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Willem Hoekstra leads Knights on All-SAL team

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POSTED December 12, 2017 1:26 a.m.

The top two teams in the Southern Athletic League dominates postseason awards, but one Ripon Christian player managed to stand out. 

Willem Hoekstra, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior defensive end, was voted Defensive Player of the Year after spearheading Ripon Christian (4-3, 7-5 overall) to a third-place finish in league. The Knights also reached the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII final, losing to Rio Vista, 56-28.

Hoekstra was instrumental in leading the Knights’ one-year turnaround from a disappointing 2-8 record in 2016. He was Ripon Christian’s second-leading tackler with 76 (29 for losses) to go with an area-high 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. Hoekstra had big games against Millennium (nine tackles, four sacks), Waterford (10 tackles, 2.5 sacks, interception, forced fumble, fumble recovery) and Mariposa (seven tackles, 2.5 sacks)

The Knights have four all-SAL first-team selections in all, with four others making the second team.

Senior lineman Tristan DeShields is the lone Ripon Christian player to make the all-league first team. Justin Heida (68 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two recovered), a 6-2, 285-pound defensive lineman, earned a spot on the all-league defense along with sophomore defensive back Sean McGovern (73 tackles, three interceptions, 19 passes defended). 

The team’s top offensive player, junior Michael Kamps, made second team after rushing for 1,244 yards and 21 touchdowns. He rambled for 252 yards and four scores in a 36-14 league win over Denair.

Junior offensive lineman Drew Van Vliet (6-3, 240), sophomore defensive lineman Garrett Bryan (57 tackles, four sacks) and senior defensive back Dillon Zuidervaart (42 tackles, four interceptions) round out Ripon Christian’s all-league second-team selections.

League champion Orestimba (7-0, 10-1) has four players with major awards, including co-MVP Octavio Perez (107 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three interceptions), Offensive Player of the Year Jacob Bettencourt (2,170 passing yards, 28 TDs), Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year Andrews Alvarez and Defensive Lineman of the Year Jamie Munoz (60 tackles, 4.5 sacks). Aaron Souza is Coach of the Year.

Runner-up Gustine (6-1, 8-3) was headed by Co-MVP Oliver Perez (1,642 yards, 11 TDs; 56 tackles, three interceptions, 5-of-6 field goals) and Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year Daniel Caldera. 


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