By Joe Davidson
Here's a peek at the top returning starters for the 2012 Sacramento-area high school football season:
(ranked by MaxPreps statistics from 2011):
-Josiah Johnson, Sacramento, Sr.
2,146 yards, 22 TDs, 7 interceptions; Metro League hopes rest on his arm and legs
-Kyle Cota, Nevada Union, Sr.
1,768 yards passing, 11 TDs, 7 interceptions; next great wing-T passer in Grass Valley.
-Jacob Tibbetts, Liberty Ranch, Sr.
1,654 yards passing, 13 TDs, 5 interceptions; led team from 1 win to 9 last year; wants 10-plus.
-Tommy Sawyer, Foresthill, Sr.
1,350 yards passing, 14 TDs, 4 interceptions; powered program to finest year in foothills.
-Nick Modar, McClatchy, Sr.
1,344 yards passing, 16 TDs, 5 interceptions; big, poised, proud, a leader who seeks a playoff.
- Jonah Lessard, El Camino, Sr.
1,339 yards passing, 15 TDs, 7 interceptions; keys the playoff march for the revamped, eager Eagles.
- Thomas Sperbeck, Jesuit, Sr.
1,311 yards passing, 7 TDs, 5 interceptions; will now run the veer offense for Big Red in playoff quest.
- Taylor Elkins, Yuba City, Sr.
1,303 yards passing, 10 TDs, 5 interceptions; eyes a playoff berth this fall, perhaps even league title.
- Daniel Kniffin, Rocklin, Sr.
1,255 yards passing, 12 TDs, eight interceptions; had some great moments in 2011.
- Mark Lyon, Rio Americano, Sr.
1,155 yards passing, 13 TDs, 3 interceptions; plans to reach the playoffs this fall after a near miss in 2011.
- Tyrel Anderson, Center, Jr.
1,135 yards passing, 8 TDs, 8 interceptions; keyed upset over Bear River in 2011; is one of many returners.
-Ben Walls, Florin, Sr.
1,061 yards passing, 6 TDs, 6 interceptions; tough, quick, athletic and also a fine basketball player.
- Christian Wisniewski, El Dorado, Sr.
978 yards passing, 9 TDs, 21 interceptions; new coach in Joe Volek and new high hopes in Placerville.
- Jason Samuels, Oak Ridge, Sr.
927 yards passing (6 games), 11 TDs, 7 interceptions; next top-tier QB in El Dorado Hills (been a ton).
- Tyler Masterson, Rosemont, Sr.
828 yards passing, 10 TDs, 5 interceptions; also kicks, plays D; leads upstart team.
- Peter Denham, Placer, Sr.
811 yards passing, 5 TDs, 5 interceptions; will air it out a lot more for team seeking PVL title.
- Jacob Bist, Ponderosa, Sr.
772 yards passing, 7 TDs, 4 interceptions; impressive all summer and aims break through in DRL.
(ranked by statistics from 2011)
- Sean Tow, Union Mine, Sr.
2,217 yards, 20 TDs; small, quick and seeks section record third straight 2,000-yard season.
- Cole Hannum, Nevada Union, Sr.
1,827 yards, 16 TDs (with Marysville); major boost for Miners wing-T with power, speed.
-Brandon Monroe, Del Oro, Sr.
1,622 yards, 22 TDs; fast, elusive, powerful; also catches, blocks, hits on defense and leads.
- Kody Jones, Casa Roble, Sr.
1,501 yards, 16 TDs; poised to set all sorts of school single-season and career rushing records for the Rams.
- Isaiah Williams, Burbank, Sr.
1,496 yards, 23 TDs; another season like last year makes him an all-time Titan runner; eyes Metro repeat.
- Robert Frazier, Elk Grove, Sr.
1,494 yards, 21 TDs; targets another 12-win season, or more, and a 2,000-yard season. Could pull it off.
- Vince Heffington, Delta, Sr.
1,169 yards, 12 TDs; small-school back in Clarksburg is small-league's top returning rusher.
