Sunday, September 30, 2012

Prospect watch from week five

Here's how some under-the-radar defenders fared under the lights this past weekend:


Stats: 15 tackles, 12 solo stops and three sacks in 48-13 victory over Millikan-Long Beach

Overview: The versatile 6-foot-2, 225-pound Faaiu is a physical tackler who had his best pass rushing night on Friday over Millikan. He's got a relentless motor who could thrive in someone's 3-4 at the next level.


Stats: Four solo tackles, one sack, one punt block good for the safety in 43-6 victory over Sierra Pacific-Hanford.

Overview: The 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior defensive tackle is an emerging star for a vastly improved Eagles squad that once won a combined two games in the last two seasons. Fernberg is a rugged defender with powerful hands and a high motor for the 4-2 Eagles.


Stats: 19 total tackles and one interception in 23-0 loss to San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno

Overview: Wingfield continues to play the safety spot like a linebacker, but snatched up one pick for the Wildcats despite the loss. He's a hard-nosed player who doesn't back down. Looks like a guy who can play up to the line of scrimmage at safety once he hits the college level.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Prospect watch: Hawks, Pioneers, Beavers and Rams

Contributed photo
Two marquee games this weekend under the lights have the following: a strong case for a CIF Bowl appearance, and a strong case for a state Junior College Bowl bid.

We're reaching the half-way point and this is where we really start finding out if teams and prospects hit a second gear, stay neutral, or run out of gas.

Here's one prep game in California to highlight:


The Hawks are now in the driver seat in the Division-III So Cal rankings. A school that has only had four years of varsity existence has now emerged as the best team in the city of Tulare. As for the Pioneers, this game can really determine how elite they are, especially after falling to inner-city rival El Diamante last Friday.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR MISSION OAK: Quarterback Corbin Quinnonez (photo) continues to impress with his delivery and even his legs. The 6-foot-4, rocket-armed passer is a threat to get a combined five to six touchdowns throwing and running each game. Another lethal threat is 2014 prospect Elijah Porchia, an electrifying game-breaker and return man. Tight end/outside linebacker Kevin Palma continues to draw intrigue from the likes of the PAC-12 and Mountain West. An interesting match up will be seeing Palma covering the speed the Pioneers have on their offense.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR MT. WHITNEY: Tucker Mendonca may turn peeople away with his size (only 5-foot-8, 155-pounds). But make no mistake, he has zip and he can run. He has 1,001 yards in the no-huddle spread offense attack and 247 rushing yards for the Pioneers. He also has a combined 11 touchdowns. Darius Armstead is putting together a great season. The 5-foot-9 senior is yet to have a game where he falls below 115 receiving yards. His feet, soft hands, straight-line speed and production is making him an under-the-radar prospect on the recruiting scene. One player on defense to look for is junior safety Abel Tavarez. The 5-foot-10 safety has a mean streak and his hits energize the Pioneers. He plays the safety spot like an outside linebacker and he'll blow up ball carriers. Tavarez versus Palma and Porchia on offense should be an entertaining one. Adam Franco is another top defensive back for Mount Whitney. The 6-foot-1 senior has a team-high three interceptions for 66 yards and one fumble recovery. Sophomore Demarea Joyce is also an emerging star in the Pioneer's aggressive secondary, with two interceptions and 13 total tackles, including seven in an upset over Sanger.

Junior College Football


Last year's state bowl champion San Francisco City goes toe-to-toe with a school now having aspirations for hoisting the state title. A huge statement game for the undefeated Beavers.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR THE RAMS: In the thrilling 35-31 comeback victory over Fresno City where they were down 28-0, SFCC got a big-time performance from Kristoffer Olugbode in the backfield. The former Bellarmine Prep-San Jose weapon is fast and elusive, but has also improved his power and determination. He's a threat to go the distance and his big plays breathed new life to a Rams team that was nearly embarrassed by Fresno City. He finished with 134 yards rushing and one touchdown on Saturday. Paving the way on offense is guard Ahongalu Fusimalohi (6-foot-3, 315-pounds). He's one nasty run blocker who won't pop you just once, he'll try to drive you to the ground. He's shown excellent hands and vision when picking up blitzes. He also seldom gets bull-rushed. He's usually the one bull-rushing the defensive linemen. Defensively, former quarterback Broughan Jantz (6-foot-2, 205-pounds) is starting to emerge with three interceptions, including two last Saturday.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR THE BEAVERS: Former Washington State and Fresno State commit Devontae Butler-Booker is starting to burst back as a productive running back. The now 6-foot, 200-pound Booker still has his blazing speed thanks to his 4.38 40-yard dash time. He has, however, begun to show some power and balance when running the rock. Helping him in the backfield is Antonio Bumpers (6-foot, 200-pounds), who's more of a power runner but has shown to run around defenders. He's averaging 4.7 yards per game. Former Colorado State commit Zane Petty leads the defense with a team-high four interceptions. Petty also has 26 solo tackles.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tall Tiger a steal?

Photo courtesy of max preps
One goal that new Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter mapped out was recruiting and keeping Central Valley talent in the Bulldogs' backyard.

The new regime got off to a slow start, since they missed out on one highly-touted safety in 6-foot-2, 200-pound behemoth Hatari Byrd of Central (Oklahoma commit).

However, they may have struck gold, since they stayed on the West side of Fresno to snatch up a possible steal from renown California College Football factory Edison High School.

The Bulldogs managed to get 6-foot-3, 170-pound free safety/wide receiver Justin Holmes on board. After looking closely at Holmes, Fresno State fans should look at the future of the defense and grin with his presence.

Holmes has very soft hands and won't back down from using them. His nose for the football and his wide receiver-like hands make him a plus for the Bulldog secondary. His vision and ability to react to the ball also scored major points for me.

He does catch footballs from his highly-touted quarterback Khari McGee at Edison. Holmes doubles as safety playmaker and red zone target for the Tigers. Given the depth that the Bulldogs have at wide receiver, though, that will probably mean Holmes will reunite with his Ex-High School head coach Tim McDonald in the Fresno State secondary.

He'll need bulk right away. He's actually 170-pounds when some listed him at 185. Even at 185, he would've had to add muscle anyway. He also had a reported 4.8 40-yard dash time. But after watching his film, he looks way faster than that.

On a defense that's improved at forcing turnovers through four games so far, this move sounds like DeRuyter and the Bulldogs want a ball hawk factory going in their secondary. Its a great move, considering how the Bulldogs were one of the worst at forcing turnovers in the secondary in the last few years of the Pat Hill regime.

I will honestly say, Holmes is looking more like the true ball-hawk at safety compared to Byrd. This could be a steal in the Valley.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Former Washington State/Fresno State commit re-emerging?

Photo courtesy of
On the football field, it seems hard to keep track of Devontae Butler-Booker with how fast he is.

Off the field, however, it's hard to keep track of which college he's attending--until now.

The most recent sighting of the former Washington State and Fresno State commit is up north in his home region of Sacramento--at American River College.

For Butler-Booker (Grant-Sacramento), this is now his fourth collegiate stop in two years. He was denied entry to both Washington State (committed 2010) and Fresno State (verbal in 2011) due to academic issues. His last enrollment was at San Mateo College.

