Jacob Taylor goes over 3,000 yards rushing for the season, Laguna Beach player and team tie state records on punt return, and 280-pound fullback rushes for 244 yards. By Harold Abend & Paul Muyskens with contribution by Bob Barnett.
We collect these highlights in support of the Cal-Hi Sports state record book, which is the exclusive home for state records and has been published seven times since 1980.
These highlights are for games played from Nov. 8 through Nov. 10.
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John Abalos (Highlands, North Highlands)
He was nearly perfect passing as he completed nine of his 11 attempts for 206 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 185 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries in a 60-41 win over Bradshaw Christian in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoff action.
Kevin Amezquita (Gladstone, Covina)
Soon to be retiring head coach Albert Sanchez had to not mind his retirement getting delayed another game as his quarterback tossed a touchdown pass and rushed for 296 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries in a 54-17 win over Mary Star of the Sea. The CIFSS Northwest Division playoff win was the first for the coach and the first for the school in over 30 years.
John Amodeo (Village Christian, Sun Valley)
Leading the Crusaders to a second-half come-from-behind 38-21 victory over Bishop Montgomery of Torrance, Amodeo ran 33 times for 218 yards and four scores in their CIFSS Northwest Division playoff opener.
Landon Baty (St. Francis, Mountain View)
To say Baty drove previously state-ranked and host Serra of San Mateo batty would be an understatement. In a shocking 24-0 shutout of the previous state No. 21-ranked Padres, the Lancers’ junior safety had three interceptions, including one on the game’s final play.
Nick Bernardo & Chidobe Awuzie (Oak Grove, San Jose)
The two senior running backs combined for 513 yards rushing and five TDs, plus 19 tackles, a blocked field goal and an interception on defense, in leading the 10-0 Eagles to a 49-35 win over crosstown Leland. Bernardo had 308 yards rushing and three TDs, 10 tackles and the blocked field goal. Awuzie ran for 205 yards and two TDs, and he recorded nine tackles and the interception.
Tristan Best & Aaron Zwahlen (Downey, Modesto)
Picking a fine time for the best performance of his junior season, Best caught nine passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns as the Knights opened up the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs with a 41-6 win over Bethel of Vallejo. Zwahlen again passed for over 400 yards as he completed 27 of his 39 pass attempts for 413 yards and two touchdowns.
Nehemiah Brown (Valhalla, El Cajon)
After taking back the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, Brown wasn’t done in the return game for the Norsemen in their 52-21 victory over Rancho Bernardo in the CIF San Diego Section D2 playoffs. In the second quarter, Brown ran back another kickoff to paydirt, this one from 95 yards out. Valhalla safety Spencer Harvid also shined with two interceptions and now has a section-best 11 for the season.
Jake Browning & Troy Knox (Folsom)
As he has done most of the season, Browning passed for more than a handful of touchdowns with 421 yards and seven scores while completing 33 of his 45 pass attempts in a 59-12 win over Atwater to open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs. Knox was the leading target as he caught 13 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
Adam Carrasco (La Mirada)
Doing most of his damage in the first half, he carried 17 times for 229 yards and three touchdowns as the Matadores opened the CIFSS Southeast Division playoffs with a 42-17 win over Arcadia.
Christian Chapman (Carlsbad)
In a 49-29 triumph vs. Otay Ranch of Chula Vista in the CIF San Diego Section D1 playoffs, Chapman connected on 10 of 11 passes for 255 yards and a pair of scores. He also scored once himself on the ground.
Nathan Chunn (Escalon)
Churning up big gains on nearly every carry, Chunn rushed for 267 yards and five touchdowns on 28 carries as the Cougars defeated Calaveras 44-14 in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
Josh Clark (Ripon)
The senior safety came up with three of Ripon’s five interceptions in a 40-0 victory over Amador of Sutter Creek in the opening round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin D4 playoffs. Clark also helped limit Amador to just 54 net yards.
Robert Clemons III (Laguna Beach)
For returning kicks for touchdowns, there isn’t a more successful group this year than the Breakers and Clemons has been the leader. He scored on a 74-yard punt return in last week’s 42-14 win against Loara of Anaheim in the CIFSS Southern Division playoffs. It put him in the state record book in two categories: most punt return TDs in a season (with five) and most kick return TDs in a season (with seven, adding two more on kickoffs). Clemons still needs three more kick return scores to tie the record in that category but only needs one more punt return. As a team, Laguna Beach already has tied the state record for most kick return touchdowns in a season with 12. Hawthorne did it first with 12 in 1998.
