The defending 5A state champions Douglas County Huskies went 8-1 this season, their only loss coming in a 7-6 game at Continental League foe Mountain Vista (10-1). DCHS rolled past Fruita Monument and Arapahoe in the first two rounds of the playoffs and are set for a rematch with Mountain Vista Nov. 17 in the quarterfinals. The game will be broadcast live in Colorado on FS-RM at 7 p.m. Both DCHS and Mountain Vista have been offensive juggernauts except when they played each other, and another defensive battle is expected.
Tyler Ahles, LB, San Bernardino (Cajon), Calif.
Cajon lost its bid to take the San Andreas League title last week when it couldn't hold off Colton High. With Ahles at linebacker, however, Cajon slowed Colton's high-powered offense in the game. Colton came in averaging 55.5 points a game, before beating Cajon 21-13. Ahles didn't play full time on defense for Cajon this year, though. That's because he was Cajon's starting fullback. In a game in late October, Ahles had one carry for 70 yards and caught a touchdown pass for 69 more yards. In the same game, he was the lead blocker for the Cajon tailback who rushed for 301 yards. With all the offensive work, Cajon coaches have given him a breather on defense from time to time. Ahles' offensive stats this season: 14 carries for 216 yards (15.4 ypc) and 2 TDs, 14 receptions, 258 yards, 2 TDs. Cajon (6-4, 4-2) plays Colony High Nov. 17.
Matt Ballenger, QB, Nampa (Skyview), Idaho
Ballenger had a strong season, leading Skyview to an 8-2 record. Skyview lost in the quarterfinals of the 4A state playoffs to Mountain Home on Nov. 3. Ballenger finished the season with roughly 1,800 yards passing and 12 TDs, as well as 600 yards rushing and nine TDs. Ballenger, who was named Idaho's Gatorade Player of the Year in basketball as a junior last season, is now focused on hoops. Skyview opens its basketball schedule Nov. 25.
Matt Bahr, OT, Mission Viejo, Calif.
The offensive lineman blocks for a Mission Viejo offense that's averaged 213 yards on the ground, 216 yards through the air (2nd in all of Orange County) and 38.7 points per game (also 2nd in the massive county). Mission Viejo (8-2) hosts Los Alamitos in the playoffs Nov. 17.
Blake Behrens, OL, Phoenix (Brophy Prep), Ariz.
Brophy Prep (9-2), the Desert Region champs, advanced past Gilbert in the first round of the playoffs, and play 10-1 Chandler Nov. 17. Behrens was named first-team All-Region on offense, and second-team All-Region on defense this season.
Shawn Daniels, OL, Denver (Mullen), Colo.
Mullen has ripped its way through the 2006 season. At 11-0, behind Daniels' blocking, Mullen has failed to score at least 42 points just twice this fall, and five times the Mustangs have scored at least 49 points. No. 1-ranked Mullen hosts Chaparrall Nov. 18 in a quarterfinal playoff matchup.
Patrick Gates, RB, Mission Viejo (Saddleback College) ,Calif.
Gates has put up impressive numbers this season. He's rushed for 1,059 yards on 177 carries (6.0 ypc) and 16 touchdowns. Gates is Saddleback's leading receiver too, hauling in 33 receptions out of the backfield. Saddleback is having a monster season. They are currently ranked No. 1 in the country by JC Grid-Wire, and at 10-0, are the only undefeated Juco team in California, and one of only four nationally. SCC hosts Palomar (6-4) Saturday in the first round of the SoCal regional playoffs.
Garth Gerhart, OL, Norco, Calif.
Under head coach Todd Gerhart, Norco is 8-2, and will play Chino Hills in the first round of the CIF Inland Division playoffs Nov. 17. With Gerhart on the offensive line, Norco has rushed for 2,942 yards and thrown for 501 yards this season.
Robert Hall, LB, Friendswood, Texas
Hall's Friendswood team is 7-3. Hall earned mention in a Galveston paper as one of the impact players on defense in Friendswood's recent win over Texas City, which earned Friendswood a spot in the playoffs. Friendswood plays Lamar Consolidated Nov. 18 in the first round.
Mike Iltis, OL/DL, Sarasota (Riverview), Fla.
