Derek Landri (De La Salle, Concord) OL-DL Sr.
According to Ladouceur, Landri's performances were even better to watch on film the next day. "Everyone on the team marveled at how he played. When he was not making a tackle, he was battling double and triple teams so someone else could." De La Salle's only other State Player of the Year winners have been RB/LB D.J. Williams, chosen just two years ago, and WR Amani Toomer, chosen in 1991.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE RUNNINGBACK OF THE YEAR:
Lorenzo Booker (St. Bonaventure, Ventura) Sr.
The 5-11, 175-pounder led the Seraphs to a 14-0 record and a 42-game win streak over the last three seasons. He was second in the state in rushing with 2,869 yards and first in the state in scoring with 50 touchdowns. For his career, Booker set state records (according to CalHiSports) with 8,501 yards, 137 touchdowns and 882 career points. It's too bad St. Bonaventure was not able to play powerhouse Hart in mid-September because if Booker had rushed for, say, 300 yards, scored five touchdowns and led his team to a big win much of the debate surrounding himself vs. Dennis as SoCal Player of the Year would have been muted.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE QUARTERBACK OF THE YEAR:
Trent Edwards (Los Gatos) Sr.
There may only be a few quarterbacks in the entire nation (collegians included) who have the razor-sharp touch of Edwards. The 6-2, 180-pounder hit on a state record 78 percent of his passes as a junior and followed it up with another strong season as a senior. He passed for 2,500 yards in leading the Wildcats to their second straight CIF Central Coast Section Div. III title and to their second straight 13-0 season. For his career, Edwards finished with 5,015 yards with 58 TD passes and just seven interceptions.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE RECEIVER OF THE YEAR:
Steve Smith (Taft, Woodland Hills) Jr.
With one year to go, Smith already has caught nearly 200 passes in his career. Despite missing one game with an injury, Smith finished with 89 catches for 1,455 yards and 12 TDs. He easily could have been picked as the State Defensive Back of the Year, too, as he had 12 interceptions, but there will be plenty of other honors in his future.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE LINEMEN OF THE YEAR:
Derek Landri (De La Salle, Concord) Sr.
We agree with Terry Betterton of the Fresno Bee: best we've seen since Don Mosebar in 1978. And why wasn't Mosebar State Player of the Year, you ask? A certain quarterback at Granada Hills named John Elway was the pick instead.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE LINEBACKER OF THE YEAR:
Scott White (Mission Bay, San Diego) Sr.
The San Diego Union-Tribune's Defensive Player of the Year came up big in the biggest games. As a junior, he had 21 tackles in the CIF San Diego Section Div. III finals against Lincoln. This year as a senior against previously unbeaten Mission Bay, White (6-2, 230) had 18 tackles, three sacks, blocked a punt and scored four times as a running back.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE DEFENSIVE BACK OF THE YEAR:
Vince Mays (Johnson, Sacramento) Sr.
None of the DBs who were selected as preseason all-staters had great seasons. Injuries took some toll and so did not throwing in their direction (which cuts down on all stats). This brings us to the versatile Mays. In leading Johnson to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I semifinals, Mays' stood out as a safety with 85 tackles, seven forced fumbles, seven sacks and two interceptions (one he returned for a TD). He also blocked three field goal attempts on special teams. The 6-1, 185-pound Fresno State recruit was huge on offense, too, with 2,157 yards rushing and 36 TDs. He should be a no-brainer pick as Player of the Year by the Sacramento Bee.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE KICKER OF THE YEAR:
Adrian Rosales (South Hills, West Covina) Sr.
A 57-yard field goal by Rosales was the longest reported of the season in the state. It was one of nine field goals he made during the season and he did not miss an extra point. In fact, Rosales never missed a PAT he kicked during his career at South Hills, according to coach Steve Bogan. Rosales finished his career with 11 field goals made of more than 40 yards and was reported with 90 percent of his kickoffs going into the end zone for touchbacks.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE MEDIUM SCHOOLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Frederick Collins (La Quinta) RB-DB Sr.
Since Los Gatos' Edwards got the nod as the Quarterback of the Year, it was felt that this pick could go to Collins. He's arguably a better choice, anyway, for all the things he did on the field for La Quinta over the past two years. Collins was among the state's scoring and rushing leaders with 47 touchdowns and 2,209 yards. Only 31 of his scores came on running plays. He caught 53 passes for 917 yards and 16 TDs and scored in a key playoff game on a 100-yard interception return. Collins led La Quinta to back-to-back CIF Southern Section Div. VIII titles with the team's only loss in 28 games coming to Div. I Eisenhower of Rialto.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE SMALL SCHOOLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Kenny James (Dos Palos) RB-DB Sr.
How can we not have Kenny James on a player of the year list somewhere? Lorenzo Booker would, of course, be a strong choice for this slot, too, but since he's the running back of the year, then James (who also played strongly on defense) can be this year's Small Schools Player of the Year. James finished the year with 49 touchdowns (second in the state) and 2,899 yards (first in the state) even though he played one less game than many others who finished with similar totals. James had 54 touchdowns as a junior for a two-year total of 103, which is a state record and is more than any other player in the nation has scored over the same time span. James also was one of the top defensive backs in the CIF Central Section. He was put on St. Bonaventure's Whitney Lewis and San Joaquin Memorial's Antonio Lawrence in key matchups during the season and graded out very well.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE JUNIOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Steve Smith (Taft, Woodland Hills) WR-DB
The Toreador tornado was the top soph last year and backed it up with another sensational season. His pass catch total dropped slightly to 89, but the 6-2, 185-pounder missed one game and more than made up for it on defense with 12 interceptions. With all of his basketball exploits, Smith is on target to be one of the nation's most talked about athletes during the 2002-03 school year.
CALHISPORTS.COM STATE SOPHOMORE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Damon Morton (J.W. North, Riverside) WR-DB
There wasn't an obvious choice this year like Smith for last season, but Morton (5-11, 165) is certainly a very promising player and was a key part of a CIF Southern Section Div. IV championship team. Morton teamed with soph brother Dion (a quarterback) to spark J.W. North first to an upset of unbeaten Corona Centennial and then to two more playoff wins. He finished with 52 catches for 982 yards and 10 TDs, rushed for three TDs, passed for three TDs and was a starter at corner on defense.