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LB Turner earns Defensive Player of the Year

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Jeff Harbison became the first-ever Sierra High football coach to earn the Valley Oak League's Coach of the Year during Monday's year-end meeting.

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED December 9, 2008 8:36 p.m.
It’s been a while since the Valley Oak League last released its season-ending awards this early.
With Pioneer Valley League rivals Whitney and Placer squaring off at Folsom High for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship, Friday will mark the first time since 2000 that a VOL team is not represented in a section final.
But that does little to take away from what has been an eventful football season for area schools, and making headlines, along with history, was VOL runner-up Sierra.
The Timberwolves (6-1, 9-3), who had their memorable run ended by Whitney in last Friday’s 51-28 semifinal loss, advanced to the postseason for the first time in the school’s 13-plus years of varsity existence.
With that distinction comes two of the VOL’s top honors.
Jeff Harbison was voted the league’s Coach of the Year by his peers during Monday’s year-end coaches banquet at David and Sylvia’s Family Dining in Manteca.
Harbison is Sierra’s first football head coach to achieve the feat. Standout senior linebacker Michael Turner, meanwhile, was named the Defensive Player of the Year.
“It’s a nod to the hard work this staff put over the summer,” Harbison said. “I’m very fortunate with the staff I have.”
Electric running back Nicky Batteate was crowned the league’s Most Valuable Player for league champion Oakdale, and Central Valley quarterback Trevor Mew was earned Offensive Player of the Year honors. Mew was among the state’s most prolific passers, as he completed an impressive 73 percent of his passes for 2,957 yards, 29 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 138 QB rating.
Turner, Sierra’s leading tackler, is the first Timberwolf to earn one of the league’s major individual awards since Ben Oehninger was Offensive Player of the Year in 1999.
“Michael Turner was our defensive leader,” Harbison said. “The kid played sideline to sideline for us with great speed and great vision. He solidified our defense.”
Manteca two-way lineman Nick Gardner is one of just two league players to make the offensive and defensive first teams. Central Valley WR/DB Ricky Rogers was the other.
Gardner helped pave the way for fellow first-teamer RB Marquis Miller, who finished with 1,285 yards and 18 TDs to lead all area rushers.
Sierra tailback Jarrod Daniels (1,000-plus yards, 18 TDs) also cracked the first-team offense, as did Sierra’s 6-foot-3, 276-pound tackle Jacob Faulkner and East Union tight end Dakota Anderson (33 receptions, 608 yards, five TDs).
Joining Turner and Gardner on the first-team defense are: Sierra DL Eric German, Manteca ILB Adam DeCosta, Manteca OLB James Glidden, Manteca CB LaRon Bennett and Sierra SS Nick Wendell.
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