The now 6-foot, 200-pound sophomore seems and sounds like he's taking the junior college football world by storm, with his 800 rushing yards through just four games (a 200 yard average in each game), 11 touchdowns and the Beavers claiming a 4-0 start.

After looking at the 2012 version of Butler-Booker, he does look bigger than before. He still has the explosive burst that made Washington State recruit him. He did show off a hurdle too in his latest film.

As far as his inside running ability is concerned, though, that aspect can still use some refinement. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, he does have solid balance when bouncing off of defenders and does a good job of keeping his feet moving. He's fast and slippery enough to get past defenders.

He won't always blow up defenders, though, since he does tend to run upright. So his power is still a question mark. He also seems to rely more on his speed and balance, versus using a stiff arm or just resorting to an aggressive running style with his low pad level. Another benefit of the doubt I'll give him is his determined running ability, since he looks like a back who won't go down right away.

He's been a moving part for American River's offense. The big question we may have to ask is where will he move to next and who, at the next level, would be willing to take a chance on the former Sacramento-area sensation?


Monday, September 24, 2012

Former Central Valley quarterback emerging out east?

You would think that right after a quarterback's senior season, they would be old enough to get offered or have no trouble finding a collegiate program to play for.

But in the case of Darrik Martin, he has this rare backdrop:

The former Golden Valley-Bakersfield quarterback had a strong senior year, but that was good enough to get him at Kiski Prep--a school all the way in Pennsylvania.

This was all because Martin was deemed too young for the next level. He was not even 17 when he played his senior year at Golden Valley. According to his father, schools shied away from him due to Martin's youthful age.

On top of that, the advice for Martin to go to PA was through Penn State University.

Martin, despite being far away from home, seems to be doing just fine over out east now. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback has emerged as a top pocket passer in that region thanks to his play in the spread offense.

He already has excellent size and an arm. His release is quick, which is perfect for the spread. His play-action ability, though, is what's making him emerge as a potential pro style quarterback for a Division-I or Football Bowl Subdivision school. He can also move with his feet and burn the outsides on option keeper runs.

Martin actually drew the most interest from Penn State since he emerged in the Nittany Lions' backyard. But after the fallout from Happy Valley involving their sordid scandal, Martin's interest through Penn State has now dropped off.

He's yet to be offered, but has been in contact with the likes of Rutgers, Penn State, Akron, Cornell, Michigan and a "slew of Division-II and Division-III schools" according to his father. Continued progression could make him recognizable again, even back at his home state of California.


Macho Machado

Photo courtesy of
A 5-foot-7, 170-pound junior is starting to keep defensive coordinators awake at night in the Sac-Joaquin Section.

Orestimba-Newman running back Steven Machado has been on a tear in 2012, and is starting to emerge as one of the top running backs in the state after five games.

Machado currently has 1,155 yards for the Warriors. He's averaging over 12 yards a carry and, even more astounding, he has crossed the goal line 18 times, in five games, which is an average of 3-4 touchdowns per game. His touchdowns has him tied for first in California with state rushing leader James Toland (1,282 yards) of Shadow Hills-Indio.

At this rate, if he continues to stay healthy and keeps punishing defenses, Machado could have close to 40 rushing touchdowns in the regular season. He already has two 200-yard evenings this season, and his last game was a 19 carry, 317 yard and four touchdown night against Riverbank on Friday. His worse rushing performance was a 188 yard night in the season opener.

He was just as productive last season for the run-heavy Warriors. As a sophomore, Machado finished with 1,293 yards and just three touchdown runs. 

And if you want to know what kind of runner he just might be, just know in this video, he sheds and spins past people.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Central Valley on CIF bowl game collision course

Contributed photo
Yesterday centered upon how the Central Coast was finally getting recognized on the Golden State football map. Today, we examine an area gaining more and more respect that has an eye-popping 10 potential suitors for a state CIF title game.

Who are these valley teams? And which valley boys are the ones to watch? Here's a closer look at where things currently stand on the CIF So Cal Bowl game front for the 559 and 661:



Current ranking: No. 5

Best win: 29-6 over Long Beach Poly on Sept. 14

PROSPECT WATCH: Seems everywhere you look, the Drillers have ridiculous talent everywhere. Quarterback Asauni Rufus could emerge as one of the more highly-recruited quarterbacks to ever come out of Bakersfield High, since he's only a junior and can do damage through the arm and legs. He's one of the better all-around athletes on the Drillers. The backfield of Derrick Vickers and Jeremiah Reddick bring a bolt of electricity to the fast-pace Driller run game. Kevin Hayes has size (6-foot-3, 170-pounds) and versatility that most college teams would love. Shaq Garrett at the nose guard spot helps set the tone for a rugged and speedy Driller defense. Even despite Long Beach Poly's stunning 1-3 start, the Drillers' victory over them last Friday was monumental, in the sense that a Central Valley squad took down a traditional Los Angeles area and state powerhouse.


Current ranking: Bubble team

Best win: 25-22 over Palos Verdes on Sept. 8

PROSPECT WATCH: Division-I talent is everywhere on the west side of Fresno. However, outside of the usual names like defensive backs L.J Moore, Johnny Johnson, Oklahoma commit Hatari Byrd, or wide receiver Michiah Quick, a new defensive back star emerged in James Dicks on Friday versus El Diamante-Visalia. The senior strong safety had two interceptions, including a 95-yarder that went for the touchdown in the 42-7 rout. Junior quarterback Eric Jiminez is adjusting nicely to the Grizzlies' pistol offense, with his 13-of-15 passing night for 207 yards and three touchdowns versus the Miners. Nick Wilson has been a threat to run for 100-yards every game. Left tackle Darian Smith also brings athleticism and college football-like size at 6-foot-7, 300-pounds. The Grizzlies are on a collision course for the Tri-River Athletic Conference title and perhaps even state title bid with this next team...


Current ranking: Bubble team

Best win: 37-19 over Buhach Colony-Atwater on Sept. 7

PROSPECT WATCH: Former NFL safety Cory Hall has turned the Broncos into the best team in the city of Clovis in just a two-year span as varsity head coach. His players are also starting to get recognized more and more. Quarterback Christian Rossi is one of the better play-action signal-callers in the Central Section and has a very nice deep ball. Backup quarterback and top tight end David Wells is San Diego State bound. Fellow tight end Josh Lovingood is a hard-nosed red zone option and blocker with excellent size (6-foot-5, 255-pounds). Senior Carson Guzman (5-foot-8, 175-pounds) has emerged as the Broncos' top workhorse back. Two-way lineman Isaiah Duran is a nasty competitor who's motor only stops when the game is over. Wide receiver Marcus Rose is one of the more dangerous return men in the Valley. The win over the massive and talented Buhach Colony has to rank as one of the biggest victories ever at Clovis North, which includes winning the D-II Central Section title last season. The 18-point drubbing ended a 23-game regular season winning streak for the Thunder.


Current ranking: Bubble team

Best win: 42-21 over Buchanan-Clovis on Sept. 14.