- Keith Marcus, Burbank, Sr.
1,125 yards, 7 TDs; fast and shifty and ready to make a run at 2,000 yards.
- Nate Vandusen, Yuba City, Sr.
1,120 yards, 12 TDs; quietly had a very nice 2011 and wants to make real noise now.
- Josh Montes, Inderkum, Sr.
1,016 yards, 7 TDs; could become lead back due to injuries; very fast, elusive.
- Korey Hall, Dixon, Sr.
951 yards, 6 TDs; runs with power and speed and seeks Golden Empire League repeat.
- Winfred Roberson, Davis, Jr.
938 yards, 10 TDs; perhaps the best back at Davis since Marc Hicks in 1983.
- D.J. Myart, Inderkum, Sr.
886 yards, 10 TDs (out for year with knee); major loss for a major talent.
- Joe Hancock, Mira Loma, Sr.
839, 2 TDS; gives the Matadors hope with speed and drive.
- Wes Arnold, Foresthill, Sr.
814 yards, 10 TDs; was key to breakthrough team in the foothills that reached section finals.
- Wadus Parker, Elk Grove, Jr.
813 yards, 15 TDs; will have more carries and also hammers on defense as a LB.
- Dillon Paris, Foothill, Sr.
772 yards, 8 TDs (8 games); aims to eclipse 1,000 or a lot more in a bounce-back season.
- Michael Robinson, Placer, Sr.
762 yards, 13 TDs; will have plenty of carries in wing-T express in Auburn.
(ranked by MaxPreps statistics from 2011)
- Troy Knox, Folsom, Jr.
66 catches, 845 yards, 4 TDs; played beyond his years as a sophomore
- Chris Cooper, Vista del Lago, Sr.
24 catches, 774 yards, 11 TDs; wants to up all those totals, and wins, too.
- Jalen Walker, CBS, Sr.
43 catches, 762 yards, 5 TDs; can do it all and aims to improve on 1-9 record.
- Dominic Fuse, Highlands, Sr.
34 catches, 752 yards, 11 TDs; small-school talent aims for another trip to section finals.
- Tyler Winston, Antelope, Sr.
42 catches, 562 yards, 4 TDs; been offered by all sorts of schools, including UCLA.
- Kameron Arnold, Woodland Christian, Jr.
27 catches, 530 yards, 5 TDs; has a nice QB and running game to provide holes.
- Jake Oliver, Liberty Ranch, Sr
.30 catches, 528 yards, 5 TDs; team ran a ton last year and will pass a ton this fall.
- Jordan Noall, River Valley, Sr.
31 catches, 471 yards, 3 TDs; expects to up all those numbers and reach the playoffs, too.
- Trayvon Henderson, Grant, Sr.
25 catches, 474 yards, 3 TDs; can do anything, including punt, run, hit on D. Major talent.
- Trevon Lampley, Franklin, Sr.
22 catches, 469 yards, 7 TDs; very fast, explosive; can also play QB.
- Austin Perry, Colfax, Sr.
12 catches, 462 yards, 1 TD; the next fine receiver in Colfax lore? We say yes.
- Zach Suarez, Rio Americano, Sr.
15 catches, 455 yards, 6 TDs; has a returning QB to work with; seek playoffs.
(ranked by tackles made in 2011)
- Tanner Vallejo, LB, Nevada Union, Sr.
109 solo tackles, 158 total; about to set all sorts of school career marks.
- Trayvon Henderson, S, Grant, Sr.
101 solo tackles, 141 total; levels people on impact; can cover ground, too.
- Alex Shanlev, LB, Mira Loma, Sr.
74 solo tackles, 135 total; was a defensive spark for a team that couldn't stop teams.
- Torre Watson, LB, Mira Loma, Sr.
75 solo tackles, 126 total; father was a Matadors great in the 1990s.
- Jeff Camilli, LB, Ponderosa, Sr.
92 solo tackles, 126 total; three-year starter will set every Bruins career mark; seeks more wins, too.
