The race for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune player of the year award begins this week with several hopefuls in action. Covina High quarterback Mike McDonough graduated after earning back-to-back player of the year awards. In no particular order, these are some of the top pre-season candidates for 2007.
Dorian Wells, South Hills – The best playmaker in the SGV? Will he go crazy going from Bishop Amat to South Hills? You have to like the position he’s in, and his stats should be among the best in the valley at his position. I know he’s a receiver, but if the Huskies go all the way, then he deserves a close look.
Mikey Harrell, Charter Oak - With Michael Johnson gone, look for Harrell to have a huge year as Chris Allen’s No. 1 target. The Chargers offense should be a nice blend of running and passing, which will affect his stats. But as far as pure talent, you can’t go wrong with this guy.
Bryce Mahmud-McBride, Los Altos – That’s right, his official last name is now Mahmud-McBride. With Los Altos’ quarterback situation up in the air, Mahmud-McBride could be asked to carry the Conquerors and has all the tools necessary to do so. He’s got speed, he’s tough, his body is rock solid and a great offensive line to work with. Seriously, I don’t know what’s stopping this guy from a possible 2,000 yard season.
Chris Harris, Duarte – The SGV’s leading rusher with over 2,100 yards is back. And look at what he did in last year’s playoffs, rushing for 241 yards against La Canada, and had another game where he rushed for 166 yards against a powerful Glendora defense. The Falcons are heavy favorites to win the Montview League for a second straight year, and figure to be one of the top four teams in the Mid Valley Division.
Nico Barbone, San Dimas – Oh, this could be a special year for the Saints junior. What I keep hearing most about Barbone is his tremendous work ethic and desire to get better. He had a sophomore season in which he rushed for 1,330 yards with 12 TDs. If the Saints go on to win the Valle Vista with Barbone leading the charge, he would have to be considered. Of course to win it, the Saints need to pull off a few surprises in the Northwest Division.
Tim Gilmore, Wilson – There’s a feeling among some I’ve talked to that on pure talent, Gilmore is special. He’s a run and catch threat on an offense returning a lot of weapons. Of course, he’ll be judged on how his team does. If the Wildcats can somehow find their way into the Miramonte League race, and earn a playoff berth, then Gilmore will get a closer look.
Chris Allen, Charter Oak – An imposing figure for a junior. Sort of a JaMarcus Russell type according to coach Lou Farrar. Look, he went 9-1 as a starter and led the Chargers all the way to the Southwest Divisional finals. There won’t be anyone returning with more confidence, and he has the receivers in place to have a huge season.
Danny Pertusati, Damien – The Spartans lose a great quarterback in Mike Mendrum, but watch Pertusati pick up where he left off, and even add a tad more with his quick footwork. I watched this guy in practice this week, and not only was impressed with his arm, composure, but his ability to scramble out of trouble and make plays. He sort of reminded me of a McDonough type, but this is his first-year starting at QB as a senior, so we’ll see what happens. But a sleeper for sure.
Austin Goldsmith, Duarte – The Falcons QB threw for over 2,000 yards and 20-plus touchdowns as a junior, and against the type of opponents on the Falcons’ schedule, his stats should be off the charts again. With Harris as his counterpart in the backfield, Goldsmith should have no problem finding open receivers. Like Harris, for Goldsmith to be considered, they Falcons must make a serious run at a CIF title.
Other QB’s in the running.…
Brian Partida, Arroyo
Brandon Parham, South Hills
Jose Garay, South El Monte
Oscar Robles, Northview
Drew Kaluzny, Glendora