NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Jarrett Nielsen from Jordan of Long Beach and Cesar Gonzales of Yuba City made their first games of the 2023 season into something that will always be listed in the state record book. Photos: & Courtesy School.

For this first week of honorees for the 2023 season — three from the north and three from the south — we have two for sure that have gained entry into the Cal-Hi Sports all-time state lists. There’s another one that would be one of the best but it will require some work to put the category into the online record book. They represent the communities of Yuba City, Visalia, Clovis, Long Beach, Mission Viejo and Riverside.

We hope you enjoy this free story on Cal-Hi For our state rankings packages in football plus State Stat Stars of the Week, state record updates and special features, please check out our Gold Club membership today. If you’re not a member, CLICK HERE.

Notes: NorCal defense this week by Mark Tennis. We will continue to have flexibility to one of the honorees by calling it 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
Defensive Player of the Week

Cesar Gonzales (Yuba City) Sr.

According to the team’s stats on MaxPreps for last season, Cesar had one sack in 10 games while the team leader, fellow junior Donny Supat, was listed with seven. You could say that Gonzales had a rather remarkable season opener.

The 6-foot, 250-pound defensive lineman broke through all night in the Honkers’ 45-12 victory against Natomas of Sacramento. When the final seconds ticked off, Cesar had a “pretty crazy” total of six sacks. He also had two tackles for loss, two hurries and one assist.

Coaches at Yuba City weren’t sure about any single game records that may have been set so they knew where to ask. According to the Cal-Hi Sports record book, six sacks for one game ties the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section record of six first set in 1982 by Art Miranda of Linden and tied in 1990 by Eric Thomson of Merced. The Sacramento Bee reported it as a regional record since Linden and Merced are not in its coverage area.

Cesar also is listed as an offensive lineman for Yuba City. The team didn’t win its first game last season until week four and finished 5-7. The team plays next Friday at home vs Galena of Reno, Nev.

Bryson Donelson’s seven carries for 327 yards was only part of the amazing story of Central Valley Christian’s 63-41 win last week over Ripon Christian. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Bryson Donelson (Central Valley Christian, Visalia) Sr.

It was a game of records and milestones, but the Central Valley Christian 63-41 victory over Ripon Christian and the performance of Cavaliers’ star Donelson, and the way he earned the Northern California Offensive Player of the Week and the team earned the victory, came with a few twists.

Back in the early 2000s we covered a game at Helix of La Mesa where Reggie Bush had over 250 yards on six carries with every one of them going for scores.

Donelson isn’t quite in the same league as Bush but his performance in the Ripon Christian win was Bush-like to say the least. The 247Sports three-star recruit with six solid offers rushed for a career-high 327 yards and five TDs, and he did it on a mere seven carries. That is an average of 46.7 yards per carry. In the info we have from published record books (that category is not on line), Curtis Williams of Coalinga averaged 78.3 per carry on three carries for 235 yards and three TDs in a 1993 game vs Lindsay. We also have the great Dick Bass of Vallejo going for 395 yards on eight carries with four TDs in a 1954 game vs Drake of San Anselmo. That is 49.4 yards per carry. The bottom line is that for a minimum of three carries a mark of 46.7 is among the best in state history.

The added twist is those seven carries were more than half of the 12 total plays for Central Valley Christian that amounted to six total touchdowns from scrimmage and around 360 yards of total offense. Furthering the twist is the Cavaliers won by over three TDs with only 12 plays from scrimmage compared to 79 for Ripon Christian.

As for records. Donelson would want to give a shout out to teammate Micah Paden. The junior running back lit it up on special teams. Paden opened the scoring by retuning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. He accomplished that feat two more times and with it he etched his name into the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, as three kickoff returns for TDs in one game ties the state record. He finished with 295 yards in returns for a 59 yards per return average.

And finally, with respect to milestones, the victory over Ripon Christian was career coaching win No. 100 for Central Valley Christian head coach Mason Hughes.

