SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Taniela Folau (left) led a relentless pass rush for Serra of San Mateo during its win last Saturday vs Folsom. At right, Lincoln of San Diego linebacker Jerome Roberts puts pressure on the QB during team’s victory last season in CIF D1-AA state final. Photos: Mark Tennis & Scott Kurtz.

For the second week of this feature we cover all the bases with respect to the purpose of the feature, and that is to track potential entries in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, and to uncover hidden talent that in many instances only gets local props. We also generally try to stay away from the top ranked teams and players on those teams that already get time in the spotlight, but this week we have players from two ranked teams. Our stops are in Culver City, San Diego and Newport Beach in Southern California, and Concord, San Mateo and Loomis in Northern California.

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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 Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Jerome Roberts (Lincoln, San Diego) Sr.

The search for the Southern California Defensive Player of the Week takes us to San Diego and Lincoln High, the home of the 2022 CIF Division 1-AA Bowl Game state champions.

Roberts is a holdover from the state championship team, but with so many talented defensive players on last year’s team having graduated, he’s been biding his time and now he’s in the spotlight.

Last week, in a 58-6 shellacking of a visiting Alemany (Mission Hills), and in a win that avenged the only loss Lincoln suffered last season when the team went 13-1 and beat De La Salle in the 1-AA title game, Roberts led the team with 15 tackles including seven for losses with a sack.

It was the second straight week Roberts has had double-digit tackles and led the Cal-Hi Sports No. 9 ranked Hornets to victory with his defense. In the season opener, a 41-0 drubbing of host Wai’anea on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Roberts led the team with 12 tackles including three for losses with a sack.

Sammy Silvia gets set to deliver a pass for Culver City during game last season. Photo: George Laase / Culver City News.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Sammy Silvia (Culver City) Sr.

To find our Southern California Offensive Player of the Week we head to a city completely surrounded by the City of Las Angeles and the place we land in is Culver City.

It’s there that we find a 6-foot-3, 195 pound pocket-passing quarterback who came out on the winning end of a game where his and the team’s performance earns spots in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book.

Last week, the Centaurs and their signal-caller Silvia took a trip out to the far eastern reaches of the Inland Empire to face San Jacinto, and the 200-mile round trip was well worth it after Sammy led Culver City to a 72-63 victory in a performance where he went 26-for-38 for 408 yards passing with eight touchdowns.

The 408 yards passing falls short of making the Most Yards (Game) list in the Football Individual Record: Single-Game Passing section, but the eight TDs secures Silivia a spot in the same section of the record book on the Most Touchdown Passes (Game) list.

The 72 points doesn’t make the record book since 100 years ago teams were routinely scoring over 100 points, mostly in shutouts, but the 135 combined points does make the Most Points By Two Teams (One Game) list, and ironically the 63 points by San Jacinto comes in as a tie for the third on the Most Points by a Losing Team list.

With this outing, it also looks like Sammy is well on his way to surpassing the 2,743 yards and 23 TDs he had last season. With 1,932 yards (24 TDs) as a sophomore, Silvia now has 5,083 career yards, and has a chance to make the Most Yards (Career) passing list which has a 7,500 yard threshold.

We couldn’t find any recruiting action for Silivia but according to his Twitter/X handle he’s a 4.0 GPA student-athlete who scored 1,320 on the SAT. The numbers are sure starting to pile up for him.

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

Jon Richardson (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Sr.

We head to Orange County to honor the Southern California Multi-Purpose Special Teams Player of the Week and our destination is Newport Beach at Newport Harbor.

When we added multi-purpose to this category last year it was because there wasn’t always an apparent special teams player that fit the bill. Not so this week as we honor a placekicker who has earned a 4.5 rating from the prestigious Chris Sailer Kicking website.

After a scoreless first half, Newport Harbor came up empty in the third quarter and found itself trailing visiting Tesoro of Mission Viejo 14-0 entering the fourth quarter. The Sailors got two touchdown passes from quarterback Jaden O’Neal to Josh Lamarque to tie things up at 14-14 with just over five minutes remaining, and then Richardson finished the job.

