SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week are Richie Munoz from Charter Oak of Covina (left) and R.L. Miller from Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco. Munoz is shown in game vs Ayala of Chino Hills. Miller is making catch in game vs Burlingame. Photos: & Willie Eashman / Cal-Hi Sports.

From the outset of this feature that started many years ago, the object has been to track potential entries in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book and find hidden talent that doesn’t always find the spotlight other than on a local level, and this week we have both. We start out in Southern California in Covina, then head to the city of Los Angeles before ending up in Redlands. In Northern California, our stops are in the city of San Francisco, Antelope and then in the Northern Section town of Colusa.

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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
Offensive Player of the Week

Richie Munoz (Charter Oak, Covina) Sr.

We venture around 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Valley and the city of Covina to honor our Southern California Offensive Player of the Week.

At Charter Oak, we find a senior quarterback who has played a huge role in helping lead the Chargers to a 9-0 record this season, including his most recent performance when Munoz was on the money.

Last Friday night, in a 45-42 home victory over Bonita of LaVerne that came right down to the wire, Munoz was 26 of 39 for 374 yards and four TDs, plus he ran for a fifth score.

The game had seven ties and never saw either team lead by more than a touchdown.

Charter Oak took a 42-35 lead with 7:30 remaining on a 64-yard TD pass from Munoz to senior Jayden Alexander but Bonita came right back and tied it for the seventh and final time with 5:29 remaining.

After a couple of traded possessions, Bonita was driving for the winning score when Charter Oak’s Isaiah Johnson intercepted a pass on its own 37-yard line with 2:24 left to play.

From there, Richie made the Chargers rich by getting Charter Oak down to the Bonita 18-yard line in five plays to set up Luis Marin for a 35-yard field goal to seal the deal with 27 ticks left on the clock.

So far this season for a Charter Oak team that currently sits On the Bubble of the most recent state rankings but is No. 1 in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune rankings, Munoz has passed for 2,499 yards and 32 TDs with only two interceptions for a sparkling 142.1 quarterback rating. He has been a starting varsity quarterback since his freshman season at La Salle of Pasadena and transferred to Charter Oak for his senior year. So far, so good.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Juju Zamudio (Garfield, Los Angeles) Jr.

Our travels take us around five miles east of downtown Los Angeles to East Los Angeles and Garfield High, a school founded in 1925 and a current member of the CIF Los Angeles City Section.

It’s at Garfield we find our Southern California Defensive Player of the Week. Our honoree goes to Garfield, but the feats for which he is being honored came on the biggest stage L.A. has to offer.

Harkening back to an era of the past when huge crowds would gather at the Los Angeles Coliseum to watch Los Angeles city prep football, it was throwback time last Friday night.

With 30,000 fans (it’s also been reported at 45,000) at the Coliseum to see Garfield take on crosstown city section rival Roosevelt in the East L.A. Classic, in a game that like many in years past but not so often today, was a defensive slugfest, Zamudio shined on defense. Why not give our SoCal defensive award this week to the game’s defensive star?

In a 16-8 victory that saw Garfield trail 8-0 at halftime, Juju came through after the 5-foot-11, 170-pound linebacker led the defense by registering a game-high 19 tackles for a Bulldogs defense that had five players in double-digits for tackles. The Black-Eyed Peas showed their support for the community they’re from with a halftime concert.

So far this season for 7-2 Garfield, the Bulldogs’ junior has made 99 tackles. His previous season high was 15 tackles in a victory vs Huntington Park.

The Garfield defense, which was led by junior Juju Zamudio with 19 tackles, gets lined up against Roosevelt’s double-wing in game at L.A. Coliseum. Photo: @CIFLACS /

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

Kristian Johnson (Citrus Valley, Redlands) Sr.

The far eastern reaches of the Inland Empire around 10 miles east of San Bernardino in Redlands is our destination in search of the Southern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week.

We’ve tweaked and expanded this category starting this season to include multi-purpose performances but at Citrus Valley we find a traditional special teams player who garnered this week’s honors with his foot as a placekicker and punter.

