Above: Player of the Year Aaron Porter of La Habra (Staff photo by Keith Durflinger)
To read Aaron Porter’s Player of the Year story, along the La Serna duo of OJ Medina and Craig Jones receiving offensive and defensive player of the year honors, and Santa Fe’s Jack Mahlstede being named Coach of the Year, along with the first and second team lists, click the thread.
PORTER MAHLSTEDE MEDINA JONES
Player of the Year – Aaron Porter, La Habra, Sr.
Coach of the Year - Jack Mahlstede, Santa Fe
Offensive Player of the Year – OJ Medina, La Serna, Sr.
Defensive Player of the Year – Craig Jones, La Serna, Sr.
QB:Paul Telles, St. Paul, Jr.
RB: Joey Davis, Santa Fe, Sr.
RB:OJ Medina, La Serna, Sr.
AP: Corey Collins, Cantwell, Sr.
WR:Brett Bartolone, La Habra, Sr.
WR: Dallis Shipp, La Mirada, Jr.
TE: Tyler Carrillo, St. Paul, Sr.
OL: Cristian Garcia, St. Paul, Jr..
OL: Spencer Fox, La Mirada, Sr.
OL: Pete Morales, La Habra, Sr.
OL: Spencer Long, La Habra, Sr.
OL: Isaiah Osorio, La Serna, Jr.
PK: Sean Wale, La Habra, Sr.
DL: Abraham Torres, Cantwell, Sr.
DL: Tony Casados, La Habra, Sr.
DL: John McFarland, La Serna, Jr.
LB: Kevin Romo, St. Paul, Sr.
LB: Craig Jones, La Serna, Sr.
LB: Miguel Cardiel, California
LB: Willie Blauser, Santa Fe, Sr.
DB: Daniel Abernethy, Whittier Christian, Sr.
DB: Cedrick Franklin, La Habra, Jr.
DB: Andy Gramajo, La Mirada, Sr.
DB: Christian Mahlstede, Santa Fe
P:Daniel Chacon, Whittier Christian, Sr
QB:Frankie Palmer, La Serna, So.
RB:Johnny Hills, La Mirada, Jr.
RB:Ryan Morales, Whittier Chr., Sr.
AP: Michael Ortega, St. Paul, Senior
WR: Zach Ramsey, St. Paul, Senior
WR: Cody Bronkar, Whittier Christian, Jr.
WR: Adam Aguirre, Cantwell, Sr.
OL: Carlos Tovar, Santa Fe, Jr.
OL: Paul Governale, St. Paul, Sr.
OL: Cris Cisneros, La Mirada, Jr.
OL: Andrew Sagaio, La Habra, Sr.
OL: Memo Monreal, La Mirada, Sr.
PK: Eric Amezquita, California, So.
DL: Daniel Servin, Montebello, Sr.
DL: Omar Luna, Whittier, Jr.
DL: Mario Bonilla, Santa Fe, Sr.
DL: Tyler Luatua, La Mirada, So.
LB: Eric Magos, Schurr, Sr.
LB: David Cabral, St. Paul, Sr.
LB: Austin Ybarra, La Habra, Sr.
DB: Jacob Alaniz, Cantwell, Sr.
DB: Grant Escobar, Whittier Chr., Sr.
DB: Marcus Garcia, St. Paul, Sr.
DB: Lawrence Gomez, California, Sr.
P: Jordan Rincon, Santa Fe, Sr.
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR STORY
When it comes to area high school football, La Habra
has set the standard, winning 10 consecutive Freeway League titles
and six CIF-Southern Section divisional championships since 2002.
The Highlanders strength lies in their personal, which has featured
the area’s best for much of the past 10 seasons, and that’s no
different this season where senior Aaron Porter was a cut above the
Porter, the latest star for La Habra, which in past seasons also
included quarterback Cody Clements, now at Washington State, and
running back Ronnie Hillman, now at San Diego State, is Whittier
Daily News Football Player of the Year.
La Serna running back OJ Medina is Offensive Player of the Year, with
the Lancers linebacker Craig Jones Defensive Player of the Year.
But this was the year of Porter.
“Overall, he’s probably the top player I’ve ever had,” La Habra coach
Frank Mazzotta said. “I’d put him in that category with Cody Clements
and Ronnie Hillman. All those guys had talent, with incredible work
“They all worked extremely hard, knew they had a world full of talent
and weren’t going to squander it.”
Porter, who committed to UCLA in the summer, is the latest to fit the
He had already proven himself as one of the top linebackers on the
West Coast. But this season, due to injuries, added the role of
running back to his resume, and the results keyed La Habra to another
Freeway League title and to the Southwest Division semifinals.
The senior, who led the team with eight sacks and 23 tackles for a
loss, was just as dominant on offense, rushing for 865 yards and 17
touchdowns. He also had three receiving scores to finish with 20
touchdowns, while averaging nearly nine yards per carry.
His postseason honors including being selected Freeway League MVP and
All-CIF-SS Southwest Division Player of the Year. He was also
All-Orange County Defensive Player of the Year.
“I thought we had a good season, up until the end,” said Porter of
the Highlanders, who went 5-0 in the Freeway League, but saw their
CIF-SS title quest end with a semifinal loss to El Toro. “We played
hard. It just didn’t turn out the way we wanted.