PROSPECT WATCH: Corbin Jountii continues to punish defenders for the Patriots. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Jountii is yet to fall under 100-yards rushing in 2012 for Liberty. He even had 120 yards and one score despite the loss to the loaded Central-Fresno. Sophomore Anthony Mariscal (6-feet, 185-pounds) is showing flashes of potential as the Patriots' second running back option. He had 88 yards off of seven carries and a season-best two touchdowns in the win over an improved Buchanan squad. Wide receiver Kenny Davis is a deadly deep threat with 24 catches, 300 yards and an average of over 12 yards a catch.



Current ranking: No. 10

Best win: 41-7 over San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno on Sept. 15.

PROSPECT WATCH: The Rams have been very passer friendly with Cruise Adams at the controls. The senior has a 103 quarterback rating, 11 touchdown passes and a five-touchdown evening versus Golden Valley-Bakersfield earlier this year. Sophomore Sheldon Croney (6-feet, 190-pounds) gives Garces a bright future with two games with three rushing touchdowns, including three in their bounce-back win over San Joaquin Memorial.


Current ranking: Bubble team

Best win: 27-19 over Washington Union-Fresno on Sept. 6

PROSPECT WATCH: Quarterback Brandon Steele is hurting teams with his arm, legs, and even his upper body strength. He's thrown six touchdown passes, but has also powered his way past defenses with his 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame. The 2014 prospect had 20 carries for 100-yards against CIF state bowl Division-III champion Washington Union on Sept. 6. Sophomore Austen Hammerstorm is an emerging wide receiver prospect for the three-time Central Section champion Vikings. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound weapon is averaging over 21 yards a catch. On both the offensive and defensive line is monstrous 6-foot-2, 285-pound Ryan Steele, who's armed with nearly 10 offers and devours running backs. He's also an energetic pass rusher. He's looking like a future nose tackle for a 3-4 scheme, but can also play the 3-technique on a four man front.


Current ranking: Bubble team

Best win: 49-17 over Sanger on Sept. 7

PROSPECT WATCH: The quarterback-wide receiver duo of Tucker Mendonca and Darius Armstead has given defenses fits when going against the no-huddle spread attack of Mount Whitney. Armstead is averaging over 24 yards a catch. Mendonca has seven touchdown throws and just one interception. Their biggest game and test comes on Sept. 28 against these guys from Division-III...



Current ranking: No. 2

Best win: 67-0 over Golden West-Visalia

PROSPECT WATCH: Quarterback Corbin Quinnonez (photo) is showing even more production than ever, with a couple of games where he had three touchdown passes and a six touchdown night in the season opener. His size (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) and deep ball has caught the attention of just San Jose State. But improved numbers, plus a state bowl bid, could land him some late offers. Tight end/outside linebacker Kevin Palma is a freak of nature who'll create match up problems on offense and defense. His 4.5 40-yard dash time as a near 250-pounder has given him an edge. His closing speed is what's generating the buzz for the PAC-12 and Mountain West schools that are after him. Class of 2014 prospect Elijah Porchia is a dangerous threat to go the distance. He had an evening of 396 all-purpose yards in the rout over Golden West.

WASCO (3-0)

Current ranking: No. 8

Best win: 62-18 over Golden Valley-Bakersfield on Sept. 14.

PROSPECT WATCH: The Tigers have one of the best backfields in the valley as they continue to achieve success with their Wing-T offense. Sophomore Isaiah Sharp had a 338-yard night versus Golden Valley on Sept. 14. Junior Terrance Grinner (5-foot-11, 175-pounds) has back-to-back 100-yard games in the last two weeks for Wasco. Another junior Casper Lopez has 318 yards and an average of over eight yards per carry.



Current ranking: Bubble team

Best win: 21-0 over Central Valley Christian-Visalia on Aug. 31.

PROSPECT WATCH: Sophomore running back Matt Smith is on his way to a bright future at Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr's alma mater. The powerhouse 6-foot-1, 210 pound Smith has an ability to break tackles but also juke defenders out with his imposing size. He has 685 rushing yards and back-to-back 200-yard games for the Eagles so far this season.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CIF bowl love for the 805?

Photo courtesy of the Santa Maria Times
Today, CalHi Sports officially released where things currently stand in the CIF Bowl race for the Southern California region.

Among these list of schools are programs I'm very familiar with, six of them to be exact from my home region.

This is also a region that has long been overlooked in the Golden State. But looking at these rankings finally got me thinking...this could be the year where the Central Coast finally becomes the gold mine that gets uncovered.

From CIF Division-I to Division-IV, there's an 805 school getting worthy of mention. Time to sort through each one and also find out who, on which team, could make someone very happy at the next level.

Time to reveal the best the 805 has offered so far this year:



Current ranking: No. 3

Best win: 40-0 over Del Oro-Loomis on Aug. 24.

PROSPECT WATCH: Quarterback Brandon Dawkins is already drawing heavy interest after a monster sophomore season (over 3,000 passing yards and 30 touchdown passes, plus 300 rushing yards). The 6-foot-4, 215 athletic signal-caller has a streak of three straight games with three touchdown passes for the undefeated Lions and a 68.6 completion percentage. Sophomore Darick Holmes (5-foot-9, 170-pounds) is off and running with an average of over eight yards a carry. The John Muir transfer is versatile and explosive, plus he has a UCLA offer on the table. Stanford commit Francis Owusu has three-straight 100-yard games and averages 18 yards a catch. Junior Chris Davis (5-foot-8, 165-pounds) is a valuable second option with 24 catches for 276 yards and two scores. Another emerging sophomore is linebacker Andre Chevalier, who is averaging 10.3 tackles per game at 5-foot-10, 205-pounds.


Current ranking: No. 8

Best win: 40-35 over Centennial-Corona on Aug. 31.

PROSPECT WATCH: Arizona commit Zachary Green is continuing the Seraph's lineage of productive running backs. The same school that once produced former Florida State and NFL running back Lorenzo Booker has Green running circles on defenses. The 5-foot-10, 207-pound Green rolled through Atascadero with three total touchdowns rushing and receiving in the 56-22 romp last Friday. Sophomore Marcus Chambers is also one to watch. He's sort of like a closer for the Seraphs as he usually takes what's left of the defense after Green runs wild on them. Chambers is a runner and receiver threat who's quick enough to slip through defenders, but then hit a second gear and leave a trail of dust.


LOMPOC (4-0)

Current ranking: No. 2

Best win: 21-14 over Frontier-Bakersfield on Aug. 31.

PROSPECT WATCH: That late August win over the Titans was led by Washington commit Lavon Coleman (photo), who ran through a physical Frontier team for 233 yards on 26 carries. Senior Rafeal Arrellano is worthy of mentioning here as well. He's been a versatile, do-everything type for the undefeated Braves where he runs the ball (4.7 yard average, two touchdowns), catches the ball (seven catches for 82 yards, one touchdown), and can lead a pass rush (two sacks in victory over Frontier). Willie Iribarren is a tackling machine with great size at 6-foot-3, 220-pounds and instincts. Defensive lineman Ainuu Taua is also growing into his role. He has a deadly motor on both defense and as a blocking tight end.



