Photo by Watchara Phomicinda
THE 2014 DAILY NEWS ALL-AREA TEAM PUBLISHED IN THE TRIBUNE ON CHRISTMAS DAY!
2014 DAILY NEWS ALL-AREA TEAM PHOTO GALLERY
By Stephen Ramirez
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Andrew Perea, El Rancho, Senior
El Rancho High School’s Andrew Perea, outside the Don community, was somewhat an unknown commodity to begin the season.
The senior, who had a limited role last season, doesn’t have to worry about that now.
Perea enjoyed one of the better seasons in recent memory, accounting for more than 3,000 yards and leading to Dons to their first league title in 17 years. For his efforts, Perea is Daily News Player of the Year.
“He played phenomenal and had a great season,” said El Rancho coach Vinnie Lopez, whose team was 8-3. “Hat’s off to him. His numbers are a reflection of what the team did. The offensive line was great up front, and we had four outstanding receivers that made plays.
“Andrew had a fantastic year and we are really proud of the things he did. But like everything, it’s a team sport.”
But Perea was no doubt the focal leader. He proved to be a double-edge sword for opposing defenses, who had to pick their poison when they faced the Dons. As a passer he ranked among the area leaders, throwing for 2,275 yards and 20 touchdowns. But he also added a running dimension, rushing for 828 yards and 14 scores for 34 touchdowns on the season.
He took advantage of Lopez’ spread offense scheme.
“Progressively, I just gained more confidence in myself and the offense,” Perea said. “I just relied on my receivers, my linemen, everybody. You need everybody to win the game.”
Perea was steady all season. He threw for 200 yards or more six times, led by 418-yard, four-touchdown effort against rival La Serna. The Dons secured a 42-35 victory over the Lancers. It gave them a foothold on the Del Rio League and set up the team’s run to their first league title since 1997.
“It was a great win that night,” Perea said. “A lot of guys stepped up and a lot of guys knew we had to get that game to win the league title this year. We just came out and got the job done.”
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Isaac Mendibles, Montebello, Junior
There was nothing complex about the Montebello High School football team’s offensive gameplan this season.
It centered around senior running back Isaac Mendibles, who despite being a marked man still manage to lead the area in rushing en route to helping the Oilers to a the Almont League title and a spot in the Mid-Valley Division quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.
For his efforts, Mendibles is Daily News Offensive Player of the Year.
Mendibles was a rushing machine, leading the area with 1,943 yards and 24 touchdowns.
“I couldn’t do it without my line,” Mendibles said. “They worked hard, and were a lot stronger at the end of the year. Next year, it’s going to be a lot better.”
That would be difficult to imagine, considering how good it was for Mendibles this season. He rushed for at least 100 yards in 10 of the Oilers’ 12 games, while also breaking 200 yards three times, including running for 336 and six touchdowns in a 49-16 victory over Mark Keppel in October.
Also adding to Mendibles success is the what Montebello did as a team. The Oilers recovered from a 1-4 start to begin the season with sixth consecutive wins en route to the Almont League title. They beat La Puente 24-17 to open the playoffs before losing to Northview in the second round.
“It’s a great accomplishment for the school (to win league in back-to-back seasons),” Mendibles said. “It was only the second time in school history. The team did great.
“It was hard (during the start), but we grew as one. We moved on and got stronger.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Adrian Palacios, El Rancho, Senior
A switch in positions made all the difference for El Rancho High School’s Adrian Palacios.
The senior, who played the previous two seasons at outside linebacker, moved inside this season and he followed with a dominant season. Palacios proved to be a force for the Dons, keying their best season in 17 years. For his efforts, Palacios is Daily News Football Defensive Player of the Year.
“Adrian is a three-year guy for us,” El Rancho coach Vinnie Lopez said. “We really had him out of position the past two years because we had (league) defensive player of the year Jesus Verduzco playing middle linebacker. This year, moving Adrian to the middle of the field was just perfect. Any play C-gap to C-gap, he was downhill on it. We’re a run-heavy league, so we have to real physical, defensively, and that’s what Adrian brought to the table.”
