November 9, 2012
Guide to high school football playoffs: Players to watch

As we bound into the Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs, we take a closer peek at some players who expect to make a difference.

We can't list them all, or we'd have something about the size of a Los Angeles phone book, but here's a sampling of some top achievers expecting to maintain the momentum ...

DEFENSIVE STOPPERS

* Ngalu Tapa, Burbank, DT -
A terror in the trenches who cannot be blocked and has terrific pursuit; leads the state with 20 sacks.
* Zack Claiborne, Oak Ridge, DE -
Rush-end specialist is second in the state with 19 sacks; plays inspired for team and ill grandfather.
* Isaiah Pineiro, Placer, DB -
Has a NorCal-leading 9 interceptions for a 10-0 Hillmen team seeking a D-IV title and a bowl bid.
* Garrett Wallace, Sutter, DE -
Big-time talent for small-school 10-0 Huskies of North Section has 12.5 sacks; teams with LB Ryan Staas.
* Abnor Toma, Grant, LB -
Averaging 15.7 stops; missed early season with staph infection and has played ferociously since.
* Junior Jenkins, Highlands, LB -
Makes 14 tackles for Scots and seeks 3rd straight Section finals trip; teams with LB Elisha Allen.
* Nick Gordon, Oak Ridge, LB -
Unsung defensive stalwart averages 13.4 tackles; teams with Claiborne for fearsome 1-2 punch.
* Cameron Smith, Granite Bay, LB -
Sophomore tackling machine teams senior bruiser leader Beau Hershberger.
* Tanner Vallejo, Nevada Union, LB -
Has a ton of stops as a 3-year starter with hopes more; averaging 12 tackles.
* Isaiah Coleman, Rosemont, LB -
Plays in obscurity but introduces himself quick with 13 stops per; teams with LB Corey Santos.
* Jeff Camilli, Ponderosa, LB -
Called "The Vikings" for his hearty, thick beard; how about "Stopper" too? Makes 11.5 tackles per.
* Trayvon Henderson, Grant, S -
Rising recruit makes 11.3 stops per; compared to Shaq Thompson by his coaches with more tenacity.
* Quinton Kirk, Capital Christian, LB -
Captain Kirk makes 10.8 tackles per for 9-1 team seeking D-IV title; teams with DL Andrew Peterson.
* Eteuati Levi, Cosumnes Oaks, LB -
Coming on strong; makes 11.3 stops per for D-III hopeful Wolfpack; teams with fellow LB Ryan Lewis.
* Joey Banks, Franklin, LB -
Well on his way to setting school career tackling marks as a second-year starting junior; averaging 11 stops a game for 10-0 Wildcats.
* Tony Suverkropp, Placer, LB -
Nice to have trench friends such as Eddie Vanderdoes, yes, but TS a machine with 10 stops a game.
* Zander Mishler, Golden Sierra, LB -
Makes 11.8 stops a game for the section's smallest public school that seeks first section title.
* Keith Marcus, Burbank, S -
Hits like a train and runs like one, too; makes 9.4 tackles a game for the 10-0 Titans.
* Zach Winter, Bear River, LB -
Leading tackler with 10.1 stops a game for an 8-2 team that has a 14-7 loss at Placer; dark horse in D-IV.
* Leonard Skattebo, Rio Linda, LB -
Plays with fury and purpose with 9.1 stops a game; also a punishing fullback.
* Quenton Hagen, El Camino, LB -
Coaches rave about the junior's ability, tenacity and talent; averaging 9.1 stops a game.
* Chad Baptiste, Dixon, DB -
Has seven interceptions for a 9-1 Rams team sporting its best record in years with D-IV title hopes.
* Keenan Hunt, Rio Linda, DB -
Fast and opportunistic with six interceptions; also a wideout threat for 8-2 Knights.

GIVE THEM THE BALL
A peek at some offensive playmakers who also play a ton on D

* D'Juan Bellaire, Center, RB/LB
Never mind his 5-foot-6, 165-pound frame. Good luck catching him. Cripples with speed, burst.
* Phillip Carter, Folsom, WR/DB
Has 10 TD catches as Bulldogs' next generation do-all breaker; cover corner, too; Bulldogs are 10-0.
* Sutter Choisser, Whitney, RB/DB
Has great name to match game, which includes a lot of breakaway plays and 21 touchdowns; team is 8-2
* Tony Ellison, Granite Bay, flyback
Next swift burner for D-I champion Grizzlies who are soaring at 7-3.
* Robert Frazier, Elk Grove, RB/DB
Hardest runner in the region with breakaway ability who averages 8.3 yards a carry; team is 9-1.
* Trayvon Henderson, Grant, WR/DB
Catches ball short, long, over the middle and hammers foes on D; also a superb punter.
* Tre Lampley, Franklin, WR/DB
Wildcats coach Mike Johnson says "I'm not shy using him." Takes runs, catches, throws for 10-0 team.
* Brandon Monroe, Del Oro, RB/LB
Runs like the wind since knee strain with cutback ability; can score on pick-6 plays, too; team is soaring.
* Justice Shelton-Mosley, Capital Christian, RB/DB
No justice that a kid can be this good this young. Rushed for 17 TDs, has 5 picks for 9-1 Cougars.
* Dre Terrell, Pleasant Grove, QB/DB
Fast, elusive, crafty as runner or passer; lockdown corner who returns punts; dangerous 6-4.
* Nate Van Dusen, Yuba City, RB/DB
Best runner in Honkers history? Has 21 TDs for YC's best outfit since famed 1987 group.
* Isaiah Williams, Burbank, RB
Compact & muscled, has ideal nickname of "TD" with 23, including gains of 80-plus for 10-0 team.
* Jalen Walker, Christian Brothers, WR/KR/PR
Fast on the outisde as a receiver with 7 TDs and a difference-maker on returns.
* Tyler Wintson, Antelope, WR/DB
Not the biggest man on the field, but generally the quickest and most elusive; gains first downs on handoffs, receptions and returns and is a lockdown corner.

- Joe Davidson
- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
- On radio Friday: ESPN1320 from 11-midnight with Mike Finnerty (linked to ESPN1320.net tomorrow)
- OnTV Friday: Fox 40's Final Quarter from 11-11:30 to size up opening night of Section football playoffs.
On Cable: SureWestSports.com with Mike Finnerty



About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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