SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Javance Tupouata-Johnson from Chaminade of West Hills and Jake Bianchi from Menlo School of Atherton. Photos: &

Just like last week, this week is one in which two criteria for this feature have been met, finding hidden talent that doesn’t always get the limelight, and tracking entries for the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book. We start out in Southern California in the San Fernando Valley, then head south to the Orange County community of Rancho Santa Margarita, before heading back north to Carson. In Northern California, we visit Atherton, then go south of Sacramento to Galt and finish in a northeastern suburb of the Capital City in Orangevale.

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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

Javance Tupuoata-Johnson (Chaminade, West Hills) Sr.

We return to the San Fernando Valley once again and it’s in West Hills at Chaminade that we find a senior dual-threat quarterback who has had a huge hand in the Eagles getting off to a 7-0 start and snagging the No. 9 spot in the most recent Cal-Hi Sports state rankings.

Some analysts feel last week’s performance by Tupuoata-Johnson may have been the best of his career, and as fate may have it, his outstanding outing came in a 65-34 victory over the school he transferred from, Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.

In the air, Javance passed for 292 yards and four TDs with no interceptions. On the ground, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound San Diego State-commit rushed for 111 yards on only seven carries with one touchdown.

The Eagles have a lot of offensive firepower, as evidenced by the 139 yards rushing and three TDs against Notre Dame by senior running back Jaelon Barbarin, so Javance isn’t the only one that can advance the pigskin, but his numbers this season are very solid.

So far, Tupuoata-Johnson has passed for 1,036 yards and 12 TDs with zero interceptions. On the ground he’s rushed for 348 yards on 20 carries (11.6 yards per carry) with five touchdowns.

Jaxon Potter has been setting records at Santa Margarita, a school that once had possible NFL Hall of Famer Carson Palmer playing QB. Photo: Mark Tennis / Cal-Hi Sports.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Jaxon Potter
(Santa Margarita Catholic, Rancho SM) Sr.

Southeastern Orange County is where we continue this week’s journey and we land in Rancho Santa Margarita at Santa Margarita Catholic to honor the Southern California Offensive Player of the Week.

We like to play with names and throw in some clichés, and for the Eagles’ quarterback Jaxon was certainly an “action Jackson,” and the performance he turned in to win the award had Potter working magic just like Harry Potter.

Last week, in a 29-28 victory over JSerra of San Juan Capistrano that boosted Santa Margarita Catholic four spots to No. 14 in the most recent state rankings, and dropped JSerra to No. 17, Potter passed for 412 yards and two TDs, with 319 yards coming in the first half. Even so, the teams were knotted at 21-21 after two quarters.

The host Eagles fell behind 28-21 after three quarters but Potter pulled a rabbit out of his helmet when after Taurian Nash scored on a 1-yard plunge head coach Anthony Rouzier decided to gamble and go for a deuce. Unlike the Las Vegas Raiders who failed at their attempt to win with a 2-point conversion, Potter and the Eagles succeeded when the 6-foot-4, 180-pound senior signal-caller dropped back to pass and threw a strike to Kyle Brody to close out the scoring. The final tally came with around nine minutes remaining and from there the Santa Margarita Catholic defense sealed the deal.

For Potter, he got the 412 yards on 37 of 45 attempts. Not only did the 37 completions break his school record of 34 completions set last season, he now gets his name in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book a second time on the Most Completions (Game) list to go with last season’s performance.

So far this season Potter has passed for 1,762 yards and 18 TDs with only one interception, and those are top 20 reported marks in the CIF Southern Section.

We’re sure Jaxon would not only like to give a shout out to the defense for its fourth quarter efforts, but also to his favorite target Emmett Mosley. The junior wide receiver had 14 catches for 152 yards and one touchdown, and while neither of those marks makes the record rook, the 14 receptions ties for second best in school history.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Nazarus Williams (Carson) Soph.

Los Angeles County north of Long Beach and east of Torrance, and not far from the stadium that was the original home of the modern day state CIF Bowl Game championships, is where we land and find the Southern California Defensive Player of the Week.

