NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of our honorees this week are Westin Wade from West Park of Roseville (left) and Shane Rosenthal of Newbury Park. Wade is shown scoring the winning touchdown in overtime of game vs Placer of Auburn in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D4 playoffs. Photos: Jordan Georgeson / Gold Country Media &

The funnel this week is even narrower than last week as the 2023 football season winds down and we get close to switching our Players of the Week from football to basketball. Despite the number of teams in action being nearly halved this past week, we still found six worthy honorees. We have one who may be the first player in state history to do something and another who has a brother in the NFL. Our stops this week are in Hamilton City, Rocklin and Roseville in Northern California. In Southern California we visit Manhattan Beach, Anaheim and Newbury Park.

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Notes: 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
Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week

Westin Wade (West Park, Roseville) Sr.

We head out to Placer County for our Northern California Multi-Purpose Special Teams Player of the week and for this award winner we land in Roseville at West Park, a new school that will only be graduating its second senior class this June, and our honoree Wade is a member of that class.

Last week, in a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV 41-38 quasi upset victory in overtime by the No. 5 seed over perennial SJS small school power and host Placer of Auburn, Wade made himself known in several different ways in what is the greatest win in the school’s short history.

As a running back, Wade rushed for a season-high 139 yards on 18 carries with three touchdowns. He also had three pass receptions for 90 yards and a fourth score. On defense, Westin had five tackles as well.

When West Park took a 20-7 lead after one quarter and 35-21 at the half things were looking rosy, but Placer fought back to tie it at 35-35 and forced overtime.

Placer had to settle for a field goal in its OT possession but when Wade tallied his final TD on an 11-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jaden Jackson the Panthers snatched the win.

So far this season for the 10-2 Panthers, and heading into a D4 semifinal showdown with top-seeded Escalon, Westin has rushed for 677 yards and 12 TDs, and he has 25 receptions for 280 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, Wade has registered 24 tackles and forced two fumbles in limited action.

Diego Sanchez of Hamilton threw for 403 yards last week in a CIF Northern Section playoff game. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Diego Sanchez (Hamilton, Hamilton City) Sr.

We can’t remember it ever happening before in all the years of this doing this feature, but we head to the CIF Northern Section for the second straight week to find one of our honorees.

For this week’s Northern California Offensive Player of the Week we land around halfway between Chico and Orland off of Highway 32 and not far from the Sacramento River, and right across the street from the Glenn-Colusa Canal in Hamilton City at Hamilton High.

Besides going to the Northern Section for the second consecutive week, there’s another twist or two to honoring 5-foot-11, 190-pound Hamilton senior quarterback Diego Sanchez.

Unless they can somehow find reruns, current high school students, and for that matter most of their parents, can’t remember the Family Affair television show that ran from 1966-1971, but that’s ok because we’ve uncovered a family affair saga right here in Hamilton City, and it’s about the Sanchez brothers.

First off, let’s start with our award winner Diego. Last week, in a 40-13 victory in the Northern Section Division 4 quarterfinals by the third–seeded Braves over visiting No. 6 seed Trinity of Weaverville, Sanchez was 14-of-21 for 403 yards and five TDs passing for an astronomical 149.3 quarterback rating.

Now, for the first part of the family affair scenario at Hamilton, we turn to Diego’s twin brother and 5-foot-8, 135-pound Braves’ wide receiver Omar Sanchez.

There are no co-winners of any Cal-Hi Sports awards period, but we’re sure Diego would want to share this award with his twin brother because a huge portion of the Brave signal-caller’s production went into the hands of Omar after he pulled in eight receptions for 276 yards and three TDs, including an 89-yard bomb.

But wait, there’s more. There’s another brother, and this one is a bit older and has made it big-time. His name is Rigoberto Sanchez and he’s a 2011 Hamilton graduate who’s been the punter for the Indianapolis Colts and holds the record for the longest punt in Colts history. He’s currently averaging 47.2 yards per punt this season for new head coach Sean Steichen (an Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills grad).

Now, let’s get back to this week’s honoree and the unfolding playoffs. So far this season for 9-2 Hamilton and heading into a Northern Section D4 semifinal on the road at No. 2 seed Winters, Sanchez has passed for 2,734 yards and 38 TDs with only three interceptions for a 137.5 QB rating. He’s also rushed for a 121 yards and a touchdown.

Not surprisingly, the passing yardage and touchdowns are both the top reported marks this season in the Northern Section.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

John Correa (Rocklin) Sr.

To find the Northern California Defensive Player of the Week honoree, we head east of the state capitol out the Highway 80 corridor to the Placer County community of Rocklin.

It’s at Rocklin High where we find a senior defensive end who works both the edge and the trenches, and now after recently being named the Sierra Foothill League Lineman of the Year, Correa receives a statewide honor and more widespread recognition as well.

Last week, in a 42-7 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II quarterfinal victory over Modesto Downey, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Correa definitively made his presence known on defense for the Thunder.

Correa rocked for the Rocklin faithful with five tackles, all solo, with three for losses including two sacks, plus he intercepted a pass.

