Fryer: Daniels, Schooler stand above the rest at midway point
We are halfway through the football season.
My halfway-through-the-season awards ...
Offensive player of the year: JT Daniels, Mater Dei. His completion percentage, which is an absurd 80, has been boosted by shovel passes and a crew of tremendous receivers. Still, 28 touchdown passes against two interceptions in five games and an average of 385 passing yards a game make him the midseason offensive player of the year.
Offensive player of the year consideration also went to Tustin running back Kenneth Carr, Whittier Christian quarterback Quinn Commans, Mater Dei receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and others too numerous to mention.
Defensive player of the year: Mission Viejo linebacker Colin Schooler. Schooler, who also plays running back, is the best player in Orange County, comparable to ’90s two-way star Matt Grootegoed of Mater Dei. Since the best player in the county should get a best-player award, Schooler gets this one.
Defensive player of the year consideration went to San Juan Hills defensive lineman Jason Glass, Mission Viejo defensive back Olaijah Griffin and Villa Park linebacker John Stamos and others too numerous to mention.
Coach of the year: Robert Pedroza, Orange. Favorites often are going to be coaches who have turned around bad programs and who have not previously been coach of the year. Pedroza fits.
Coach of the year consideration went to Mark Cunningham of University, Matt Mitchell of El Modena and Charlie TeGantvoort of Santa Ana. Aaron Flowers of San Juan Hills and Matt Poston of Tesoro, too, because they have their teams playing at a high level even after graduation took away many of their best 2015 players, and others too numerous to mention.
Your emails will receive a reply that will say your favorite candidate is in the “too numerous to mention” group.
Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:
• The OC Varsity staff’s midseason selections for players of the year, memorable moments and surprise teams so far and more, are at ocvarsity.com. (Click here to see Part 1 and here for Part 2.) It will be interesting to see in December if the midseason winners are end-of-season winners in December.
• Sophomore receiver Trent McDuffie is now eligible at Servite. He was at Mater Dei last school year and spent much of the summer in the football program at Santa Margarita, where he earned raves from Coach Rich Fisher.
• Five O.C. football teams again are in the CalHiSports.com state top 25: Mater Dei is No. 3, Mission Viejo is No. 4, Santa Margarita is No. 11, JSerra is No. 23 and Servite is No. 24. The Trinity League’s St. John Bosco is No. 2, behind Centennial of Corona.
• Prime Ticket will televise the Mater Dei-St. John Bosco football game live Oct. 21. The game is at Cerritos College, Bosco’s home field while work continues at its on-campus stadium.
• Aliso Niguel senior shortstop Demetri Colacchio recently committed to Utah. He is one of five Wolverines baseball players who have committed to Division 1 programs. The others: sophomore pitcher Evan Fitterer, UCLA; senior outfielder Hunter Jump, Nevada; senior pitcher Charlie Nies, San Diego State; and junior pitcher Ethan Reed, USC.
• O.C. players are making large contributions to USA Baseball’s 18-and-under team that through Thursday was the only undefeated team in the Pan American AAA Championships in Mexico. The county players on the team are Dana Hills’ Hans Crouse (pitcher), Huntington Beach’s Hagen Danner (pitcher/catcher), JSerra’s Royce Lewis (infielder) and Huntington Beach’s Nick Pratto (pitcher/first baseman). The team’s tournament games can be followed via Twitter (@USABaseball18u).
• Jack Renkens, who has written 16 published books on the college sports recruiting process, offers a free seminar on recruiting at Servite on Monday and at Whittier Christian on Tuesday. Both events begin at 7 p.m. and are open to the public.
• JSerra senior basketball player Sebastian Much committed to Princeton. Much, a 6-foot-8 forward, averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds last season. He was named All-CIF Division 4AA and All-Trinity League first team in 2015-16.
• This year’s class of CIF-Southern Section Hall of Fame inductees includes John Barnes, Los Alamitos football; Bob Burt, who coached football at many places including Cypress; Shelly Luth, Marina softball and athletic director; and Mike Marrujo, Valencia football. CIF-SS 2016 Distinguished Service Awards recipients includes Carl Sweet, El Dorado football, baseball, golf and athletic director and public address announcer for CIF-SS baseball and football finals. The honorees will be feted at a luncheon at The Grand Conference Center in Long Beach on Oct. 12.
• One of the Distinguished Service Award recipients doesn’t have much of an Orange County background, having taught and coached a relatively short time at University, but he has been a major figure in county athletics: Hal Harkness. Harkness has been the meet director for the CIF-SS and CIF State track and field championships and for section and state cross country championships for more than 20 years. He was also CIF-Los Angeles City Section commissioner for seven years and so much more. Harkness made managing a large track meet, maybe the most challenging task in high school sports, look easy.
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