SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are two-way standouts Scott Nixon (left) from Sheldon of Sacramento and Chase Martin of Thousand Oaks. Photos: & Mark Bausman / For OC Sports Zone.

This week we don’t have any entries for the Cal-Hi Sports online record book, which is one of the things we track for this feature, but we did find some hidden talent from honorees that don’t often get a statewide spotlight, and that’s a second aspect of these weekly honors. Our stops this week are in the San Fernando Valley in Canoga Park, and Anaheim and Thousand Oaks in Southern California. In Northern California, we find award winners in Orosi, Atherton and Sacramento.

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Notes: We have a new twist to this feature that gives 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

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

Chase Martin (Thousand Oaks) Sr.

The search for our Southern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week takes us to a city close to the Ventura/Los Angeles County border.

At Thousand Oaks is where we honor a 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior linebacker and running back known mostly for his defense, but multi-purpose is the award he snags this week.

Last week, in a 41-38 double-overtime victory over visiting Newbury Park that gets Thousand Oaks to 5-0 on the season, Martin led five Lancers in double-digit tackles with 13, and with half a sack plus a deflected pass.

On offense, Martin rushed for all three of the Lancers’ TDs on the ground, the last one coming when Newbury Park couldn’t chase Chase down until after he crossed the goal line on a 5-yard run that won the game.

So far this season on defense, Martin, who has offers from Central Michigan and Ohio University as a linebacker, has 67 total tackles with 47 solo, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

On offense, Chase has 448 yards rushing and nine TDs, and 158 yards receiving with three more scores.

We said last week in state stat stars that Corie Ruell of Canoga Park looks like one of the top RBs in the CIF L.A. City Section this season. Then he went out and proved it again. Photo: @CanogaFootball.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Corie Ruell (Canoga Park) Sr.

We kick off this week with a visit to the San Fernando Valley and a stop at Canoga Park. It’s there where the old expression “go to the head of the class” is a pretty accurate description for our Southern California Offensive Player of the Week.

Two weeks ago, Ruell was sitting with the rest of his classmates in our weekly State Stat Stars feature. Although he got his picture imbedded in that feature, now he’s been called up to receive an individual statewide honor of his own after doing what he did this past week by going even more nuts and surpassing what he did two weeks ago.

In a 50-20 victory last week over host San Fernando High that got the Hunters to 2-4 on the season, Ruell ran for 403 yards and five touchdowns. The yardage mark is just short of making the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book but it is a school record.

Two weeks ago when Canoga Park got its first win of the season, the 5-foot-8, 165-pound Ruell ruled the roost for a first time after rushing for 235 yards and two TDs in a 23-6 victory at Panorama of Panorama City. That’s 638 yards and two TDs in the first two games of Valley Mission League play. We didn’t have an exact number but according to our honoree he had around 125 yards on the ground in his first game at running back.

Last season, Ruell caught 35 passes as a wide receiver when the Hunters went 8-5 and 5-1 in league, and that’s the position he started at to begin the season. Now, he’s in his third game as the primary running back.

“We recently moved him to running back as it was beneficial to the team to have him at running back instead of wide receiver,” said Canoga Park head coach David Perez. “Friday was his third game as the primary running back.”

Sounds like Perez and his staff made the right move and as a result its earned Ruell this week’s SoCal offensive honors.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Troy Mills (Canyon, Anaheim) Sr.

To find our Southern California Defensive Player of the Week honoree, we head to the eastern reaches of Anaheim and less than a mile south of the 91 Freeway and the Santa Ana River. At Canyon, we find a 6-foot, 215-pound two-sport star that at times has been like a one-man wrecking crew, and his most recent performance is a perfect example.

Last week, in a 41-7 rout of Brea Olinda of Brea that got Canyon to 5-0 this season, Mills must have been taking his protein pills after the Comanches’ linebacker posted 17 tackles with one for loss, plus he had three pass deflections.