Current ranking: No. 9

Best win: 28-3 over San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno on Aug. 24

PROSPECT WATCH: Junior quarterback Tanner Workman is carving out a name for himself. The 6-foot, 175-pound signal-caller has a 67.2 completion percentage, a quarterback rating of 123 and 11 touchdowns in just four games for the Rangers. Fellow junior Taylor Livingston is also another potential star in the making, who ran wild on Central Section powerhouse San Joaquin Memorial with 19 carries, 110 yards and two touchdowns. He has three games of over 100-yards rushing and has reached the end zone nine times.



Current ranking: No. 2

Best win: 55-13 over Valley Christian-Cerritos on Sept. 8

PROSPECT WATCH: The Cardinals have always liked being run-heavy and they got two quality running backs in Abel Gonzalez (team-high 430 yards) and Jack Gregson (392 yards). Both men have six touchdowns and average over nine yards per carry. Fullback Aiden Williams is a hard-nosed run blocker who paves the way for the Cardinal duo. Senior Troy Skinner is a ball-hawk at safety with four interceptions.


Current ranking: No. 3

Best win: 47-14 over Rio Hondo Prep-Arcadia on Aug. 31.

PROSPECT WATCH: The Royals have a very underrated senior quarterback in Tyler Baty. Though he's undersized at just 6-feet and 175-pounds, Baty is one of the more dangerous pocket passers in the 805. He's thrown 15 touchdown passes and he's yet to be intercepted. Wide receiver Joey Hall (5-foot-9, 170-pounds) has a nose for the end zone with eight touchdowns and can be a potential Wes Welker for someone. Senior Matt Souchek is a tall safety with three interceptions. He's shown excellent eyes and angle pursuits on defense. The Royals have unleashed a viscous assault on the Los Angeles and Orange County area in their four victories, with the closest margin of victory being 33-points against Rio Hondo Prep.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Upon further review: The JC scene (week three)

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna
We're starting to figure out some of the top talent in this realm and who has a bright future. Here's a closer look:

--Over at Fresno City, two players I've kept my eyes and ears on are actually looking much more changed in a good way. They're former Central-Fresno teammates Mike Baker and Rob Johnson.

--Beginning with Baker, there's no question that he has the arm and other intangibles to be a top quality passer, proven by his four touchdown evening against a pretty solid Reedley College defense. However, I'm starting to notice his composure has changed for the time being. When Baker (photo) made mistakes, he had a tendency to let that sink to his head, then get down on himself during his prep career. After two fumbles though, Baker was quick to shake it off, then engineered a 96-yard drive with the winning touchdown pass versus the Tigers. If he can continue to maintain that attitude, he could become highly recruited again.

--As for Johnson, he showed something rare on Saturday, a cutback ability. Johnson is known more for wearing down the heart of a defense with his north-south running style. However, he looked much quicker and showed that rare plant and burst on Saturday night. He actually looks much faster than before.

--On defense, the Ram secondary still looks athletic and intimidating. Even despite surrendering 338 passing yards to the Tigers plus two touchdowns through the air, Fresno City's DB's still provided the boom and had two crucial interceptions, including Duron Singleton's pick in the end zone to seal the 28-24 win. There was also the nasty hit Donnell Vercher delivered in the fourth quarter on Tiger wide receiver WIll Hanford, which looked as if Hanford flew towards the track at Reedley High's Sal Gonzalez Field. Trevor Baker also provides some hands in the press coverage plus imposing size at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds.

--The Tigers may actually have a star on offense in Sean Stell. The former Washington Union quarterback, who once tossed touchdown passes to the celebrated All-American Deontay Greenberry (University of Houston), brought new and much-needed energy to a struggling Tiger offense. Stell's quick delivery and his ability to escape defenders actually came against one of the better defenses in the state junior college scene. He may become the quarterback that turns around a Reedley College team that's fallen on hard times, even at 0-3 right now.

--San Francisco City is back at scoring at will, thanks to their 71-6 onslaught over West Hills-Coalinga. One weapon to mention is Kristoffer Oglubode (Bellarmine Prep-San Jose). The 5-foot-9, 190 pound sophomore is elusive, quick and even powerful with an average of over seven yards per carry. He had 14 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the 65-point drubbing of the Falcons.

--One other small running back gaining attention is Lanier Logan of Sacramento City College. In the Panthers' first win of the year on Saturday, Logan was almost Marshall Faulk or Ray Rice-like with his 249 total yards from scrimmage running and receiving in the 37-32 victory over Santa Rosa. The 5-foot-9 Logan is another small, quick, and explosive running back in the junior college scene. 

--Former Fresno State quarterback Ebahn Feathers is trying to burst back on the football scene. But this time, the former prized recruit from Washington Union is down in the 805 at Ventura College, who's off and running at 3-0. Feathers so far has eight touchdown passes, four interceptions, and a completion percentage of 65 percent. He was 27-of-40 for 330 yards, two touchdown passes and three interceptions in the 39-35 victory over L.A Harbor. He's starting to make good use of 6-foot-1, 180-pound wide receiver Dylan McDaniel, who had his first century mark game this season with eight catches for 118 yards and one touchdown reception.

--One notable defender to keep an eye on in this scene is Ian Seau. The nephew of the late Junior Seau and former Kansas State defensive end has a state-leading nine sacks in three games for Grossmont College, who sits at 2-1 right now. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Seau's breakout game was a five sack evening in the 36-3 rout over Desert College in the season opener for Grossmont.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Junior College Highlight game: Week three

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna
There's one notable contest on the collegiate scene worth noting this upcoming weekend, and we're going to the Bay Area for this one.


Two teams at 2-0 square off, and both bring plenty of offensive firepower, but also a stacked secondary on one end.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR COLLEGE OF THE SEQUOIAS: It all begins with that loaded secondary of the Giants. This unit currently has five total interceptions in the first two games.This group very seldom gives up big plays and even if they do, they're quick to help force a three-and-out. Texas Tech commit Darren Doston (left) and chiseled safety Jerry Haymon (right) have very strong instincts and very rarely allow anyone to run past them. Emerging freshman Gary Robinson has a team-best two interceptions so far. Steve Nelson (Georgia commit) and Brandon Bagley (Texas Tech) help create this "no-fly zone" with the rest of the Giants' defensive backs. On offense, Kevin Elijah had his breakout night at wide receiver last Saturday with 10 catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns in the 69-20 rout over West Hills-Coalinga. His quarterback, though, had a very strong redemption game from his erratic opening start. Tyler Ferguson (Ridgeview-Bakersfield) tossed six touchdown passes and 481 passing yards in the rout. When Ferguson sits comfortably in the pocket, he's very deadly with the deep ball.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR LOS MEDANOS: Wide receiver Terrence Polk is the big-play guy for the Mustangs. Polk already has 10 receptions for 189 yards and two scores. Quarterback Michael Behr doubles as a running and throwing threat for the Mustangs, who have scored a combined 78 points in their two wins. Josh Macias and Rahdeese Alcutt are two tackling machines at linebacker for Medanos. This team has been one of the best surprises on the junior college scene this season, since the Mustangs endured an 0-10 debacle one season ago.

Prospect watch for week three: Southern Section

Three games get the nod here, with two of them featuring Central Section and Los Angeles area bragging rights on the line.