Palacios led the team in tackles, with 106, 12 of which were for losses. He also had two interceptions. He also played his best late, averaging 13 tackles in the team’s last five games, including 21 vs. California.
“I was excited moving from outside to middle,” Palacios said. “I knew it would be a very difficult thing to do, but I pulled it off. I’m glad I got the award. It’s a shout out to all my teammates.”
But he also knows that the togetherness that keyed El Rancho’s run to its first league title since 1997.
“It was a great year,” Palacios said. “It was all the brotherhood we had for each other. We really got after it during practice and got better every day, and as the league went on, we got stronger and stronger.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
Vinnie Lopez, El Rancho
The third time proved to be the charm for the Dons and Lopez, who enjoyed a break-out season in his third year in Pico Rivera. The Dons went 8-3, beat rival La Serna and won the school’s first league title in 17 seasons.
The highlight was a 42-35 victory over La Serna, which paved the way for the Del Rio League title.
“I think great players make us look like great coaches,” Lopez said. “That was the case this year. We really had a solid group of kids who had been with me for three years. They bought into what we were selling when I got here and we really saw the fruit of our labor this year. It was important (to win league) for the boys, important for the community and important for the school to have some success again. It’s a really big thing for us right now.”
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Tony Brown, La Mirada, Senior
Brown brought a lot of promise when he transferred to La Mirada from Servite, and he lived up to those expectations. He was one of the big reasons for the Matadores’ turnaround from 4-7 the previous season to Suburban League champs this season. He had 46 receptions for 993 yards and 11 touchdowns. Brown was Suburban League Player of the Year and first team All-CIF-SS Southeast Division.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB, Junior, La Habra
Barriere played a major role in the Highlanders winning another Freeway League title. He was the focal point of the offense, accounting for 2,691 yards and 30 touchdowns. He was Freeway League MVP after throwing for 2,108 yards and 24 touchdowns.
RB, Senior, La Habra
Martin was part of the Highlanders’ one-two punch along with quarterback Eric Barriere. He ranked second in the area with 1,425 yards and also scoring 21 touchdowns. Martin was Freeway Offensive Most Valuable Player.
RB, Senior, California
Lowden had a break-out season for the Condors. He ranked among the area leaders in rushing, running for 1,318 yards and 18 touchdowns. Lowden was first team All-Del Rio League.
WR, Senior, El Rancho
Cuellar was just second team All-Del Rio League, but his numbers said otherwise and he proved to be one of the area’s best offensive weapons. He set a school record with 71 receptions, while also having 660 yards and seven touchdowns. He, along with Perea, played a major role in the Dons winning their first league crown since the late 1990s.
WR, Senior, La Serna
Ashton was the Lancers main passing option and helped the Lancers reach the semifinals for the fifth consecutive season. He has deceptive speed, and was a Wes Walker type on the field, catching 69 passes for 962 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had a key catch in a quarterfinal win over top seed St. Francis and made two big touchdown grabs in the semifinal loss to Crescenta Valley. He was first team All-Del Rio League.
WR, Senior, Whittier Christian
Evans was arguably the top receiver in the area. Nobody caught more passes than his 91. He also led the area in receiving yards with 1,256 and receiving touchdowns with 12. The senior was first team All-Olympic League.
OL, Senior, El Rancho
Was a key member for the Dons, who won the school’s first league title in 17 seasons. Anchored an offensive line that paved the way for El Rancho to average nearly 40 points and just over 400 yards a game. He was first team All-Del Rio League, receiving more votes than any other linemen in the league.