Johnson, who is rated as a 5-star kicker and 4.5-star punter by the prestigious web site, and who carries a 4.3 GPA in the classroom, had a pretty good week two weeks ago in helping the 7-2 Blackhawks get win No. 200 for veteran head coach Kurt Bruich. He did just as well last week to win the award.

In a 45-7 home victory over neighboring Yucaipa, the 5-foot-10, 155-pound Johnson had another day at the office after going 6-for-6 on PATs and converting his only field goal attempt from 29 yards out. He also had seven kickoffs with three touchbacks.

Last week in the record-setting 55-6 win for Coach Bruich over crosstown Redlands East Valley, Kristian was 8-for-8 on PATs and had nine kickoffs with eight for touchbacks.

So far this season Johnson is 42-of-44 on PATs, and 6-of-10 on field goals with a longest of 48 yards. He also has had 56 kickoffs and a 59.0 yard average with 47 going for touchbacks. He didn’t punt in the past two games but on the season Johnson has punted 21 times with a 37.4 yard average per punt, six inside the 20 and a longest of 54 yards.

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

R.L. Miller (Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Francisco) Sr.

We head to the heart of San Francisco and a block off of Van Ness Avenue to honor the Northern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week.

Miller goes to school near downtown San Francisco but the Fightin’ Irish play their home football games at historic Kezar Stadium a couple of miles west of the school near Golden Gate Park, and that’s where Miller earned the honors.

Last week, in an impressive 30-17 West Catholic Athletic League victory over Bellarmine of San Jose that gets the Fightin’ Irish to 5-3 and 3-2 in the WCAL, Miller, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound linebacker and wide receiver, scored three touchdowns three different ways. R.L. caught a 20-yard TD pass, he had a 47-yard pick six, and he completed the trifecta by forcing a fumble, recovering it, and rumbling 34yards to the house for his third score. For good measure, Miller was 3-for-3 as a kicker on PATs and had four tackles on defense.

Miller, who is one of two D1 Pac-12 commits along with Oregon-committed Jerry Mixon, who had 11 tackles against Bellarmine, has remained committed to Arizona State despite what will be a coaching change for next season.

His numbers so far this season are 28 pass receptions for 608 yards and seven TDs, four interceptions, three of which he’s taken to paydirt for scores, six deflected passes, the forced fumble, a scoring fumble recovery, a 78-yard kickoff return, and 25 tackles.

Antelope’s Jasiah Bateman looks for an open receiver during game last season. Photo: David Gershon / SportStars.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Jasiah Bateman (Antelope) Sr.

The suburbs of Sacramento around 20-miles northeast of the state capitol on the I-80 corridor is where we find the Northern California Offensive Player of the Week.

With Capital Conference foe River Valley of Yuba City cancelling its season for an incident reported by local media, the Titans were looking for an opponent and Cal-Hi Sports state small school ranked powerhouse Sonora answered the call and invited the Titans out to the Sierra Nevada foothills a little over 100-miles southeast of Antelope via Highway 49.

It was anything but easy, however Bateman took the bait and the Titans’ quarterback passed for a whopping 540 yards with six touchdowns in a wild 53-51 victory that gets Antelope to 7-3 this season.

The 540 yards passing is good enough to get Bateman a spot in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book on the Most Yards (Game) list in the passing category.

So far this season, Bateman, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior, has passed for 1,986 yards and 24 TDs with no interceptions for a solid 121.1 quarterback rating.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Dominic Salazar (Colusa) Sr.

It’s a CIF Northern Section stop for our last destination this week as we hit a school and town several miles to the east of Williams off of I-5 along Highway 20 in the Sacramento Valley.

We almost selected Dominic’s junior teammate, William McCoy, from earlier in the season, but it will be him this time. They are the leading tacklers for a Colusa team that improved to 8-0 with a 38-0 victory last week over Live Oak. According to local writer Jennifer Corriea, the RedHawks are having their best season since 1972 when they went undefeated.

Salazar has been the leading tackler on the team with 14.5 per game and he had one of his top outings against Live Oak with 18. The reason he’s been elevated to NorCal Player of the Week, though, is that in the same game he also came up with a pair of interceptions. Salazar also had eight tackles and one interception in his previous game, which also was a shutout by the Colusa defense (35-0) over Durham.

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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