Tesoro called a timeout to try and freeze him, but it didn’t work as the 5-foor-10, 165-pound senior split the uprights from 36 yards out with nine seconds remaining to complete the comeback.

So far this season, Richardson is a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals and 3-for-3 on PATs.

Note that Ryon Sayeri of Chaminade (West Hills) has been selected before.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Taniela Folau (Serra, San Mateo) Sr.

To find our Northern California Defensive Player of the Week, we visited San Mateo and saw what Folau did in person last Saturday for the Serra Padres.

Serra had eight players make the Preseason All-Central Coast Section first team and four on the second team, but Folau was not one of the chosen dozen.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior linebacker didn’t get any preseason honors but he gets an in-season honor in week one after registering three sacks and a fumble recovery in the Cal-Hi Sports’ No. 4 ranked Padres 21-14 win over No. 14 ranked Folsom.

The third sack for Folau came in the third quarter with Serra holding a 21-0 lead and the fumble recovery came two plays later when star linebacker Danny Niu sacked Folsom quarterback Ryder Lyons and forced a fumble Folau corralled.

When he was questioned after the game about his big performance Folau humbly answered, “I came into the game with the idea of just doing my job.”

Folau was not the only defensive standout for Serra. All-in-all, Serra finished with eight sacks.

Niu could have been a multi-purpose selection for this feature after he had 2.5 sacks and rushed for a touchdown.

Herschel Turner had a sensational first game for Mt. Diablo in its win over Deer Valley of Antioch. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Hershel Turner Jr. (Mt. Diablo, Concord) Sr.

Central Contra Costa County is where we find our Northern California Offensive Player of the Week and he comes from a Concord school named after the majestic mountain that shadows the city.

Our honoree made sure the Red Devils would not start 0-3 like they did to start last season after Hershel Turner must have looked like former NFL star running back Hershel Walker to visiting Deer Valley of Antioch. All the 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior running back did in a 39-28 season-opening victory was rush for 377 yards on a mere 16 carries with six of them going for touchdowns, including a 70-yard run.

Neither the rushing yardage or TDs makes the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, but after consulting local sources both marks are believed to be school records.

Turner first gained wide acclaim last summer when he was the MVP running back at the Under Armour Camp in Southern California. His offers have steadily been climbing since then. The list includes Washington State, Utah State, Utah, UNLV and Air Force.

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

Caden Pinnick (Del Oro, Loomis) Sr.

The Sierra Nevada foothills on the I-80 corridor around 30-miles northeast of downtown Sacramento is where we find this week’s Northern California Special Teams-Multi Purpose Player of the Week award winner.

Last week, in a 55-9 shellacking of visiting Reed of Sparks, Nevada the Golden Eagles quarterback did a little of everything. Pinnick was a pinpoint 12-of-14 passing for 211 yards and three TDs, and he also led Del Oro with 82 yards rushing on only four carries with two of them going for scores including a 66-yard romp to the house.

The 6-foot, 173-pound senior is also the Del Oro punter, but punting stats were not reported so we’re not sure if he punted in the game or the first game, a 50-34 road victory over Sacramento Inderkum. After two games Pinnick has 486 yards passing with eight TDs, and 132 yards rushing and the two scores.

After averaging 36.6 yards per punt last season with 10 inside the 20, we’re not sure if he’s been punting this year but two things we are sure of is after passing for 1,679 yards and 22 TDs last season, and rushing for four scores, Caden was the Sierra Foothill League Offensive Player of the Year.

This is not the first Cal-Hi Sports honor for Pinnick. In mid-July he was named to the 2022-23 Grid-Hoop All-State First Team. In fact, Caden may be better in basketball than football. On the hardwood last season the Golden Eagles guard was named Sacramento Bee honorable mention All-Metro and all-Sierra Foothill League after averaging 19.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game, and later that month he was selected to play in the NCAA College Basketball Academy in Memphis, Tennessee.

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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  1. By SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week on August 29, 2023 at 10:59 pm

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