By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Three area standouts earn major all-league awards in inaugural flag football season
All-League Flag Football
Sierra receiver Janessa Barnes tries to separate from Millennium’s Mia Hernandez. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

Sierra’s Janessa Barnes and linebacker Taylor Zalunardo earned top honors on the All-Tri-City Athletic League flag football team.

Faith Butler of Lathrop also received a major award in the Western Athletic Conference.

All-League Flag Football
Sierra linebacker Taylor Zalunardo reaches for Lathrop ball carrier Aaliyah Thompson’s flag. - photo by Wayne Thallander
Flag football was approved as a sanctioned sport by the California Interscholastic Federation last year. The inaugural season included playoffs in the Sac-Joaquin Section, with Woodcreek of Roseville and Christian Brothers of Sacramento capturing the Divisions I and II championships.

Sierra and Lathrop were the only area schools to participate in the sport, and both finished 4-10 overall. They met once in non-league action, with Sierra pulling a thrilling 18-12 overtime victory.

Sierra went 3-9 in TCAL play, placing seventh out of nine teams. Barnes was named Co-Utility Player of the Year with Bayli Brown of first-place Tracy, while Zalunardo shares Defensive Player of the Year with St. Mary’s Ava Gonzalez.

Barnes finished as the Timberwolves’ top pass catcher with 652 yards and eight touchdowns on 52 receptions. The sophomore was also a contributor in the run game (23 carries, 113 yards) and racked up 37 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 10 pass deflections and two interceptions on defense.

Zalunardo ended as Sierra’s leading tackler with 72. She also defended 10 passes, picking off two, and paced the Timberwolves’ ground attack with 788 yards (7.8 per carry) and two scores.

Sierra quarterback/safety sophomore Maitland Kohoutek made the All-TCAL first-team defense after reeling in 13 interceptions to go with seven pass deflections.

Receivers Alison Cozby, Ashtyn Perez and Deonna Wilson are second-team selections for offense. Linebacker Margeil Garcia received honorable mention.

The Tokay tandem of Kayleen Tuavao and Aria Khan were voted MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, respectively.

All-League Flag Football
Lathrop pass rusher Faith Butler pressures Millennium quarterback Jocelyn Hernandez.
In the WAC, Butler is co-Defensive Player of the Year with Orestimba’s Maya Barajas. Fellow Spartans joining the sophomore linebacker on the all-conference first team are senior receiver Tatiana Lowery and sophomore outside linebacker/defensive back Dayanna Martinez. Underclassmen Moira Ramones and Aaliyah Thompson were selected to the second-team offense.

Lathrop went 3-4 against conference opponents, finishing fifth out of seven.

Quarterback Marissa Renteria of champion Ceres is MVP. Escalon’s Violette Kent earned Offensive Player of the Year.