For most high school linebackers that would be career day, but for Mills it wasn’t even his best outing of the season. That came in the second game this season and in a 28-22 victory over Irvine when Troy had 23 tackles with 1.5 for a loss, plus a forced fumble.

So far this season Mills has 81 tackles with seven for losses. The 81 tackles is the top reported mark in the CIF Southern Section and No. 2 in the state.

The coaching staff even used him once at running back and he scored on a 1-yard plunge.

One of the things Canyon is known for is being the home of one of the nation’s top softball tournaments, the Michelle Carew Classic.

Obviously, Mills doesn’t play high school softball but he does play baseball. In fact, according to his Twitter feed, Troy followed up his feats on the gridiron last weekend by hitting a home run at a USC baseball camp.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Andrew Camarillo (Orosi) Jr.

As a result of another nomination by Cal-Hi Sports contributor and longtime friend Bob Barnett from his weekly Milestones column in the CIF Central Section, we head to “The Valley” as some locals still like the CIF Central Section to be known for.

Barnett sends us about 40-miles southeast of Fresno to Orosi where we land on the Camarillo doorstep, but not the Ventura County city and school, but the doorstep of the Camarillo family where we find this week’s record-setting Northern California Offensive Player of the Week named Andrew Camarillo.

Last week, in a 49-21 victory over Lindsay, Camarillo set a school record by rushing for 387 yards on 29 carries with six touchdowns, a TD number that tied his career best.

Camarillo has had pretty solid numbers all season, but until the Lindsay victory his efforts couldn’t help produce a win for the 1-4 Cardinals.

So far he’s rushed for 910 yards and 11 TDs, and he’s also run for three 2-point conversions, including one in the Lindsay win.

Shay O’Kelly has his all-state small schools patch showing on his lettermen jacket during a trip last spring to Princeton. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Shay O’Kelly (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton) Sr.

We head down to the southernmost part of the Peninsula and just north of Palo Alto to recognize our Northern California Defensive Player of the Week.

At Sacred Heart Prep we find a Gators’ 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior linebacker who had a huge hand in a big victory by one of the state’s top small school powerhouses.

In a 10-7 defensive battle won by the Gators over an always tough Los Gatos, O’Kelly led a stout defense with 12 tackles, two sacks, a quarterback hurry, and he recovered a fumble.

So far this season for the 4-1 Gators, Shay has had his way to the tune of 50 tackles with 10 for losses, the two sacks, three hurries, and three fumble recoveries.

On a side note, his profile says he plays on the Sacred Heart Prep golf team, and with his size and profile it’s probably safe to say the big fella can probably hit that little white ball a long way.

O’Kelly was an all-state small schools selection last season for an SHP team that won the CIF D5-AA state title, but lost in its big rivalry game with Menlo School. O’Kelly is obviously in line to collect even higher honors after this season.

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

Scott Nixon (Sheldon, Sacramento) Sr.

Around 15-miles southeast of the state capitol and just north of Elk Grove is where we land in search of the Northern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week.

It’s at Sheldon where we find our honoree, and the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Huskies’ wide receiver and outside linebacker named Nixon is also the son of Sheldon head coach Chris Nixon.

Last week, in a 49-21 victory over Elk Grove Franklin, Nixon was firing on all cylinders. He rushed for 230 yards on 29 carries with three TDs, he had four pass receptions for 63 yards and a fourth score, but wait there’s more.

On defense, Nixon had five tackles but 2.5 were for losses, and if that’s not enough Nixon also handles the punting duties and against Franklin he punted twice.

On the season, Nixon has rushed for 284 yards and four TDs, and that means the bulk of his rushing came against Franklin. As a receiver is where he has his biggest numbers with 45 pass receptions for 587 yards and six touchdowns.

On defense, Nixon has 27 tackles with 10 for losses, including three sacks. On special teams he’s punted nine times.

Nixon is the epitome our newly defined Multi-Purpose/Special Teams category we tweaked starting this season and we’re glad for him and his dad that he’s enjoying his senior 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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