Here's some key games for tomorrow night:


Despite the Jackrabbits' rare 56-0 embarrassment at the hands of Narbonne-Harbor City, plus their head-scratching 1-2 start, this is still a huge statement game for the Drillers, who can continue to solidify their case as one of the state's elite by knocking off this traditional L.A area monster.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR BAKERSFIELD: The backfield of Jeremiah Reddick and Derrick Vickers help lead this high-octane run game. The main man at the controls, though, is rising junior quarterback Asauni Rufus, who has the spread option attack averaging 462 yards per game on the ground. Defensively, an underrated prospect is nose guard Shaq Garrett. The 6-foot, 265-pound senior has dominated the middle of the Driller defense. Kevin Hayes continues to double as tall receiving option and ball-hawking defensive back with his 6-foot-3 frame.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR LONG BEACH POLY: The backfield duo of Washington State commit Gerald Wicks and Manusamoa Luuga help energize the Jackrabbits. Both are very dangerous when they find openings and won't hesitate to take off. However, both men are going against a ridiculously stacked Driller defense with speed everywhere. Defensive back David Price could be in for an epic confrontation with Hayes on defense.


After their week zero debacle versus Clovis High, the Tigers seem to be getting it now under Ricky Manning. As for Crenshaw, they'll bring plenty of speed in the second Central versus L.A battle.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR EDISON: Dual-threat quarterback Khari McGee is looking like he's fully recovered from that four interception performance against the Cougars to start the year. Since then, McGee has reached a combined eight total touchdowns in both Tiger wins and has begun to cut down on his mistakes. He'll go against a Crenshaw team loaded with speed, though. His backfield of Blake Wright and Kevin Nutt will need to get something going early to help take the pressure off of McGee. Defensively, the line duo of Brandon Wright and Yasmin Hayes brings strength and havoc up front. Linebacker Tyrone Muhammad is an instinctive player who has a nose for the ball. Safety Ronnie Manning is capable of the big hit and has shown to be an active blitzer.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR CRENSHAW: These Cougars have a versatile weapon in Mossi Johnson, who can hurt teams on the offensive end and on returns. Junior running back Jacob Knight will have a huge match up with Edison's speedy defense.


One L.A superpower goes toe-to-toe with an emerging Southern California power in what's now being billed as the biggest game in a long, long time for St. John Bosco.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR LOYOLA: The Cubs have a deep backfield that's averaging 416 yards per game as a team. Senior Wyatt Bradford leads the way with 414 rushing yards, an average of 8.12 yards per carry and nine touchdowns. Junior Nico Evans looks to be next in line at Loyola with his 263 yards and 10 yard average per carry. Defensive lineman John Turner is another emerging junior who's tied for the team lead in sacks with three. Senior Jack Neuheisel is the other with three sacks.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR ST. JOHN BOSCO: Sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen is an emerging star in the Golden State and is starting to become of the top prospects for the 2015 class. Rosen, who actually landed a Fresno State offer as a freshman, already has seven touchdown passes and a 61 percent completion percentage to go along with just one interception. His main target is 6-foot-2, 180 pound senior A.J Holman, who has 10 catches for 190 yards and a team-high four touchdowns. Another young and emerging talent for the Braves is junior Chandler Leniu at linebacker. The 6-foot, 220 pound Leniu has 13 solo tackles, one sack and one interception for the 3-0 Braves.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Prospect watch for week three: Central Section

Here's some key games to look out for in the Central Valley:


The Warriors have been one of the more consistent programs down in Kern County, but Arvin is off and running at 3-0, plus they have one very underrated running back.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR ARVIN: That running back is Orlando Perez. All he's done for the Bears is establish the productivity label on his high school resume. The 5-foot-9, 200 pound Perez is one tough runner who's capable of dragging defenders with him. While he may not be the fastest runner, his team-high 464 yards and four touchdowns has been one of the main reasons behind Arvin's solid start. Perez had 1,221 yards as a junior last year with nine touchdowns.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR TEHACHAPI: The Warriors have been known in Kern County for having lots of size and a bevy of running backs. This year's squad is the same as year's past. Three-year varsity letter winner Andrew Jiminez (6-foot-2, 330-pounds) is back. Also on the line is 6-foot-6, 280-pound junior Adam Confer. The backfield committee continues to be the strength of the Warriors,with 5-foot-9, 170 pound junior Skylar Valencia leading the way with 371 yards and a ridiculous average of 19.5 yards per carry. Quarterback Bobby Howell, another three-year varsity player, is very dangerous in the play action and provides plenty of zip to his throws.


Liberty bounced back very nicely in their rout over Tehachapi to improve to 2-1. Buchanan, though, is looking to make a statement in the Central Section and go 3-0.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR BUCHANAN: The Bears defense has been much improved, by just allowing 14 points in both wins even against some physical run-first teams. Defensive end Connor Martinez leads the charge up front. The 6-foot-tall, 195 pound senior is a Tasmanian devil on the outside and has 14 sacks in the last 13 games for the Bears. Tall safety Adam Soseman is on his way at becoming the next best Bear defender with his 6-foot-2 frame, his hip angles and the fact he has an interception in both wins. Offensively, Billy East is one of the more exciting players to watch in the Central Valley. East, who holds offers from the Ivy League ranks and Army, has a team-high six rushing touchdowns and is very deadly with his cutback runs. His speed allows him to line up anywhere on offense.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR LIBERTY: Corbin Jountii continues to remain a very productive runner for the Patriots. He'll get tested versus a much more faster, athletic and improved Bear defense. Wide receiver Kenny Davis has a very good match up versus Soseman. Davis is a deep threat and the Patriots' No. 1 target.


A much improved Miners team looks to avenge last season's 42-28 loss to Central, and show how they stack up against the loaded Grizzlies.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR EL DIAMANTE: Deangelo Torres is a star in the making at El D, with his 466 yards and team-high six touchdowns rushing. The 5-foot-9, 210 pound Torres also owns one receiving touchdown and averages nearly eight yards a carry. Wide receiver Blake Edmondson is a smooth route-runner and has a team-high 14 receptions for 346 yards and three receiving touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 175 pound senior had his best performance last week versus Monache-Porterville with a seven catch, 182 yard and one touchdown performance.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR THE GRIZZLIES: One of the better match ups will be Torres going against a Grizzly defense who can run, hit and cover. He'll have to get past Teshawn Smallwood on the defensive line, who's versatile enough to swallow running backs and chase quarterbacks. Another big confrontation could be Torres clashing helmets with Oklahoma commit Hatari Byrd at safety. Edmondson will likely go up against L.J Moore. If Edmondson gets the better of Moore, he could see his prospect resume sky rocket.

Looking for a playmaker? Go "East"

contributed photo
Buchanan has been one of the best early surprises in the Central Section this season, and they have one of the more dangerous and versatile threats in the Valley.

Billy East does it all for the Bears. He'll run the rock, line up in the slot or out wide, drop back and return kicks, maybe even play some cornerback. But the Bears (2-0) have been smart enough to get him the football and turn him loose.

East had traditional Fresno powerhouse Bullard gasping for air in Buchanan's stunning 36-14 rout over the usually physical Knights. The following week, Buchanan held off a Porterville team that's been very good as of late, with the Bears' solid 28-14 win.