ANTHONY CERILLO HUIZAR
OL, Senior, La Mirada
Offensive line play has been a strength for the Matadores in recent seasons and that did not change in 2014, which featured two blocks of granite. The first was Cerillo Huizar, who anchored a line that paved the way for La Mirada to average 38 points and 180 yards rushing a game. The senior was Suburban League offensive line MVP and first team All-CIF-SS Southeast Division.
OL, Senior, La Mirada
The other part of the Matadores’ Great Wall. Lojero is a fierce run blocker with the agility to protect in the passing game. He helped La Mirada average 38 points and 180 yards rushing. The senior was first team All-Suburban League.
OL, Junior, La Habra
Earl was the top center in the area. Earl paved the way for quarterback Eric Barriere to account for nearly 2,700 yards and running back Carlos Martin to rush for another 1,400. The Highlanders also averaged 43 points a game. Earl was first team All-Freeway League.
OL, Senior, California
Mikhail was a key player for the Condors, who went 6-5 and advanced to the Southeast Division playoffs. He paved the way for California to average 28 points and nearly 200 yards rushing a game. The senior was first team All-Del Rio League.
ALL, Senior, La Mirada
Lara was one of the two difference makers for the Matadores, who went from 4-7 the previous season to 9-2 and a Suburban League title. The senior, a transfer from Santa Fe, accounted for 2,390 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also threw for 2,142 yards and 28 touchdowns, which topped the area. He was Surburban League offensive MVP and first team All-CIF-SS Southeast Division.
Kicker, Senior, Montebello
Lozano combined accuracy with length strength to be one of the top kickers in the area. He tied for the area lead with longest field goal with a 51-yarder, and made 28 of 29 conversion kicks. He also had eight field goals and had 24 touchbacks. Lozano was first team All-Amont League.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DL, Senior, Cantwell
Haddad was definitely someone opposing teams accounted for . He was a big player on defense and helped Cantwell to an 8-3 record and a share of the South Catholic League title. The junior had 84 tackles and led the area with 14 sacks. He was co-defensive MVP in the South Catholic League.
DL, Junior, El Rancho
Allen was arguably the top defensive lineman in the Del Rio League. He had 64 tackles and 19 tackles for a loss, 12.5 which went for sacks. Allen was first team All-Del Rio League and was the top vote-getter among defensive linemen.
DL, Junior, St. Paul
Gallardo was solid up front for the Swordsmen, who were 4-6. The senior had 39 tackles and four sacks for St. Paul, which doubled its win total from the previous two seasons and was in the playoff hunt until the final weekend. He was first team All-Angelus League, which was the top league in the Southeast Division.
JEAN LUC DAUPHINEY
LB, Senior, Cantwell
Dauphiney did a little of everything for the Cardinals, which shared the South Catholic League title. As a linebacker, he had 95 tackles and four sacks to key the defense. He also rushed for 1,196 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was first team All-South Catholic League.
LB, Senior, St. Paul
Castillo was steady, not flashy for the Swordsmen, who were one of the most-improved teams in the area. He proved to be a force in the center of the defense. He had 42 tackles and four sacks. He was also first team All-Angelus League.
LB, Senior, Schurr
The Spartans have been known for their defene in recent seasons and Perez lived up to the trend. He was one of the top defensive players in the Almont League, earning co-league defensive MVP. Perez had 41 tackles and 12 sacks, the latter which ranked among the best in the area.
LB, Senior, La Serna
Ramos was all-everything for the Lancers, who made their fifth consecutive trip to the section semifinals. The senior was first team All-Del Rio League on defense after securing 72 tackles. He was also a key in La Serna’s Wing-T rushing attack, with 778 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns.
DB, Senior, La Mirada
Caggiano was a versatile player for the Matadores, playing pivotal roles on offense and defense. He was a solid defender and earned Suburban League defensive back MVP. He was also an option on offensive with 36 receptions for 423 yards and six touchdowns.