So far this season for a Rocklin team that moved up three spots to No. 24 in the most recent Cal-Hi Sports state rankings, and heading into a semifinal showdown for the No. 2 seed at home against a Del Oro Loomis team the Thunder defeated 35-14 at home in Sierra Foothill League action, Correa has corralled ball carriers for 47 tackles with 28 solo and 12 for losses with 7.5 sacks. John also has the one interception from last week and a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

Correa also plays tight end but his role is pretty clear. “Ninety-nine percent of the time I’m staying in to block unless its play action,” Correa responded on X/Twitter when asked about his role on offense.

Surprisingly, he currently only has D2 offers but he’s “hoping that will change soon.”

Veteran Sacramento Bee prep scribe Joe Davidson likes his game.

“Don’t know his recruiting interest but he is dominant at this level,” Davidson remarked.

Who knows? After getting some statewide kudos, and with he and his Rocklin teammates making some noise in the playoffs, possibly his stock will rise.

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

Shane Rosenthal (Newbury Park) Jr.

Ventura County just east of Thousand Oaks and up the hill and west of Camarillo is where we find the Southern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week, and it’s at Newbury Park where Rosenthal plays.

Last week, in a 41-34 CIF Southern Section Division 5 quarterfinal victory on the road in Santa Ana at Foothill, Rosenthal made sure the 80-mile bus ride back from Orange County was full of hooting and hollering after what Shane did to help lead the Panthers to victory.

The biggest chunk of his production came as a wide receiver where the 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior hauled in 14 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns.

Rosenthal scored a fourth TD on a 93-yard kickoff return, and on special teams he also had a 33-yard punt return and a second kickoff return of 36 yards.

The twist to this saga is all four of his TDs came in the fourth quarter as Newbury Park came back from being down 28-13 at the end of the third quarter.

There’s even more.

Rosenthal didn’t score on them but he had two interceptions in the game to give him 11 on the season heading into a semifinal match-up at home against neighboring Thousand Oaks.

But wait, there’s even more. With 1,691 yards receiving with 20 TDs Shane is king as the top reported wide receiver in the state, and guess what the 11 interceptions leads the state as well.

For a player to have 20 TD catches and over 10 interceptions in a season is certainly an anomaly. We were asked about it by our friend Greg Biggins of 247 Sports whether it’s ever been done before. It very well may be the first time ever for a California player, but while we have a list of every player who has had 20 TD catches or more there is no way to check every single player with 10 interceptions or more. There likely could be none until now. We just can’t say for sure. No matter what, Rosenthal can add to his totals this week without a long bus ride.

Josh Faulkner’s defensive wizardry has helped Western of Anaheim to 11-1 record and a spot in the CIFSS D5 semifinals. Photo: Western HS Football /

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Josh Faulkner (Western, Anaheim) Sr.

Orange County is the destination in search of the Southern California Defensive Player of the Week and we find our honoree in the western reaches of Anaheim just west of Beach Boulevard and east of Cypress College.

It’s at Western High where Faulkner plays and in his most recent performance the 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior defensive back scored TDs two different ways on defense in a 49-19 CIF Southern Section Division 5 quarterfinal victory over visiting Apple Valley.

Faulkner took a pick six 82 yards to the house for one of his scores, and he had a 53-yard scoop and score on a fumble recovery for his second defensive touchdown.

Faulkner got into the act on offense as well, and while he didn’t score he had two pass receptions including a 42-yarder that set up a score, and he had 21 yards rushing.

So far this season and heading into a semifinal match-up for the 11-1 Pioneers on the road at Orange Vista of Perris, Faulkner now has four scores on defense, two pick sixes and two scoop and scores.

Josh is also the leading rusher for Western with 612 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. He’s also caught 39 passes for 711 yards and 13 touchdowns. For good measure, Faulkner has also thrown a TD on the only pass he’s attempted.

Not including the TD pass, Josh has registered 27 TDs four different ways.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Nico De La Cruz (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) Jr.

To find the Southern California Offensive Player of the Week, we land in Manhattan Beach just east of the Pacific Coast Highway and less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean.

It’s at Mira Costa where we locate the award winner who not only had a huge hand in the team’s last win, but in another of this week’s twists, he’s helped the Mustangs make a huge turnaround after an 0-7 start this season.

Last week was the latest of the heroics of De La Cruz after the junior quarterback went 26-of-39 for an even 400 yards passing with five touchdowns in a 45-27 CIF Southern Section Division 6 quarterfinal victory over visiting Cypress.

We’re sure Nico would want to give a shout out to his favorite target Reese Leonard. The senior wide receiver had 15 catches for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Leonard certainly had player of the week type numbers himself.

So how does a team that starts 0-7 and 0-2 in the Bay Football League standing make the playoffs? The answer is that the Mustangs won their last three games in league and a 3-2 record qualifies. Plus, some of those early losses were against very good teams, including Damien of La Verne, San Juan Hills and one by just 9-7 to league rival Palos Verdes (which was 10-0 in the regular season).

Now, Mira Costa has won two playoff games and at 5-7 the team is into the Southern Section D6 semifinals on the road at Murrieta Mesa of Murrieta.

De La Cruz didn’t have terrible numbers the first seven games, either. After last week’s performance, he heads out to the Inland Empire on Friday night having passed for 2,664 yards and 21 touchdowns on the season.

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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One Comment

  1. Pat Doherty
    Posted November 15, 2023 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    The “Northern California Offensive Player of the Week” section title line states “Southern California…”

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