 of 26 passes for 391 yards and five touchdowns. He hit on a 93-yarder to teammate Adam Taylor, who also had a big night with six catches for 196 yards and three scores.

“It is the first big game like that I’ve ever had, but I had confidence and we had good practices all week,” Rigumidin said. “And we had to win for Coach Norton.”

What the QB was referring to was Norton, in his 17th season at the school and a longtime assistant before that, becoming the winningest coach in school history. He won his 101st game, surpassing the previous best of 100 set by his predecessor, Joe Nava.

“It’s a bigger win for the kids because it’s their first one of the season,” Norton added. “That is a lot more important.”

Still, Rigumidin knows he and his teammates are fortunate to have a coach like Norton (who is totally dedicated to his kids and loyal to his school) in their corner.

“He motivates me and he’s been the best coach I’ve ever had,” the senior said. “We hope to keep it going.”

Quinton Togia’i from Overfelt of San Jose had 14 tackles and two sacks in his first game. Photo: Overfelt HS / Twitter.com.


Cal-Hi Sports
Northern California Defensive
Player of the Week

Quinton Togia’i (Overfelt, San Jose) Sr.

Do you know the way to San Jose? We do, and that’s our destination for this week’s Northern California Defensive Player of the Week where we honor a player from Overfelt, one of San Jose’s public schools just east of downtown.

Last week, in a 22-7 victory over Alvarez of Salinas, Togia’i wasn’t playing tag, he was playing tackle football after finishing with 14 tackles and two sacks.

After what he did on offense, Quinton could have gone multi-purpose for this week after rushing for 122 yards on 11 carries. He’s just more of a defensive player, though, and we had another special teams player we could choose.

Last season, the 6-foot-1, 226-pound linebacker and running back who reportedly is starting to catch the eye of some colleges, led the team with 80 tackles and 14 sacks. Quinton was also the team’s leading rusher with over 1,000 yards.

Wayshawn Parker returns a kick in team’s first game vs Granite Bay. Photo: John Hull / Elk Grove Citizen.


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

Wayshawn Parker (Elk Grove) Jr.

We head around 15-miles south of the state capitol and just off Highway 99 to Elk Grove where a Thundering Herd junior running back, defensive back and special teams performer has snagged the Northern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams honors.

Last week, in a 61-21 victory over Antelope, Wayshawn was literally gone just about every time he touched the pigskin.

Parker only rushed twice but one of them was a 72-yard scamper to pay dirt for a score. The one touches didn’t stop there. On his lone kickoff return the 5-10, 185-pound junior rambled 95 yards for a touchdown – and finally, on his only punt return he took it to the house for a 93-yard touchdown. That’s three TDs scored three different ways, a true multi-purpose performance. Parker also had two tackles on defense for good measure.

Two weeks ago in a loss to Granite Bay, Parker had a 24-yard TD reception on the one pass he caught. For the season, that’s four scores four different ways.

Last season as a sophomore, Parker had 533 yards rushing and eight TDs, and on defense he recorded 135 tackles (92 solo) with a sack and an interception.

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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