Riverview lost in the first round of the Class 6a-Region 2 playoffs to Dr. Phillips last week. Riverview finished the season 6-5. Iltis, who played both ways for Riverview, helped pave the way on offense for the area's leading rusher, Robert Glinton (1,426 yards) .
Brian Lockridge, RB, Mission Viejo, Calif.
Lockridge shares time in the Mission Viejo backfield with two other ball carriers, and the trio make up what's considered to be one of Orange County's best backfields. Sharing carries, Lockridge leads MVHS with 1,093 yards on 124 rushes (8.8 ypc) and 10 touchdowns. Mission Viejo (8-2) plays Los Alamitos Nov. 17 in the CIF-Southern Section, Pac-5 Division playoffs.
Devan Johnson, ATH, Pittsburgh (Woodland Hills), Penn.
Johnson's Woodland Hills team lost to North Alleghenny in the first round of the playoffs last week. WHHS ended the season with an 8-3 record.
Ryan Miller, OT, Littleton (Columbine), Colo.
Playing both ways, Miller has helped Columbine to a 10-1 record and No. 4 ranking in 5A in Colorado this fall. Columbine has three players who've rushed for over 700 yards on offense, and has held opponents to seven points or less in six games. Though head coach Andy Lowry isn't touting it as a revenge game — he calls the playoffs a completely new season — Columbine faces the only team that beat them this season, Lakewood, in the quarterfinals of the 5A playoffs Nov. 18.
Nick Nelson, QB, Mission Viejo (Saddleback College) ,Calif.
Nelson led Saddleback to a perfect 10-0 record in the regular season. One of only four undefeated Jucos remaining in the nation, Saddleback begins the first round of the playoffs at home Nov. 18 vs. Palomar (6-4). Nelson is 130-of-212 (61.3 percent) for 1,910 yards on the season. He's thrown 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He's also rushed for 229 yards.
Conrad Obi, DE, Loganville (Grayson), Ga.
Obi suffered a season-ending injury to his finger in his team's fourth game this fall. In his four games, Obi had 12 tackles, 2 TFL and a quarterback hurry. Grayson plays at North Cobb in the first round of the 5A state playoffs Nov. 17.
Anthony Perkins, QB, Northglenn
Though Northglenn failed to make the playoffs, Perkins was one of the most prolific offensive players in the state this fall. Playing quarterback, he rushed put up over 2,300 yards on offense, including 346 yards rushing in a game against Horizon.
Lagrone Shields, DE, Memphis (Ridgeway), Tenn.
Ridgeway was 11-1 and ended their season in a tough second-round loss in the playoffs to Wooddale. With Shields in the defensive trenches, Ridgeway gave up just 62 points the entire season.
Devonne Quattlebaum, S, Monetta (Ridge Spring), S.C.
10-2 Ridge Spring plays Jonesville for the Upper State Championship Nov. 17. Ridge Spring led the 1A-Region IV in scoring (310 points) and defense (60) this fall. Playing both quarterback and defensive back, Quattlebaum has over 1,700 yards on offense and seven interceptions this year.
Lamont Smith, RB, Pittsburgh (Central Catholic), Penn.
An electrifying runner, Smith's No. 3 Central Catholic (10-1) takes on No. 2 Penn Hills (9-1) Nov. 17 in the 4A state semifinal playoffs. Though he missed most of four games with an injury, Smith has rushed for 880 yards
Adam Tello, OL, Norco, Calif.
Tello starts alongside Gerhart on the Norco offensive line.
Apaiata Tuihalamaka, DE, Gardena (Serra), Calif.
Tuihalamaka missed the entire regular season with an injury. Gardena Serra is 8-2 and plays El Segundo Nov. 17 in the first round of the playoffs.
Nate Vaiomounga, FB/LB, Corona, Calif.
Vaio plays both ways for Corona. A testament to his toughness, Vaoimounga isgiven the ball in scoring situations. He has five rushing touchdowns in just 37 carries this fall. Corona, 8-2, plays ETIWANDA in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 17.
Anthony Wright, RB/S, Compton, Calif.
Compton is 7-3 and plays Esperanza in the playoffs Nov. 17. Wright has rushed for over 900 yards and six touchdowns this season. He projects as a defensive player in college.