Jo Jo Contreras (Madera)
Jo Jo was on the go go with three interceptions to lead the Coyotes’ defense during their 49-8 win over Fresno in the Central Section D3 playoffs. Contreras’ total is tied for the second most in school history.
Justin Davis (Lincoln, Stockton)
Despite the Trojans being in a No. 8 vs. No. 9 first-round CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 playoff game, Davis was unstoppable in leading them past Merced 52-7. He had 214 rushing yards by halftime and ended with 303 yards on 18 carries. The USC-bound senior had scoring runs of 24, 1, 17, 80 and 4 yards and did not play for much of the second half.
Eric Day (Lynbrook, San Jose)
It was bright and sunny for Day but pitch dark for visiting Los Altos as Day ran for 262 yards and four touchdowns, including an 88-yarder, in a 54-25 victory.
Thomas Duarte (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
Nearly every catch he had in the Monarchs’ 71-10 win over Lakewood went for a touchdown as he caught four passes for 91 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half of play.
Keaton Dunsford (Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa)
The scouts like his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame and the junior’s strong arm. Last Friday in a 44-7 CIFNCS D4 win over Sonoma Valley, he had his best outing after passing for 303 yards and four touchdowns.
Justin Ewing (Capuchino, San Bruno)
With the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan roaming the sidelines, the 6-foot, 195-pound senior bulled his way to 229 yards on a whopping 44 carries with four TDs in the Mustangs’ 52-33 win over neighboring arch-rival Millbrae Mills. Ewing increased his season totals to 365 carries for 2,749 yards. He is now No. 2 all time in the CIF Central Coast Section in rushing for a season behind Onan Reyes (2,798 yards in 1997 for Burlingame). His carries is the most ever for a season in the CCS and ranks in the top 25 in the state, according to the Cal-Hi Sports record book. What makes his feats even more remarkable is the team co-captain is hearing impaired and wears a hearing device during games.
Jayshawn Gates-Mouton & Keller Chryst (Palo Alto)
Gates-Mouton caught two TD passes from quarterback Chryst and had two interceptions in Paly’s 56-21 win over Santa Clara. Chryst, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior that impressed at the Oakland Elite 11 Camp, passed for 303 yards and four TDs and ran for a fifth score.
Bulla Graft (Bishop’s, La Jolla)
It’s no bull that Graft has been one of the top backs in the San Diego Section this season. In a 24-21 victory over Holtville in last week’s D5 playoffs, Bulla bowled over and around defenders for 228 yards on 16 carries and scored twice. He also caught four passes for 49 yards and one score.
Kyran Harris (Franklin, Elk Grove)
Leading the top-seeded Wildcats to a 35-14 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff win over Nevada Union of Grass Valley, he carried the ball 22 times for 267 yards and three touchdowns.
Isaiah Hastings (Birmingham, Lake Balboa)
Carrying the ball 30 times, he gained 203 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots defeated Gardena 34-22 in the CIF L.A. City Section playoffs.
Trevor Hodge (Citrus Hills, Perris)
Making their CIFSS Eastern Division game over before halftime, Hodge led the Hawks in their 51-0 romp past Victor Valley of Victorville. He passed for 291 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 79 yards and one score.
Quinton Kirk (Capital Christian, Sacramento)
In a 41-0 win by the Cougars over Modesto Christian to start the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D4 playoffs, Kirk broke loose for 259 yards rushing on 31 carries and scored five touchdowns.
Jake Koranda (Sutter)
Helping the 11-0 Huskies rack up an amazing 10 sacks in their 49-7 win over Yreka in the opening round of the CIF Northern Section D2 playoffs was this senior defensive end. He had three of the 10 and now has 10 on the season himself.
Carlos Lopez (California School for the Deaf, Fremont)
The Eagles’ quarterback and defensive back had a huge hand in a 26-6 NCS Division V victory over Tomales that set a school record for wins in a season. In getting win No. 10 for the team, Lopez threw for four touchdowns, and on defense he had two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Brandon Martinez & Abel Barraja (El Monte)
Every single yard and score was crucial as Martinez completed 18 of his 28 pass attempts for 403 yards and five touchdowns in a 44-43 win over Montebello in CIFSS Mid-Valley Division postseason action. Barraja had eight receptions for 203 yards and three scores, including the touchdown to cut it to a one-point deficit with 14 seconds remaining.
