The top three teams in our final small schools state rankings — Escalon, Sacred Heart Prep and St. Pius X-St. Matthias — all land three players on either first or second team for the annual all-state small schools honors. We also have a rare occasion of an eight-man player on the first team and two highly regarded grid-hoopers from Modesto Christian.
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The release of the 44th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Football Teams has reached the halfway point with the small schools teams being announced. Medium schools will follow and then it will be time to select those players from the large schools and among the most recognizable schools in the nation.
Top players from small schools are more apt to be two-way standouts on offense and defense than from the medium or large so it also is more difficult going through all of the possible positions to place many of the players — offense, defense or multi-purpose. It’s also hard to find too many offensive linemen from the small schools since most of the ones who do have local honors tend to be undersized compared to all of the ones we have honored in previous seasons.
Another difficulty this time was looking at players from three schools in particular — Escalon, Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton and St. Pius X-St. Matthias of Downey — who had to be fourth or fifth in the pecking order we came up with off of those teams and then simply running out of room to find additional honors. With just 60 available spots and with having to have a set number of minimum players at offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and defensive back it’s very, very hard to have a team with more than three players selected (other than St. John Bosco and Mater Dei from the large schools).
Escalon, the CIF D4-AA state champion, placed WR Owen Nash and already announced Small Schools State Player of the Year Ryker Peters on first team. Nash caught 61 passes for 1,083 yards and 15 TDs and he had a game-clinching pick six in the state final win vs Northwood of Irvine. Peters rushed for more than 2,000 yards and had nearly 100 tackles on defense. The team’s third honoree is RB/LB Logan Anderson on second team multi-purpose. He and Peters have been locked at the hip as team leaders at Escalon since they were sophomores.
Sacred Heart Prep, which had to play in the top division of the CIF Central Coast Section playoffs but is considered small schools by overall criteria, has two players on first team defense. One of them, LB Shay O’Kelly, is a repeater from last year’s all-state team. The other is DL R.J. Stephens, who has signed to play at Cal. The Gators’ third honoree is WR/DB Carter Shaw, who already has been named All-Bay Area. Carter is the son of outgoing Stanford head coach David Shaw.
St. Pius X-St. Matthias is similar to SHP in that it is considered small school, but had to play up in the CIFSS D3 playoffs. The Warriors also have a repeater from last season with DB Jordan Shaw. He will play next at Indiana and also had D1 offers from Colorado, Arizona and others. The other on first team from St. Pius X is rush end D’Angelo Davis. He was an all-state junior for the 2021 season at Serra of Gardena and continued to shine as a senior at the different school. The third from the team could have been QB Dieter Barr, but he suffered an injury that caused him to miss too many games for all-state this time. Instead, the third is offensive lineman Delvon Hebrand.
Another QB strongly considered who missed too many games due to injury was Garrett Bass-Sulpizio of La Jolla Country Day. The QB that was selected first team is junior Boone Lourd from Brentwood of Los Angeles. Boone passed for more than 2,000 yards and is listed with four D1 offers, including Arizona and Ole Miss.
Players from 8-man football technically can come up and gain an all-state small schools honor since we are not able to do separate 8-man teams. It just doesn’t happen very often. It did this year, however, with Trevin Adams from California School for the Deaf (Riverside). Adams already was on the Riverside Press-Enterprise all-area team right alongside those from Corona Centennial and the like. In 11 reported games during CSD’s 12-0 season, Trevin passed for 2,279 yards & 39 TDs and rushed for 1,116 yards (23 TDs). On defense, Adams had 91 tackles, nine sacks and five picks.
One of the teams with two players selected is Modesto Christian. And of course it helped both WR Jeremiah Bernard and OL Manasse Itete that we’ve seen both play basketball for a team that was the CIF NorCal Open Division champion last season and is favored to repeat this season. Bernard was among the state receiving leaders with 87 catches for 1,313 yards and 13 TDs. Itete is a 6-foot-6, 275-pound dual-sport athlete who is just scratching the surface of what he can do in football. He has offers from 13 schools, including Arizona, Cal, Florida State, USC, Oregon and UCLA.
