With less than a month before the playoffs, I’m going to list ten players in the running for player of the year. If you’re not on this list, that doesn’t mean you won’t win it. So much can change once the playoffs begin, but if it ended today, these are the top ten in consideration, in no particular order of course.
Dietrich Riley, St. Francis, RB/DB — Riley, one of the most coveted recruits in the nation, does just about everything for the Golden Knights. Offensively, he’s rushed for 518 yards and nine touchdowns and has caught 21 passes for 381 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, he has three interceptions and averages six tackles per game. The scary part is Riley’s played in only two complete games this season and played only the first half in the first six games of the regular season. Riley is perhaps the most versatile player in Southern California this season.
Isaac Valdez, San Gabriel, QB — Valdez leads the San Gabriel Valley in passing with 2,033 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s the primary reason why the Matadors are in hunt for an Almont League championship. In addition, he’s also rushed for 444 yards and seven touchdowns.
Justin Posthuma, St. Francis, QB — Looking at MaxPreps and it doesn’t list Posthuma having thrown an interception. I’m not sure about that, but I could be wrong. Nevertheless, Posthuma’s proven to be one of the Valley’s elite quarterbacks. Dietrich Riley is the heart and soul of the team, but without Posthuma anchoring the offense it’s uncertain how good the Golden Knights would be this season. He’s thrown for 1,398 yards and 12 touchdowns, and if MaxPreps is correct, no interceptions. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also rushed for 441 yards and eight touchdowns.
Max Ruckle, Temple City, RB — Ruckle’s been impressive with 1,043 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. He’s lightning quick and tough to bring down.
Justin Smith, Temple City, QB — Whether the Temple City fans will admit it or not, the Rams have on their hands a legitimate quarterback in Smith. He’s thrown for 1,405 yards and 10 touchdowns, helping Temple City’s offense with good deception. Smith is mobile and not afraid to take a hit. He doesn’t go down without a fight.
Nick Bueno, Monrovia, QB — Bueno is CIF’s sixth-leading rusher at the QB position with 795 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. He’s thrown for 517 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Darrian Cazarin, Alhambra, QB — He’s thrown for 1,628 yards to lead the Moors offensively. He has 15 touchdowns and rushed for two more.
Josh Lowden, Monrovia, LB — Mr. 55 averages 11 tackles per game and has one sack this season. Monrovia heavily prides itself for its tenacious defense, and anchoring the D is Lowden.
De’Shawn Ramirez, Monrovia, RB — The sophomore sensation has rushed for 732 yards and nine touchdowns. He averages nearly 12 yards per carry and has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns.
Stevie Yortsos, San Marino, WR/DB — Yortsos has 27 receptions for 484 yards and six touchdowns. More impressively, Yortsos five interceptions to lead the West San Gabriel Valley.
Rocky Moore, La Canada, QB — Moore is leading the Spartans to an unbelievable years. I wasn’t expecting first-year coach Dan Yoder to have La Canada competing, but that’s exactly what he’s done. Moore is at the forefront and his numbers don’t lie. He’s thrown for 1,641 yards and 17 touchdowns with only two interceptions. Two!! If the Spartans make the playoffs you can bet Moore will be a serious candidate come season’s end.