With East helping take control of the offense, sometimes we send deep sympathies for whoever dares to stop East one-on-one.

With his 4.40 40-yard dash time, East is already a straight line blazer. He has a running back-like vision to him, though, which shows in his ability to not only cutback, but explode through the open hole like a smooth corvette hitting the streets.

His vision, speed, and elusiveness with his cutbacks scored major points with me. But he's also shown to be a very determined runner who won't come down on first contact. This is also a running back carrying just 190 pounds on him, but he runs and plays like he's training the defense. He has few peers right now on the opposite side of the field.

The big question right now for East will be what position will he be at the next level? He's got four offers right now. There's no telling if someone will want him running the ball or lining up at wide receiver.

But with that speed, change-of-direction and big-play ability, to go along with his good behavior and positive attitude off the field, East should  have no problem becoming someone's dangerous playmaker at the next level. He's already just that at Buchanan.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Boston run party

Photo courtesy of
As a sophomore, Deven Boston of Buena Park ran for 1,130 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In just three games, he's just 306 yards away from bettering that performance. Plus he already has 14 trips to the end zone.

The 6-foot-1, 208 pound Boston is just a junior, but he's already running and playing like he's on the big time college football stage. With his combination of speed, power, bulk and even his elusiveness, you could be looking at a throwback NFL runner in the form of a 16-year-old kid.

It's unreal what he's doing so far at the high school stage. He's leading the state of California with those 824 yards and 14 touchdowns.

California never seems to run out of running backs when teams look to fill their recruiting classes. I will also go out on a limb and say, after being in my film room and watching him go to work, he just might be the most complete high school running back since Adrian Peterson.

It probably won't be long before he gets heavily recruited and hyped like A.P.

Porchia breaks out--recruiting madness ensuing?

Photo courtesy of ESPN
Stanford was in the house on Friday for Mission Oak's game versus Golden West and the Cardinal likely had their eyes on highly-touted tight end/outside linebacker Kevin Palma.

Well, maybe either them, or another Division-I school can come back to Tulare for another Hawk stud, class of 2014 prospect Elijah Porchia.

The do-everything offensive threat and two-year varsity starter had a game for the ages for Mission Oak. Porchia went wild with 396 total all-purpose yards and five total touchdowns running and receiving. His most production came through the ground game, with 331 yards on 14 carries and four scores, including two runs of 76 and 95 yards.

Porchia had the type of night that would make Fantasy Football players wish they could pick him up. If you ask me though, I'm not surprised that he had this kind of night.

I've watched Porchia on at least two occasions. The last time I saw him was at the Passing Down State Finals back in May. He's got the speed and hips to make cuts then leave a trail of turf in front of his defenders. He's not just one of the better running backs in the Central Section, he's a versatile threat who can destroy defenses in so many ways.

If Palma can become highly recruited at Mission Oak, something is telling me Porchia is next in line.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Upon further review: Week two (JC Scene)

Here's what stood out this past weekend in my eyes:

--San Joaquin Delta is looking like an early darkhorse contender to make a state title run. Already, they've knocked off a Chabot College team that was 9-1 last season. Yesterday, they beat Reedley College in so many ways from offense, defense and even special teams.

--Who sticks out from the Mustangs? There's speed demon Jack Killian, who began the first half by hauling in four receptions including a 43 and 61 yarder, en route to 139 receiving yards in the first half. Quarterback Sam Hutsell is small at not even six feet, but he can run and he has a gun with his right arm. De'Marieya Nelson is a versatile receiving option who lines up at tight end and even quarterback in the wildcat, and he's brutal with his physical running style with his 6-foot-3, 230 pound frame. Finally, there's a defensive unit who got eight sacks and four turnovers.

--Staying with the JC scene, an emerging star is Merced's Tyrell Vinson. The Blue Devils' weapon had 164 yards on eight receptions for a touchdown in week one, and also has 173 yards on kick returns for two more scores.

--It didn't take long for College of the Sequoias' Tyler Ferguson to redeem himself from his three interception outing in his first collegiate game. The former Ridgeview-Bakersfield star, who once drew interest from Idaho and San Jose State, went off with six touchdown passes against a normally quick and athletic West Hills College defense. The 6-foot-4 Ferguson finished with 28 completions out of 40 attempts and 481 yards. He also had no interceptions. His top weapon was Kevin Elijah, who had 10 catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns in the 69-20 romp.

--Staying with COS, the loaded and deep secondary struck again for the Giants, with four total interceptions, including one from Texas Tech commit Darren Doston. Darrell Perry took one pass in for a 76 yard touchdown return, while Gary Robinson looks to be next in line at COS with two picks in the first two games this year.

--Over at Fresno City, big bruiser Rob Johnson is picking up where he left off last season. The hard-nosed runner had 22 carries, 101 yards and three scores (one for a 19 yard reception) for the Rams in the 47-38 victory over Merced. 

--Down in the Central Coast, Cameron Artis-Payne of Allan Hancock is beginning to make his case as the top running back in the junior college scene. The sophomore, who holds offers from the Mountain West ranks, gained 232 yards on 22 carries with three touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 33-20 victory. Artis-Payne averaged 10.5 yards per carry on his runs.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Prospect watch for week two

Here's some more key games for this weekend:

Los Angeles region


This one will have numerous PAC-12 commits and plenty of other star power in L.A.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR NARBONNE: Washington commit Troy Williams will look to make his case on becoming the top player in the state at the quarterback spot. One of his weapons will be a future PAC-12 opponent of his, A.J Richardson (Cal). Also playing wideout is another explosive weapon for the Gauchos, 6-foot, 170 pound burner Greg Clark, who had three catches for 102 yards last week and has just a New Mexico State offer. Kwentin Polk and Bruce Hicks, two other underrated prospects for Narbonne, will help anchor a fast secondary against Long Beach Poly's speed.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR LONG BEACH POLY: Washington State commit Gerald Wicks continues the Jackrabbits' lineage of producing explosive and fast playmakers. Wicks has enough versatility to bounce between running back and receiver. Fellow running back mate Manusamoa Luuga is another dynamic playmaker who can run and catch. On the defensive side, 6-foot-2, 200 pound David Price is a rugged safety who has a tremendous leap, angle pursuits, and a nose for the football. The senior has PAC-12 and SMU offers on the table.


It's inner-city Los Angeles versus the 805 in this fast-paced contest in Southern California.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR CRENSHAW: The Cougars are coming in 2-0 and have one of the more underrated playmakers in the L.A region in versatile Mossi Johnson. He's a threat to score as a receiver, returner or defender.  Junior Jacob Knight is a burner who could emerge as the Cougars' next best running back.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR WESTLAKE: The traditional Ventura County powerhouse has an emerging superstar in sophomore Jesse Cuccia. The 6-foot-1, 170 pound defensive back already has three interceptions to lead his team. On offense, Alex Egurbide is a red zone threat at 6-foot-5, 195 pounds and bounces between tight end and wide receiver for the Warriors.