Note: Schools broken down into large, medium and small based on section playoff divisions but also on where they’ve been traditionally. We also will not generally consider a school close to or above 1,500 enrollment small school at all no matter what section or state playoff division that school is placed. This means schools like Lincoln of San Francisco or Santa Teresa of San Jose, which won CIF state or regional titles this season, can’t ever be a “small” school. Medium, yes. Small, no. Many of the CIF L.A. City Section playoff teams, including D2 and D3, can’t be small schools, either, for same reason.
Cal-Hi Sports All-State Football
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
WR Jeremiah Bernard (Modesto Christian) 6-1, 180, Jr.
WR Owen Nash (Escalon) 6-4, 205, Sr.
OL Roger Alderman (Sonora) 6-5, 275, Sr.
OL Navi Arretche (Hughson) 6-4, 290, Jr.
OL Ivan Becerra (Fillmore) 6-2, 230, Sr.
OL Kai Faucher (Harvard-Westlake, Studio City) 6-6, 280, Sr.
OL Juan Rodriguez (Salesian, Los Angeles) 6-3, 290, Jr.
QB Boone Lourd (Brentwood, Los Angeles) 6-0, 170, Jr.
RB Andrew Camarillo (Orosi) 5-9, 170, Jr.
RB Zach Gross (Rim of the World, Lake Arrowhead) 6-0, 205, Sr.
RB Kai Hall (St. Vincent de Paul, Petaluma) 5-8, 175, Sr.
PK Josiah Thompson (Sutter) 5-11, 160, Soph.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DL Ratumana Bulavalavu
(Army-Navy, Carlsbad) 6-4, 245, Jr.
DL D’Angelo Davis
(St. Pius X-St. Matthias, Downey) 6-1, 190, Sr.
DL Ryan McCulloch
(Rio Hondo Prep, Arcadia) 6-3, 235, Sr.
DL R.J. Stephens
(Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton) 6-3, 245, Sr.
LB Aiden Blackwood (Morro Bay) 6-3, 190, Sr.
LB Kyle Goree (St. Mary’s, Berkeley) 6-0, 205, Sr.
LB Shay O’Kelly
(Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton) 6-2, 220, Sr.
LB Benjamin Wheeler (Lassen, Susanville) 6-3, 200, Sr.
DB William Fowler (Washington, Easton) 6-0, 175, Sr.
DB Brent Green (Dixon) 6-1, 170, Sr.
DB Jordan Shaw
(St. Pius X-St. Matthias, Downey) 6-0, 170, Sr.
P Ethan Gonzalez (Imperial) 6-1, 165, Sr.
FIRST TEAM MULTI-PURPOSE
QB/RB/LB Trevin Adams
(California School for the Deaf, Riverside) 6-1, 200, Sr.
QB/DB Grant Foster (Orland) 5-10, 170, Sr.
RB/LB Kamar Mothudi (Campbell Hall, North Hollywood) 6-3, 220, Jr.
RB/LB Ryker Peters (Escalon) 6-0, 210, Sr.
RB/WR Life Pollard (Classical Academy, Escondido) 5-11, 180, Sr.
RB/DB/PK Chris Williams (Francis Parker, San Diego) 5-10, 170, Sr.
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
WR Devin Sanchez (Coalinga) 5-9, 165, Sr.
OL Harrison Cornell (Ontario Christian) 6-4, 245, Sr.
OL Luke Farr (Army-Navy, Carlsbad) 6-6, 265, Jr.
OL Delvon Hebrand
(St. Pius X-St. Matthias, Downey) 6-3, 280, Sr.
OL Manasse Itete (Modesto Christian) 6-6, 270, Jr.