“There was definitely some pressure, trying to live up to the seniors
last year. You always want to win to keep that tradition going. We
let them down, but we had a good season.”
It was a very challenging one for La Habra, which 9-4 campaign
included three tough losses to Trinity League stalwarts Servite
(24-16), Orange Lutheran (30-24) and St. John Bosco (41-6).
Porter, who was expected to be a change-up option in the backfield
this season, was pushed into the role as the hammer of the offense
when Alex Ybarra was injured during the middle of the season.
He closed the season by rushing for 641 yards and 14 touchdowns in
his last five games, including going for 165 and four scores in La
Habra’s 47-41 loss to El Toro in the semifinals.
Porter ended his career as the top defender in school history, with a
record 388 tackles, with 26 sacks and 54 tackles for losses.
“I love carrying the ball,” he said. “Scoring touchdowns, it’s always
fun to do that. I like having it, putting my team on my back and
Which is what he did. But his success, according to Mazzotta came not
from his raw ability and stature, which includes his 6-foot-2,
235-pound frame, but from what it carries around inside.
“He did it all for us,” Mazzotta said. “He was the catalyst on both
sides of the ball. No matter what he asked, he did it.
“It’s not so much his talent, but how hard he works. He sets an
example for everyone else on the team. He never takes a break.”
Porter is expected to bring that energy and commitment to the college
ranks, where he is expected to sign with UCLA in February. He is
still committed to the Bruins, who replaced Rick Neuheisel with Jim
L. Mora, a defensive coach.
Medina and Jones were the key factors in La Serna backing up last
season’s run to the Southeast Division semifinals with a trip to this
Medina was the big player on offense, rushing for 1,625 yards and 21
touchdowns. He keyed the run to the finals, rushing for 465 yards and
seven scores in the playoffs. The senior was Del Rio League Offensive
Player of the Year.
Jones was the glue on defense, leading the Del Rio League with 82
tackles. Jones was league co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Both players were the only two starters from last season’s run to the
COACH OF THE YEAR STORY
It was a fitting conclusion to one of the
more-storied coaching careers in the area.
Santa Fe High School football coach Jack Mahlstede, who had
previously announced the 2011 season would be his final one walking
the sidelines for the Chiefs, went out in a style — with a Del Rio
For his efforts, both this season and throught out a career that
dates back to the 1970s, Mahlstede is 2011 Whittier Daily News Coach
of the Year.
“We played really tough teams, which is what we planned on doing,”
said Mahlstede, whose Chiefs rebounded from a 1-4 start to go
undefeated in the Del Rio League before losing to Muir in the first
round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs. “We
made a big trip to Arizona, played some really tough ball clubs (in
nonleague play) and just tried to get ready for league. It paid off
for us, because we went undefeated in league.”
The road to the title was not any easy one for the Chiefs. Santa Fe
had to endure three tough losses in September after playing arguably
the top team in Arizona (Hamilton, of Chandler), one of the better
teams in the Pac-5 Division Trinity League (St. John Bosco) and the
eventual Sierra League champion (Charter Oak).
The Chiefs lost all three by a combined 150 points. But molded them
into a strong unit down the stretch.
There were questions, after Santa Fe’s pourus start, about whether
the Chiefs, despite their talent level, could put those setbacks
asside and regroup for the battles that awaited them in the Del Rio
The answers came quickly.
Santa Fe, combining the speed of senior running back Joey Davis, with
the athleticism of receiver/defensive back Christian Mahlstede and a
solid defense, ruled league play.
The Chiefs opened with a 39-21 victory over El Rancho, then clamped
down defensively, giving up 27 points over their final four league
games en route to victories over California (31-10), La Serna (23-8),
Whittier (26-6) and Pioneer (42-3).
The season ended with a 39-7 loss to Muir in the first round of the
“We didn’t really have to tell the kids anything,” Mahlstede said.
“They know when they play (teams like that), they are playing tough
(teams), and they have to be ready mentally to play.
“I think playing teams like that helps you in league, because they
are used to getting up for a (big time opponent. Plus, we got better
(during the season). From game one to game six, we improved a whole
lot. We improved because we realized our shortcomings and were able
to overcome them and get the best out of our kids, who repsonded
It’s a philosphy that has worked well for Mahlstede, who after
finishing 6-5 this season, ended his career at Santa Fe with 234
victories, 139 losses and five ties.
Part of his success over the years, which includes traditionally
being one of the top teams in the area, is due to consistency, not so
much on field, but how he teaches and a staff that has had very
little turnover in his 34 years at the Santa Fe Springs school.
“My coaching staff was tremendous this year,” Mahlstede said. “They
did a great job, and have for several years. One of the reasons is
because they’ve been with me for a long time.
“It’s not like a bunch of rookies out there. Some have been with me
for more than 20 years. They did a really good job.”
Now Mahlstede, who had the pleasure of coaching his grandson
Christian at Santa Fe the past few years, will concentrate on the
good life, which will include watching his other grandson, Kyle, who
will be a senior quarterback at Sonora.
“As I look back, the best moments have been working with the kids, my
coaching staff and my family involvement,” Mahlstede said. “All my
boys played for me, coached for me, watching my grandkids play. It’s
been a great run.
“I’ll be able to watch (Kyle) play at Sonora, Christian in college.
It will be a very interesting situation.”