Central Section


It's the Division-I Central Section champ (Bakersfield) versus a team that could be the Division-II champ in Kern County, Garces-Memorial.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR GARCES: Even despite being near 6-feet-tall, quarterback Cruise Adams has done damage against defenses with mainly his arm, as he's thrown eight touchdown passes and just two interceptions. He also has some clutch play in him, since he helped lead a come-from-behind victory over San Luis Obispo in week one. Sophomore running back Sheldon Croney could be one to watch in the 2015 class in Kern County, with an average of over nine yards per carry and one monster running game (16 carries, 161 yards, three touchdowns in 77-34 rout of Golden Valley-Bakersfield) plus a monster receiving game (seven catches, 97 yards in 21-20 comeback win over San Luis Obispo). Senior Jake Sweaney doubles as a tall receiving option and defensive playmaker for Garces. The 6-foot-2, 195 pound target has a team-high four touchdowns off of eight catches and 191 yards. He also leads the way in picks with two. Fellow senior Angus Bellue is another tall option at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds with his team-high 12 catches, including a six reception, 182 yard night last week in the rout over Golden Valley.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR BAKERSFIELD: Um, where do we start? This team is ridiculously loaded everywhere. The Drillers clearly have more depth than anyone in Kern County. The backfield of Jeremiah Reddick and Derrick Vickers has proven to be fun to watch. Kevin Hayes is a freakish 6-foot-3, 170 pound target at wide receiver and safety, quarterback Asauni Rufus hurts you running and throwing, what more needs to be said?


This one should provide plenty of brute force and physicality. Both love using the trenches. Two of the more physical teams in Kern County and the Central Valley.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR LIBERTY: Corbin Jountii is emerging as a complete runner and had a 100 yard day against one of the better and more stacked defenses in the state in Central-Fresno last week. Wide receiver Kenny Davis is a reliable deep threat option who can make all kinds of grabs.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR TEHACHAPI: With all those massive mountain boys up front, the Warriors never seem to shy away from punishing people in the ground game. They once again bring a committee of backs with them. Junior 5-foot-9 backs Skylar Valencia and Christian Terle have combined for 536 yards and six scores for run-heavy Tehachapi. Senior Jorge Garcia averages over eight yards per carry and had an eight carry, 113 yard evening in the opener versus Exeter. Quarterback Bobby Howell, a three-year varsity starter, is very dangerous in the play action and already owns one Central Section title with the Warriors.


One is an emerging powerhouse in the Broncos. The other is an established monster in Buhach Colony. This could be the biggest statement game ever for Clovis North and head coach Cory Hall.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR THE BRONCOS: Outside of the usual dynamic stars of Marcus Rose (wide receiver/return man), Isaiah Duran (OL/DL), David Wells (tight end), and quarterback Christian Rossi, might be time to keep a close eye on running back Carson Guzman, who had his breakout night last week in the comeback win over El Diamante. Guzman ran for 165 yards on 17 carries last Friday.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR BUHACH COLONY: Leon Miles, Stefon Gold, and emerging 5-foot-7 junior Roosevelt Edwards are all the bell cow types for the Thunder running game. All three have well over 100 yards rushing and a combined five touchdowns. The man leading the way is the biggest mountain the Thunder has, the 6-foot-8, 350 pound road clearer known as Aaron Cochran. The tall three-star prospect had Big XII, PAC-12 and Mountain West offers ranging from Oklahoma, UCLA, to Fresno State. The tackle has 11 total.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Upon further review: Final week one thoughts

This one I'll try to keep short and simple, but as in-depth as possible. Plus, throw in what stuck out at me in the junior college scene this past week:

--One question I asked was how would Edison-Fresno's Khari McGee respond from one of his worse football performances ever, after tossing four interceptions in the stunning loss to Clovis. His answer? Three fourth quarter touchdown passes, including the game-winning 61 yarder to Preston Scott to win in come-from-behind fashion, a 26-21 victory over Los Angeles area powerhouse Carson. Looks like McGee has resolve and fight in him. So does Edison under Ricky Manning Jr.

--As for the team that stunned Edison last week, Clovis High, we know right here in the Central Valley they can compete with the best in the Central Section. However, following their loss to El Toro 30-10, we also know they still have a ways to go before they emerge as a state powerhouse.

--Speaking of El Toro, I'm starting to believe that Dominic Collins will get an influx of offers soon, just like his quarterback and Utah commit Conner Manning. The 6-foot-3, 170 pound junior caught 11 receptions for 126 yards and found flaws in a normally aggressive and quick Clovis defense.

--On to the JC scene, looks like Fresno City uses the "R" word every other year. No, not rebuilding--more like reloading. The Rams unveiled brand new future stars from quarterback Michael Baker, running back James Holland, and Nate Palomino on defense, as they smashed West Hills 30-6 on Saturday. The same West Hills that lost by a score of 44-37 last year to these same Rams. Baker, who once held PAC-12 and even MAC offers, combined for three touchdowns. Holland ran for 108 yards on 11 carries with one score, plus averaging 9.8 yards per carry. Palomino brings a pass rush in a two-point stance and a nose for the football. Oh, the trenches also still have to deal with big, bruising Rob Johnson, who averaged 6.8 yards per carry versus the Falcons.

--I finally got a chance to see what the College of the Sequoias secondary is all about. Well, they didn't blow me away, but I will say, they are real, real deep. I also saw why they receive the publicity they get among scouts. They don't give up too many big plays and even if they do, they're quick to force a punting situation. Gary Robinson grabbed an interception and gives them depth. Former Clovis East star Jerry "Bear" Haymon looks ridiculously chiseled and almost resembles a linebacker. He's a rugged hitter in that secondary. Darren Doston has the height and speed that can neutralize tall wide receivers, especially in the red zone. He's hard to pick on if you're a quarterback.

--I also must say, Reedley College looked vastly improved on defense. A unit that once surrendered 420 total points last season, including 41 to Sequoias in their 41-7 debacle, actually won the turnover battle versus College of the Sequoias with three interceptions. Cedric Fleming will be one to watch in the secondary, after getting one huge interception plus a devastating hit on a bubble screen during the Saturday game. Former Sanger quarterback Patrick Greene has made a nice transition to the other side, with two picks on Saturday. Linebacker Rodney Thomas brings a nasty streak from his linebacker spot, with two tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Prospect watch from week one: Cali defenders

Contributed photo
Here's how some notable under-the-radar defenders fared in week one:


Week one stats: One interception, good for a 75 yard touchdown return. One reception, good for a 35 yard score in 70-0 rout over Coachella.

Overview: Once again, Terry is dynamite waiting to go off once he touches the football. A threat to take it back once the ball is in his hands, regardless if he's on offense or defense. In his last three games he's had six touchdowns off of five receptions and five interceptions.


Week one stats: One sack, seven tackles, five solo. Offense: six carries for 120 yards in 52-38 victory over Diamond Bar.

Overview: McAlister helped re-energize a pass rush and defense that fell to an early 20-7 hole, but then allowed just 18 total points in the next three quarters in the come-from-behind victory. A good sized player at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, McAlister is capable of providing a motor for someone in the front line of a defense or even at fullback.


Week one stats: Three tackles, two sacks in 54-0 rout over Animo Leadership.