DB, Junior, El Rancho
Araujo was one of the top athletes in the area. He played a big part of El Rancho’s success, helping on offense and defense. As a defender, he was solid in the secondary. On offense, he was one of the top receivers, with 701 yards and five touchdowns. He was first team All-Del Rio League.
DB, Junior, La Serna
Garcia played a pivotal role in the Lancers advancing to the division semifinals for the fifth consecutive season. He was steady on defense, with 26 tackles and three interceptions. On offensive, he rushed for 693 yards and had 10 touchdowns. He was first team All-Del Rio League.
DB, Junior, Cantwell
Ruffin was one of the more versatile players in the area, helping the Cardinals in all three phases. He led the area with six interceptions, including averaging 28.5 yards a return. He also had 26 receptions for 693 yards and eight touchdowns, while also averaging 29 and 13 yards, respectively, on kickoff and punt returns. He was first team All-Catholic League.
Punter, Senior, La Serna
Pacheco, who replaced area legend Frankie Palmer at La Serna, was one the region’s top quarterbacks, but also showed his ability as a punter, averaging 34 yards a kick, which ranked among the area leaders. As a QB, he accounted for 2,677 yards and 28 TDs. He was Del Rio League offensive MVP.
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
QB: Jacob Maier, St. Paul, Sr.
RB: Justin Osborn, Whittier Chr., So.
RB: Anthony Pina, Whittier, Sr.
WR: Prince Ross, La Habra, So.
WR: Traie Kastle-Givens, California, Sr.
WR: Landon Jones, La Mirada, Sr.
OL: Travis Miller, La Serna, Sr.
OL: Daniel Gardea, Montebello, Sr.
OL: Bryan Velazquez, Montebello, Sr.
OL: Richard Arias, La Habra, Jr.
OL: Sergio Gamiz, El Rancho, Sr.
ALL: Phillip Hernandez, Pioneer, Jr.
K: Alexander Vasquez, La Serna, Jr.
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DL: Trevor Casados, La Habra, Sr.
DL: Jesus Castro, Montebello, Sr.
DL: Dominic Garcia, La Serna, Sr
DL: Mike Mondragon, La Habra, Sr.
LB: Daniel Campos, La Serna, Jr.
LB: Jonathan Olguin, Montebello, So.
LB: Jake Colacion, La Habra, Jr.
DB: Andrew Rosales, Schurr, Sr.
DB: Vance Blackwell, La Mirada, Sr.
DB: Danny Uribe, La Habra, Sr.
DB: Jon Ceballos, La Serna, Jr.
P: Jacob Munoz, St. Paul, Sr.
El Rancho, Bobby Ramirez, Levi Aguilar, Robert Robledo, Andrew Caraballo
California: Jorge Luna, James Contreras, Thomas Vielma, Arturo Ramirez
Cantwell: Matthew Valencia, Joseph Turner, Titus Stewart, Jesse Torres, Javier Tejeda
La Habra: Matt Gonzales
La Mirada: Sei-j Lauago, Niko Carrasco
La Serna: Ruben Rios, Cameron James
Montebello: Ryan Rivera, Michael Juarez, Simeon Poggi
Santa Fe: Alex Moreno, Aaron Gonzalez, Eddie Fournier
Schurr: Christopher Gonzalez, Adam Polanco, Noah Quintero, Peter Garcia.
St. Paul: Alfred Delgado, Alexander Corpus, Ryann Rendich
Whittier Christian: Nick Watase
TOP 10 RANKINGS
1. La Serna (10-3)
2. La Mirada (9-2)
3. El Rancho (8-3)
4. La Habra (7-4)
5. Montebello (7-5)
6. California (6-5)
7. Cantwell (8-3)
8. St. Paul (4-6)
9. Schurr (4-6)
10. Whittier (4-6)
ANGELUS: St. Francis
DEL RIO: El Rancho
FREEWAY: La Habra
SOUTH CATHOLIC: Cantwell, Bishop Montgomery, Verbum Dei