Terence Martinez (Tustin)
With an undefeated record on the line, he carried the ball 15 times for 208 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-6 win over El Dorado of Placentia to improve the Tillers to 11-0 this season.
Warren Miles-Long & Amalani Fukofuka (James Logan, Union City)
In Logan’s first playoff win since 2007, Northwestern-bound Miles-Long ran for a season-high 211 yards and four touchdowns on only 10 carries in a 56-8 NCS D1 first-round dismantling of Fremont Irvington. Fukofuka caught four touchdown passes from Jeffrey Prothro and finished with six catches and 176 yards receiving.
Steven Mitchell (Alemany, Mission Hills)
Making the most of his four catches, the speedy USC-bound senior gained 216 yards and scored on an 81-yard touchdown reception as the Warriors opened up the CIFSS Pac-Five Division playoffs with a 42-14 win over Moorpark.
Joe Mixon (Freedom, Oakley)
The highly-regarded junior D1 prospect rushed for 160 yards and four TDs and caught an 80-yard pass for a fifth score, in an NCS Division I opening-round 63-7 stomping of Berkeley.
Brandon Monroe (Del Oro, Loomis)
Ending the season for the No. 2 seeded Yuba City Honkers, Monroe did all his damage in the first half for No. 15 seed Del Oro of Loomis in a 45-21 road win to open the CIFSJS D2 playoffs. Monroe carried 33 times for 225 yards and four touchdowns while also catching two passes for 78 yards. Del Oro advanced to a tough game this week against St. Mary’s of Stockton.
Jamal Morrow (Heritage, Romoland)
Behind his 249 yards rushing and one touchdown, the Patriots’ season was able to see tomorrow as they defeated Palm Desert 42-28 in the CIFSS Central Division playoffs.
Robert Murtha (Estancia, Costa Mesa)
Despite rushing for 213 yards and a score on 20 carries, it wasn’t enough against fellow state stat star Jerry Saldivar and Los Amigos of Fountain Valley as the Eagles’ season came to an end with a 41-14 loss.
Brent Nelle (Pitman, Turlock)
A 74-yard scoring run by Nelle got the Pride going early in their 49-19 win against Tokay of Lodi in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 playoffs. Nelle would finish with 258 yards and scored two more touchdowns.
DeJonte O’Neal (Bullard, Fresno)
The key play in the Knights’ 42-14 triumph against Stockdale of Bakersfield in the CIF Central Section D1 playoffs was O’Neal’s 102-yard interception return for a score. It set a new school record.
Walker Perry (Woodland Christian, Woodland)
Doing all he could in their Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoff opener against Big Valley Christian of Modesto, he caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt 70 yards for a score. Perry also intercepted two passes on defense but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 19-12 loss for the Cardinals.
Marcellus Pippins (El Cerrito)
By the time Fremont Kennedy arrived an hour late to start the game, Pippins was already piping hot. He got warmer after returning two interceptions 82 and 70 yards for scores, in a 56-8 NCS Division III opening-round victory.
Michiah Quick (Central, Fresno)
A member of perhaps the most talented secondary in the state, Quick set a school record by returning two interceptions for touchdowns that covered 30 and 29 yards and scored on a 12-yard run as Central exploded for 35 points in the third quarter in their 55-5 romp past Tulare in the CIF Central Section D1 playoffs.
Romie Rodriguez (San Jose)
The senior cornerback helped his team get to 9-0 and win a league title by coming up with three interceptions in a 3-2 (not a typo) win over crosstown Andrew Hill. Romie’s next game, unlike every other player in the state from a 9-0 squad, won’t be in the CCS playoffs. He and the rest of the Bulldogs are gladly skipping the playoffs for a chance to play arch-rival Lincoln (which also won a league title this year) in the annual Big Bone Game played on Thanksgiving Day at San Jose City College.
Harris Ross (Pittsburg)
The junior running back started the season strictly as a DB but since assuming a starting role he’s rushed for 846 yards in four games. The latest was a 269-yard performance with four TDs, including an 80-yarder, in a 55-29 NCS D1 first round win over Danville Monte Vista.