This is one of those diamond in the rough budding stars findings because Williams is only a sophomore, and we couldn’t find him on the recruiting radar.

Last week, Nazarus certainly mad a fuss as a defensive back plus more in a 46-7 rout of a Harbor City Narbonne team that was the 2017 CIF Division 1-A Bowl Game state champions.

All Williams did on defense was register three interceptions, one of which he took 31 yards to the house for pick six. He also deflected a pass and had four tackles.

His offensive production doesn’t really go towards the honor but it certainly counts. The defensive back turned quarterback on one play and threw a 60-yard TD pass. Nazarus also had three rushing attempts for 17 yards, and he even caught two passes for 15 yards.

Talk about getting some touches.

Williams now has five interceptions this season, and at 6-foot-2 he’s gotten up there to deflect five more passes, and last but not least he has 40 tackles with six for losses.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Jake Bianchi (Menlo School, Atherton) Sr.

We make another visit to an area known as The Peninsula and land just south of the midway point between San Francisco and San Jose in Atherton at The Menlo School.

There we find a senior quarterback that bided his time, and now is following in the footsteps of more than one Knights’ standout signal-caller.

The tradition of top-notch quarterbacks from Menlo dates back to 1982 when current Knights’ girls basketball head coach John Paye, who went on the Stanford and the NFL, was named the Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Football State Player of the Year. Jump ahead 39 years to the player Bianchi replaced, 2021 State Small School Player of the Year Sergio Beltran.

Now, Bianchi is the latest Knights’ quarterback to watch.

Last week, in a 30-10 Peninsula Athletic League – Bay Division victory over Medium School Aragon of San Mateo for the No. 12 ranked team in the most recent Small School state rankings, Bianchi put up some Beltran-like numbers after completing 15 of 20 passes for 407 yards and four TDs with no interceptions.

The 407 yards passing was a season and career high for the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Bianchi. He now has passed for 1,250 yards and 11 TDs with five interceptions so far this season.

Arthur Draeger is one of the state’s leading scorers for TDs and points plus he has been collecting a lot of tackles on defense. Photo: Sac-Hi Sports /

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

Arthur Draeger (Liberty Ranch, Galt) Sr.

Not far south of Elk Grove and around a mile east of Highway 99 at Liberty Ranch in Galt is where we find the Northern California Special Teams/Multi-Purpose Player of the Week.

Last week, in a 35-16 victory over Sacramento Rosemont that gets Liberty Ranch to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the Sierra Valley Conference, Draeger led the offense with 150 yards rushing and four TDs, and the 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior running back also had a 10-yard pass reception.

On defense at middle linebacker, Draeger registered a season-high 16 tackles with one for loss, including a sack.

So far this season, Draeger has rushed for 1,170 yards and 20 TDs, and he has 228 yards receiving with two more scores.

Defensively, Arthur has 77 tackles with 13 for losses including 2.5 sacks. He also has two pass interceptions, one he returned for a pick six, and six batted passes. Draeger has even had a couple of kickoff returns.

Of note is Arthur’s 23 total touchdowns is the No. 5 reported mark in the state and tops in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Daniel Renner (Casa Roble, Orangevale) Jr.

Our destination in search of the Northern California Defensive Player of the Week takes us around 25-miles east of Sacramento smack dab in the middle between Interstate 80 and Highway 50 and around two miles from the shores of Folsom Lake.

In Orangevale at Casa Roble we uncover a two-way star who could have been a Special Teams/Multi-Purpose winner that snags the defensive award for what he did in his most recent performance as well as his overall body of work for the 6-1 Rams.

Last week was like another day at the office for Daniel on defense in a 47-0 shellacking of Rio Linda. From his outside linebacker position, Renner registered 11 tackles with two for loss including 1.5 sacks. He also forced a fumble and deflected a pass.

On offense, Renner rushed for a season-high 122 yards and one touchdown.

So far this season, Renner has 90 tackles (12.9 per game) with 20 for losses and 5.5 sacks, the forced fumble and one fumble recovery, plus five deflected passes.

On offense, Daniel has rushed for 309 yards and three TDs and he even has 22 yards receiving.

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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