OL Tyler Sells (Sonora) 6-3, 230, Sr.
QB Jake Bianchi
(Menlo School, Atherton) 6-5, 200, Sr.
RB Hunter Babb (Caruthers) 5-7, 165, Jr.
RB Arthur Draeger (Liberty Ranch, Galt) 5-11, 185, Sr.
RB Marcus Macon
(Palo Verde Valley, Blythe) 5-8, 165, Sr.
RB Jaeden Underwood
(The King’s Academy, Sunnyvale) 5-7, 185, Jr.
PK Jeremy Maloney
(Linfield Christian, Temecula) 5-11, 175, Jr.
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DL Asiata Auckland (Sutter) 6-2, 230, Jr.
DL Alexander Cobbs (St. Anthony, Long Beach) 6-4, 220, Sr.
DL Khalil Coley (Orland) 6-4, 210, Jr.
DL Cody Smith (Liberty Ranch, Galt) 6-7, 235, Sr.
LB David Burns (Hughson) 6-1, 190, Jr.
LB Will Henderson (Immanuel, Reedley) 6-2, 215, Sr.
LB David Luera (Mission Prep, San Luis Obispo) 6-1, 205, Sr.
LB Frank Ward (Terra Nova, Pacifica) 6-4, 230, Sr.
DB Ben Drewry (Bishop Montgomery, Torrance) 6-0, 165, Soph.
DB Payton Harbin (McKinleyville) 6-2, 195, Sr.
DB Ty Richardson (Menlo School, Atherton) 5-10, 175, Sr.
SECOND TEAM MULTI-PURPOSE
RB/WR/DB Logan Anderson (Escalon) 5-11, 180, Sr.
QB/RB Jaret Bosarge (St. Vincent de Paul, Petaluma) 5-8, 170, Sr.
QB/RB/P Trey Fasani (Ripon Christian) 6-2, 200, Sr.
QB/RB Jett Harris (Dixon) 6-1, 180, Sr.
WR/DB Carter Shaw (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton) 6-3, 180, Sr.
QB/DB Drew Sisemore (St. Bernard’s, Eureka) 6-1, 190, Sr.
QB/RB Jake Soderquist (Clear Lake, Lakeport) 5-10, 165, Jr.
WR/DL/ATH Derek Taylor (Hilmar) 6-5, 215, Sr.
Note: No second team punter so added extra player on multi-purpose, one of them that punted.
SMALL SCHOOLS STATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (previously announced):
Ryker Peters (Escalon) RB/LB
SMALL SCHOOLS STATE COACH OF THE YEAR (previously announced):
Nick Velazquez (Orland)
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Curious to know why Ayden Ramirez (Running Back) of Salesian HS was not chosen. 2000 Rushing Yards and 15 TDs with only 144 Carries.
There were several RBs that had outstanding careers not just this season (seniors) that we felt had to go on higher. Ayden, a sophomore, should have plenty of time to get chosen.
Appreciate the Consideration of all and any Palo Verde Valley players, especially Markus Macon, but we had another 1900 yard rusher and 25+ touchdown guy in Xzavier Bejarano as well. Blows my mind that a team that led ALL OF CALIFORNIA in rushing yards has NO LINEMAN SELECTED! 16.5 sacks, 1000 all purpose and 9 TDS should of got Jonny Crowe on the list too. We need a better selection committee of people that actually know what’s going on.
Sorry we were not able to get three on from Palo Verde, which is more than Hughson had (team that beat Muir, which shut out Palo Verde). And we do actually probably know a lot more about high school football than you think. Muir, by the way, plays in a medium school league.
Can you please tell me how many schools are considered
small schools in California?
Probably comes out to around 300 to 400. Depends on whether you count all the small schools that play 8-man or not. As mentioned in the writeup, there is no 8-man all-state team but 8-man players could be chosen for small schools (which we did for one player this year).