Jerry Saldivar (Los Amigos, Fountain Valley)
Outrushing fellow state stat star Robert Murtha, Saldivar ran for 223 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries as the Lobos defeated Costa Mesa of Estancia 41-14 in the CIFSS Southern Division playoffs.
Holden Smith & Connor Marden (Carmel)
These two Padres combined for almost 700 yards of offense in a 55-38 shootout victory over neighboring Pacific Grove in the annual Shoe Game. Smith, a sophomore running back, rushed for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Marden, a sophomore quarterback, threw for 276 yards and two TDs and ran for 137 yards and two more scores.
Zach Smith (Fort Bragg)
The Timberwolves’ junior running back carried 35 times for 255 yards in a 14-0 NCS D4 win over Piedmont.
Michael Stewart & Ben Moreno (Tahquitz, Hemet)
Making sure the Titans’ CIFSS Eastern Division playoff debut would end with a victory, Stewart caught six passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns in a 40-14 win over San Gorgonio of San Bernardino. Moreno completed just nine of his 16 pass attempts but the nine completions went for 278 yards and five touchdowns.
Aleric Stone (Arcata)
The Tigers’ senior running back carried 17 times for 238 yards and four TDs, including an 80-yarder, in a 65-27 NCS D5 victory over visiting Hayward Moreau Catholic.
Cody Styles (Strathmore)
He ran for two career highs of 314 yards on 27 carries, which is the second best in school history, and scored six touchdowns on runs of 49, 21, 27, 4, 62 yards and a 84-yard kick-off return as the Spartans beat Kennedy of Delano 49-28 in the Central Section playoffs. Teammate Rico Madrigal also tied a school record with three interceptions for the game.
Jacob Taylor (Rim of the World, Lake Arrowhead)
Leading the state in rushing with 3,092 yards, he eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark with 46 carries for 396 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-3 win over Twentynine Palms in the first round of the CIFSS East Valley Division playoffs.
Tala Teaupa (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach)
Not only did he lead the Sailors to a 42-21 win over Troy of Fullerton but he was also named the OCVarsity Athlete of the Week as he carried the ball 25 times for 273 yards and two touchdowns in their CIFSS Southwest Division playoff opener.
Olito Thompson (Concord)
After a short hiatus being in this feature, the Washington State-bound running back is back with a 200-yard and three TD performance in a 50-6 CIFNCS D2 playoff thrashing of Hayward Mt. Eden. Thompson now has 1,806 yards and 23 TDs this season. For his career, Thompson has run for 5,538 yards and 61 touchdowns. Although he’s still going, the career yardage already has him on that list in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book.
Alex Van Dyke (Cosumnes Oaks, Elk Grove)
It wasn’t a high scoring game, but Alex managed to have quite the performance as he caught 11 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown as the Wolfpack defeated Christian Brothers of Sacramento 19-14 in the opening round of the CIFSJS Division III playoffs.
Vita Vea (Milpitas)
Vita must have taken his vitamins before a matchup with Cupertino Homestead, and at 6-foot-4, 280-pounds the Trojans’ running back is pretty hard to handle once charged up. In a 61-27 victory, the little used senior more known by colleges as a defensive tackle rushed for 244 yards on 13 carries with four touchdowns.
Ari Wargon (Scotts Valley)
With his team not making the playoffs, the senior running back turned in his high school pads, but not after going out in style with a 219-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 55-13 victory for the Falcons over Watsonville St. Francis.
Tyler Weeks (Drake, San Anselmo)
His stats weren’t huge, but in what was the most shocking upset in the CIFNCS D4 playoffs, the Pirates’ senior quarterback threw the winning touchdown pass, came up with a key interception late in the fourth quarter, and then ran for a first down to preserve an 18-13 win for the No. 15 seed over second-seeded Dublin Valley Christian.
Gerard Wicks (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach)
Making sure the Jackrabbits’ season wouldn’t have the lights turned out, he carried 17 times for 223 yards and two touchdowns during a 40-25 win over Bishop Amat of La Puente in the opening round of the CIFSS Pac-Five Division playoffs.
Ryan Wolpin (Santa Margarita, Rancho Santa Margarita)
In last week’s top game for matching state-ranked teams, Wolpin’s rushing was the key for the No. 12 Eagles in their 38-13 win over No. 23 El Toro of Lake Forest. Wolpin racked up 218 yards and two scores on 26 carries and hopes for similar success in this week’s showdown with St. Bonaventure.