Overview: The 6-foot-tall, 220 pound nose guard is starting to pick up attention, since he now has a state-best six sacks in two games for the Valiants. It's rare that someone in the middle of the defense can lead his team in sacks, but Hughes has gotten to the quarterback often this year from his nose spot.


Week one stats: 16 tackles, 12 solo, two sacks in 37-6 loss to San Clemente.

Overview: The Jaguars have had a difficult start at 0-2, but Faaiu has been off to a fast start. The versatile 6-foot-2, 220 pound outside linebacker can rush, tackle and hit. He's currently fifth in the state in total tackles with 31 and is averaging 15.5 per game.


Week one stats: 13 tackles, one forced fumble in 26-21 victory over Carson.

Overview: Not the biggest linebacker at barely six feet tall and roughly 180 pounds, but Muhammad (photo) has a nose for the football and his closing speed fits perfectly at Edison, who's always prided themselves on speed and defense. Muhammad may get a look as a strong safety at the next level due to size, but he can play up to the line and close openings quick.


Week one stats: 15 tackles, two forced fumbles in 21-0 win over Lemoore.

Overview: A rugged player who seems to always be around the football, Wingfield delivers the kind of hits that can make people lose the football, proven by the two fumbles he forced. So far, he's forced three fumbles on the year. Twin brother Errian also dominated on his end, with a 24 carry, 205 yard and two touchdown evening for the Wildcats.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Upon further review: Prospect watch from week one

Here's some more thoughts on all that went down here in California that's getting my attention, especially on the prospect front.

--Last year, Buchanan-Clovis was one of the Tri-River Athletic Conference's laughingstocks. But boy, did the Bears send an early warning to their TRAC foes, and even the Central Section, as they unleashed an onslaught on a more physical and athletic Bullard-Fresno squad by a final score of 36-14. Versatile weapon Billy East combined for 12 touches running and receiving for 111 total offensive yards and two touchdowns. The Knights couldn't find ways to contain him even despite being known for their physical play and being well-coached under head coach Don Arax.  Buchanan also brought the house on defense, with pass rushing specialist Connor Martinez pouncing on two Bullard fumbles, even returning one for a touchdown. Martinez also led a Buchanan rush that held quarterback Niko Pacheco to just 52 passing yards. Safety Adam Soseman was also active in blanketing the Knight receivers and also providing an extra security blanket at tight end. Senior Tyler Fry, who rotated with Nolan Sorensen at quarterback last year, threw two touchdown passes on 11-of-22 passing. Fry, a 6-foot-1, 190 pound quarterback, is actually a very mobile signal-caller who's capable of hurting a defense with his legs too.

--Staying in the Central Section, Kingsburg quarterback Brandon Steele is continuing the Vikings' lineage of quality quarterbacks. Steele, a class of 2014 prospect, combined for five touchdowns running and throwing, plus ran for 132 yards on eight carries in the Vikings' 62-22 rout over Golden West. Steele is a tall, bruising runner who's unafraid of contact. Sounds like Tim Tebow, doesn't it?

--And, staying in the city known as "K Town," a star may have been born in wide receiver Austen Hammerstorm, who caught three passes for 101 yards and had touchdowns of 44 and 40 yards for Kingsburg. He's capable of continuing a solid lineage of receivers from Kingsburg that includes Taylor Abernathy (Humboldt State), Trevor Price (Cal Lutheran) and Fresno City Rams Kevin Hurtado and Zach Bethel.

--The Central Grizzlies are beginning to prove they can get down and dirty, and win without having to score so many points and just using the trenches to claim victory. This was the case in a very physical and hard fought win over Liberty-Bakersfield 10-9. Nick Wilson now has back-to-back 100 yard games with a 24 carry, 107 yard night and one touchdown. The Grizzlies even held on for the win despite Corbin Jountii's 23 carry, 123 yard night including a 65 yard touchdown run. Patriot quarterback Josh Medina wasn't picked off surprisingly against the Grizzlies' stacked secondary, but was held to just 98 yards through the air.

--Clovis North tight end and San Diego State commit David Wells had one of his better prep performances on Friday. The 6-foot-5, 215 pound Wells hauled in seven catches for 64 yards and two scores in the Broncos' come-from-behind 35-21 win over a much improved El Diamante squad. Miners running back Deangelo Torres ran for 142 yards on 21 carries and two scores, a follow up from his last performance where had 266 yards for the Miners. A potential star and feature back for the Broncos, though, may have been born in the form of Carson Guzman, who rushed for 165 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. Bronco quarterback Christian Rossi was near accurate, with 17 completions and just four that fell to the ground. The senior wasn't intercepted once either and is one of the better play-action, pro style quarterbacks in the Central Section.

--Mount Whitney had one of the more impressive blowouts of the evening, as the Pioneers smashed Tulare Western 59-6. Wide receiver Darius Armstead could be one that sneaks up on people in the Visalia realm, after his five catch, 115 yard night with a 36 yard score.

--Corbin Quinnonez continues to make his mark as one of the better quarterbacks in the Central Valley too, after completing 10-of-15 passes for 198 yards and six touchdown passes. Quinnonez found highly-touted tight end/outside linebacker Kevin Palma on four touchdown scores. Elijah Porchia will be one to watch in the 2014 class. The electrifying running back had 100 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns, plus he opened the game with a 70 yard scoring run. The Hawks led 54-0 against Hanford West at halftime, and cruised to the 54-14 romp.

--A huge victory in the 805 came out on Friday, for a school who is now starting to get recognized as a state powerhouse in Lompoc High. All this talk about the Braves not playing enough quality competition and how they would get owned by someone from the Central Valley may have now been put to rest, after the Braves held off Frontier-Bakersfield 21-14. Lavon Coleman is making his mark as one of the best running backs in the state, perhaps even the nation after his 24 carry, 216 yard night against a normally physical Titan defense led by hard-hitting linebacker Triton Douglas. Coleman scored on runs of 72 and 40 yards.

--Staying with the Braves, Ralphie Arrellano is emerging as a quality college prospect for Lompoc. Arellano was very active with 12 tackles, two sacks and one interception from his defensive back spot. He also carries the rock for the Braves. If the 5-foot-11, 180 pound senior continues to remain active, maybe someone will recognize him regardless of school or level.

--One other Southern Section and 805 squad made their huge statement on Friday too, the St. Joseph Knights. The alma mater of former NFL quarterback Mark Brunell went off on traditional Fresno powerhouse San Joaquin Memorial 44-3 on Friday. Wide receiver Zak Karsh even showed off his return game, with two punt returns for touchdowns from 82 and 72 yards out. The Knights improve now to 2-0 and is becoming one to watch down in the 805.

--Junior running back Deven Boston is starting to get recognized in the Southern Section. The Buena Park runner is currently tied in the state in rushing touchdowns with nine total, and is third in the state with 414 yards and a 12.5 yard per carry average. The 6-foot-1, 205 pound Boston is a hard-nosed runner with excellent balance, burst and power.

--Finally, Joshua "Jay Tee" Taylor of Franklin-Los Angeles is now emerging as one of the more dangerous weapons in the state, with four more touchdowns on Thursday, giving him nine total.