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

Noah Luginbill (Clovis) Sr.

This week’s Northern California Special Teams/Multi-Purpose Player of the Week has been who some in the metro Fresno area might call a tackling machine the last two years for Clovis. Now, besides playing linebacker for the Cougars, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Luginbill is packing the football at running back.

Last week, in a season-opening 41-27 home victory over Garces of Bakersfield, the visitors got their fill of Luginbill after he rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown, and on defense he led the way with 12 tackles, an interception, three deflected passes, and a forced fumble.

When we said Luginbill was a proficient tackler in his sophomore and junior seasons we meant it. As a sophomore he had 136 tackles in 11 games and in 12 games as a junior Noah registered 152 tackles. He has been all-Tri River Athletic Conference the past two seasons as well.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Jarret Nielsen (Jordan, Long Beach) Jr.

To find our Southern California Offensive Player of the Week, we head to Long Beach and land just southeast of the intersection of the 710 and 91 freeways at Jordan High.

At Jordan is where we find our winner, who had a record breaking performance that was just too hard not to honor.

In a season opening 59-24 victory over neighboring North of Torrance, Nielsen, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound quarterback and two-sport star, set a Long Beach record after passing for 576 yards and five TDs on a pretty pinpoint 31-of-37 pass attempts.

Not only does the 576 yards passing surpass the 543 yards in 2019 of Ryan Pettway of Long Beach Wilson as the most in Long Beach history, it will get Nielsen a spot in the top 25 all time on the Most Yards (Game) list for individual passing in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book.

As previously mentioned, Nielsen, a 247Sports three-star recruit with offers from Arizona, Colorado State, Hawaii, South Alabama and Texas State, also stars as an infielder and outfielder on the Jordan baseball team. In football last season as a sophomore, the student-athlete with a 4.2 GPA had 2,336 yards of total offense and 24 touchdowns.

Travis Anderson will play next at Boise State. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Travis Anderson (Mission Viejo) Sr.

As the old expression says “and the beat goes on” could not be more appropriate than with our Southern California Defensive Player of the Week.

To find him, we head to Southern Orange County and land at a school steeped in Southern California high school football tradition.

Last week, in a 38-18 victory by the Cal-Hi Sports No. 6 ranked Diablos over El Camino of Oceanside, Anderson, a 6-foot, 180-pound free safety, picked up right where he left off last season by intercepting two passes in the win. Anderson also had a deflected pass and five tackles.

Last season, on a 10-2 Mission Viejo squad that finished No. 5 in the Cal-Hi Sports Final Rankings, Anderson had nine interceptions which was the No. 2 reported mark in the CIF Southern Section and tied for No. 3 in the state.

The 247Sports three-star recruit had seven offers, including a couple of Ivy League schools, before committing to Boise State in the middle of June.

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

Cameron Shannon (JW North, Riverside) Sr.

The search for the Southern California Special Teams/Multi-Purpose Player of the Week takes us to the Inland Empire where we find our winner in Riverside at J.W. North.

Last week, in a 42-35 victory over Ramona, the cross-town visitors must have thought Shannon was shot out of a cannon the way he covered several facets of the Huskies’ offense.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior quarterback was 18-for-32 for 311 yards and five TDs passing, plus he rushed for a team-high 95 yards on seven carries. And finally, Shannon had a hand in the sixth J.W. North score when he came out of the backfield and caught a 45-yard halfback option TD pass from junior Anthony Zavala after Zavala had caught a 35-yard TD pass from Shannon.

It would be safe to say the Huskies needed all of the production Shannon had to offer since after bolting out to a 20-0 lead they fell behind 28-20 and 35-26 before rallying behind Cameron to score the game’s last 16 points, including the game’s final TD and 2-point conversion, both on passes by Shannon with under a minute left.

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

Enjoy this article?

Find out how you can get access to more exclusive content, one-of-a-kind California high school sports content!

Learn More

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


    Latest News

    Insider Blog