- Davonte Castex, LB, Laguna Creek, Sr.
52 solo tackles, 73 total; excelled in obscurity; as good a LB as there is in the DVC.
- Tui Lopa, LB, Grant, Sr.
89 solo tackles, 128 total; not overly big but very fast, instinctive, tough.
- Preston Dobbins, LB, Center, Sr.
91 solo tackles, 115 total; had big year and now wants bigger one - and a league title.
- Tony Suverkropp, LB, Placer, Sr.
36 solo tackles, 113 total; quietly had a big year for a team that had some good defensive moments.
- Ben Jones, LB, Burbank, Jr.
64 solot tackles, 108 total; played beyond his years as a sophomore.
- Moses Moala, LB, Grant, Jr.
75 solo tackles, 108 total; kid brother to Cal NG Vei Moala; should be a 3-year starter.
- Cole Hannum, LB, Nevada Union, Sr.
60 solo tackles, 105 total (for Marysville); will add another great LB to the Miners.
- Beau Hershberger, LB, Granite Bay, Sr.
59 solo tackles, 101 total; next great LB star for Grizzlies was key to D-I title march last year.
- Derek Stiles, LB, Folsom, Sr.
55 solo tackles, 92 total; coaches raved about his leadership and skills last year and this summer.
- Anthony Fleenor, LB, Yuba City, Sr.
65 solo tacles, 94 total; kept Honkers in playoff mix down to the wire.
- Dedric Allen, DL, Inderkum, Sr.
47 solo tackles, 93 total; also had nine sacks as a hard-to-block force.
- Josh Cardoza, LB, Woodland, Sr.
56 solo tackles, 91 total; was leader for playoff team and expects a repeat run.
- Sateki Polaulu, S, Burbank, Sr.
41 solo tackles, 91 total; a lot of tackles to be had in the Metro League; more to come.
- Austin Eberle, LB, Vista del Lago, Sr.
44 solo tackles, 91 total; ready to set all sorts of school tackling records.
- Caleb Van Patten, S, Valley Christian, Sr.
53 solo tackles, 89 total; kept small-school program in Roseville competitive on D.
Top non-linebacker defenders returning
Dedric Allen, Inderkum, DL
Matt Bailey, Capital Christian, DB
Kyle Betts, Bradshaw Christian, DB
B'won Canada, Elk Grove, DL
Quincy Capel, Folsom, DL
Zach Claiborne, Oak Ridge, DE
Malik Dumentz, River City, DB
Edwin Fautua, Burbank, DE
Dominec Fuse, Highlands, DB
Clint Heckman, Valley Christian, DB
Trayvon Henderson, Grant, S
Dalton Hudec, Del Oro, DL
Junior Jenkins, Highlands, DL
Taron Johnson, Sheldon, DB
Nifae Lealao, Capital Christian, DL
Brandon Lewis Pleasant Grove, DB
Nick Terry, Pleasant Grove, DL
A.J. Samataua, Del Campo, DL
Sam Smith, Cosumnes Oaks, DL
Misi (Junior) Taifane, Grant, DT
Simione Vailea, Burbank, NG
Tanner Woods, Del Oro, DT
Dionte Young, Franklin, DB
Top returning kickers/punters
Andrew Endicott, Jesut
Skyler Rand, Del Or
Justin Singh, Elk Grove
Braaten Sill, Nevada Union
Tyler Masterson, Rosemont
On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
On e-mail: email@example.com
On Facebook: sacbeepreps
On cable: SureWestSports.com
On the radio: ESPN1320.net (or live on ESPN1320, Saturday's 9-10 a.m.)
On TV: Fox 40's Final Quarter from 11-11:30 p.m. and Fox40.comOn the Web: MaxPreps.com
Bee photo by José Luis Villegas: Trayvon Henderson scores the Pacers first touchdown in the 1st quarter in Friday nights football game between Laguna Creek and Grant High School in Del Paso Heights. October 28, 2011