NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s NorCal/SoCal players of the week are linebacker Wyatt Mosier of Yorba Linda (left) and dual threat quarterback Caden Bailey of Hilmar. Photos: @ylhsfootball / & AnnaMarie Silveira /

This is a week for records for these honors, with entries not only in the Cal-Hi sports Online Record Book, but some school and section records as well. In Northern California we visit Hilmar, Fresno and Fairfield, while in Southern California we have two stops in Orange County at Yorba Linda and Mission Viejo, and complete the journey in Santa Barbara.

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

Caden Bailey (Hilmar) Soph.

Just about six miles south of Turlock on Highway 165 in Hilmar is where we stop to honor this week’s Northern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week.

In a battle of Sac-Joaquin Section small school powers last week, it was the Yellowjackets’ 5-foot-9, 170-pound dual-threat quarterback that did the stinging in a 49-26 victory by Cal-Hi Sports Small School previous No. 8 ranked Hilmar over previous No. 6 ranked Hughson.

In the air, Bailey was a pinpoint 7 of 8 passing for 161 yards, and although he didn’t pass for any TDs he more than made up for it with his running after rushing for 180 yards and four scores.

Caden does most of his damage running the pigskin where he has had three 100-yard rushing games and 544 yards on 54 carries with 10 touchdowns so far this season. Bailey has also passed for 417 yards and one touchdown for 5-3 Hilmar, which also has a big win over Escalon only a couple of weeks after Escalon only lost by one point to Buchanan of Clovis. Bailey had 144 yards rushing in that game.

This is a graphic posted on Twitter recognizing Edison QB Ya’j Vance now being No. 1 on the school’s all-time single game passing yards list. Photo: @SupaStamps /

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Ya’j Vance (Edison, Fresno) Sr.

We find our Northern California Offensive Player of the Week in “The Valley” as the CIF Central Section is still referred to by many locals, and our destination is smack dab in the middle of the section in Fresno at Edison.

Our honoree comes courtesy of the Milestones feature penned by Central Section historian and longtime Cal-Hi Sports friend and contributor Bob Barnett.

Barnett likes to track Central Section and school records and this week he’s charted a few. As for Vance, not only has the 6-foot-2, 171-pound Tigers’ quarterback set some records but in doing so helped two teammates and even the other team set some records as well.

Last week, in a 58-40 win over crosstown Justin Garza, a new school playing its first varsity season, the Edison signal-caller passed for 499 yards and eight TDs with no interceptions. Not only is the passing yardage and number of touchdowns a school record, but the eight TDs ties for second in Central Section history. The two marks also each make the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book on the Most Yards (Game) list and the Most Touchdown Passes (Game) list, respectively.

As for his Tigers’ teammates, sophomore Rashad Perry set a school record with 197 yards receiving, and sophomore Dezjour Malone was right behind Perry with 192 yards receiving with four touchdowns, which is also a school record. Rashad, by the way, is the son of late, great Edison DB coach Tony Perry, who we usually spoke with at many of the Nike combines in the late 1990s and into the 2000s.

Last but not least, coupled with the four TD passes of Garza sophomore quarterback Caleb Matthews, the 12 TD passes combined for the two teams is a Central Section record.

Barnett was certainly busy tabulating all those records in a Fresno-area record fest, but the catalyst was the arm of Vance, and he’s danced his way into the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book and a statewide honor as well.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Gabriel Batres (Rodriguez, Fairfield) Sr.

The far western portion of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and the Solano Valley community of Fairfield is where we find the Northern California Defensive Player of the Week, and at Rodriguez we honor a senior defensive end who has been making some noise on defense not just recently but all season for the 5-3 Mustangs.

Last week’s game was just another example of the kind of season the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Batres has had. In an 18-0 victory over crosstown arch-rival Armijo, Gabriel had a season-high 12 tackles, but six were for losses including five sacks.

The five sacks in a game falls one short of making the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record list for Most QB Sacks (Game) but the 16 sacks he has this season so far leads the Sac-Joaquin Section, is the No. 3 reported mark in the state, and it gets him two-thirds of the way to making the record book where 24 sacks is the current mark needed the make the Most QB Sacks (Season) list.

Besides the 16 sacks this season by Batres, he has 65 tackles with an amazing 34 for losses. He’s also forced three fumble and recovered three, one of which he took for a touchdown, and he has five deflected passes.

Batres hasn’t caught any passes the last two games, but on the season he has 192 yards receiving on 15 catches, six of which were for touchdowns.

Based on his numbers, it’s pretty safe to say when Gabriel is around the ball he’s pretty dangerous.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Wyatt Mosier (Yorba Linda) Sr.

We venture to Orange County for the Southern California Defensive Athlete of the Week, only this time we visit the far northeastern portion of the county in Yorba Linda, and around two miles east of the Richard Nixon Library and Museum.

What we find is a player that is the ultimate tackler for the state No. 43 ranked Mustangs who are now 8-0 this season.

Last week, in a 31-13 victory over Villa Park, Mosier couldn’t have gotten much cozier with the Villa Park offense after the 6-foot-2, 215-pound middle linebacker registered 17 tackles with three for losses, plus he had an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Wyatt also caught three passes on offense for 60 yards.

So far this season, Mosier has 91 tackles with five for losses, and besides the other defensive stats from the Villa Park game he has another interception.

Villa Park didn’t enter its stats for the game but Mosier must have helped bottle up its running back Carter Christie in the win after he rushed for 406 yards two weeks ago.

Mosier came into the Villa Park game with 270 career tackles and according to sources only needed three tackles to break the school record which he’ll get a chance to add to in upcoming games.

Kadin Semonza had a nearly flawless outing for Mission Viejo in win vs San Clemente. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Kadin Semonza (Mission Viejo) Sr.

Southern Orange County at Mission Viejo is where we find the Southern California Offensive Player of the Week, and while we rarely pick a player from a top 10 ranked team, sources confirm the Ball State-committed Diablos quarterback has a solid but fiery attitude and is a leader both on and off the field. Picking him also gives us a chance to do a little rhyming with his name which is something this feature is famous for.

Last week, in a 49-14 road rout by state No. 8 Mission Viejo over No. 42 and neighboring San Clemente, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Semonza put things away in the second stanza after leading the Diablos to a 42-0 halftime lead. Kadin certainly had some cadence after completing 20 of 28 passes for 391 yards and six TDs, and that translates into a 153.3 quarterback rating.

When we say he got things done in two quarters we mean just that since all six of his TD passes came in the first half, and that’s just one shy of making the Most Touchdown Passes (Half) in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book.

So far this season, and playing against some of the state’s toughest teams, Kadin has accounted for 1,988 yards passing with 24 TDs and only three interceptions, and that’s a very solid 135.9 quarterback rating.

In four years with three as a varsity starter, and including his sophomore season when Covid limited Mission Viejo to five games, Semonza has passed for 5,982 yards and 67 TDs with only 13 interceptions for a 129.8 quarterback rating. He’s also rushed for 346 yards and 13 TDs, including seven so far this season.

Mission Viejo once had former State Player of the Year Bret Johnson (El Toro) as offensive coordinator, who wasn’t that big size-wise either but led with the same kind of fiery attitude that Kadin does. Comparing the two isn’t that hard, but since Bret was player of the year in 1987 it shows how old some people are who do this kind of work.

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

Misa Paiau (Bishop Diego, Santa Barbara) Jr.

To find our Southern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week we visit an area known as the Gold Coast. In Santa Barbara at Bishop Diego is where we find Paiau.

Last week, in a 48-21 victory over host Calabasas that got the Cardinals to 5-3 on the season, Paiau had a 47-yard pick six, scored both a rushing and receiving touchdown, forced a fumble, and according the Bishop Diego Twitter handle he had “huge kickoff returns.” The 5-foot-11, 208-pound Paiau also had six tackles with three for losses.

Misa is the epitome of our new expanded category with his performance from this last week.

We know he would want to share the glory and give a shout out to senior teammate Qu’Ran Gossett, who ran for four touchdowns.

Paiau and his team won their first-ever Marmonte League game against Calabasas after it lost in close thrillers 21-20 to St. Bonaventure of Ventura and 24-21 to Oaks Christian (Westlake Village). The only other loss was to Central of Fresno (38-34) with the best win so far probably being the one against St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy since that team hasn’t lost in any other games.

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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