By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
McCray named Defensive POY; Paule snubbed for top awards
Sierra linebacker Trevon McCray gets a rare opportunity to run with the ball on this 44-yard interception return in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff game against Rio Linda. McCray was named All-Valley Oak League Defensive Player of the Year on Monday. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• Coach of the Year: Trent Merzon, Oakdale

• Most Valuable Player: Frankie Trent, Oakdale

• Offensive Player of the Year: Justin Rice, Central Catholic

• Defensive Player of the Year: Trevon McCray, Sierra

• Utility Player of the Year: Rashaad Cooper, Kimball

• First-team offense: QB — Hunter Petlansky, Central Catholic, Jr. RB — Hector Soto, Manteca, Sr.; Mark Paule Jr., Sierra, Jr.; Darus Nelson, Oakdale, Jr. TE — Jared Rice, Central Catholic, Sr. WR — Hunter Johnson, Sierra, Sr.; Luis Reyes, Manteca, Sr. C — Chase McKee, Manteca, Sr. OL — Darrell Clemons, Manteca, Sr.; Lionel Valencia, Sierra, Sr.; Conner Melton, Sierra, Sr.; Jon Carmelich, Oakdale, Sr.; A.J. Contreras, Central Catholic, Sr. P—Matthew Hernandez, Lathrop, Sr. K—Marcus Montano, Manteca, Sr.

• First-team defense: DL — Darrion Kitson, Manteca, Jr.; Conner Melton, Sierra, Sr.; Landen Ichord, Oakdale, Sr. Labron Alofaituli, Sierra, Sr. ILB — Joseph Reynaga, East Union, So.; Hawaii Leafa Teo, Lathrop, Sr.; Kekupaa Freehauf, Central Catholic, Jr. OLB — Lechi Nkwocha, Manteca, Sr.; Miguel Hernandez, Central Catholic, Sr. DB — Dominic Pisano, Manteca, Sr.; Luis Reyes, Manteca, Sr.; Seu Seu Alofaituli, Sierra, So.; Jared Rice, Central Catholic, Sr.

• Second-team offense: QB — Adam Olsen, Oakdale, Jr. RB — Brock Whiting, Oakdale, Sr.; Rashaad Cooper, Kimball, Sr. TE — Greg Jones, Manteca, Sr. WR — Marque Watson, Weston Ranch, Sr.; Austin Miller, East Union, Jr.; Ronaldo Tijero, Manteca, Jr. C — Dalton Stewart, Oakdale, Sr. OL — Alex Cardwell, Manteca, Sr.; Luis Marsella, Oakdale, Jr.; Zack Cordoza, Oakdale, Sr. 

• Second-team defense: DL — Steven Martinez, Manteca, Sr.; Nick Ruiz, Oakdale, Sr.; Wyatt Hjelm, Oakdale, Sr.; Sam Mundt, Central Catholic, Jr. ILB — Gregg Padrigon, Lathrop, Sr.; Jacob DaVita, Lathrop, Jr. OLB — Nashon Tamiano, Sierra, So.; Christian Johnson, Oakdale, Sr. DB — Erron Duncan, Weston Ranch, Jr.; Tyler Flores, Oakdale, Sr.; Kalhiel Dillard, Central Catholic, Sr.; Josh Frowein, Central Catholic, Jr.

Record-breaking numbers that ranked him among the best in California weren’t enough for Sierra running back Mark Paule Jr. to garner the MVP award during the Valley Oak League coaches meeting Monday night.

He wasn’t even in the running for Offensive Player of the Year. 

Oakdale fullback Frankie Trent and Central Catholic’s Justin Rice are Most Valuable and Offensive Player of the Year, respectively. Rashaad Cooper of Kimball was named Utility Player of the Year.

Sierra, at least, didn’t come away empty-handed, as inside linebacker Trevon McCray got the nod for Defensive Player of the Year. Including McCray, the VOL co-champion Timberwolves (6-1, 10-2 overall) had the second most all-league first-team selections with eight. Manteca (5-2, 9-3), which finished fourth in the VOL but handed Sierra its lone regular-season defeat, led the league with nine first-team honorees.

Trent Merzon is Coach of the Year after leading Oakdale (6-1, 13-1) to a league championship share and its fourth overall Sac-Joaquin Section title. The Mustangs, with seven first-team members, knocked off Inderkum 27-23 in Saturday’s SJS Division III final and were chosen to face Concord powerhouse Clayton Valley in the CIF Northern California Regional Division II Bowl Game. 

Central Catholic (5-2, 10-3) earned its section-high 18th SJS banner in Division IV two weeks ago and has been pitted with undefeated Capital Christian of Sacramento to meet in the NorCal Division IV Bowl Game. Four Raiders were picked for the All-VOL first team.

The 5-foot-11, 255-pound McCray terrorized opposing offenses all season, producing 80 tackles (18 for losses), six sacks, five forced fumbles and two interceptions. In Sierra’s 55-20 throttling of Kimball in the league opener, he racked up four sacks while causing four fumbles.

Paule settled for a spot on the All-VOL first team despite rushing for 2,024 yards and scoring 45 touchdowns — both new single-season records for Sierra. His touchdown total has him ranked No. 2 in the state, according to MaxPreps. He accounted for 72 percent of the Timberwolves’ rushing yards in league games and scampered for 20 of the team’s 22 rushing touchdowns.

Sierra lineman Conner Melton, Manteca receiver/cornerback Luis Reyes and Central Catholic tight end/safety Jared Rice are the only three players to earn first-team spots for both offense and defense. Melton finished with seven sacks.  Reyes had 871 all-purpose yards (471 receiving) and seven total touchdowns.

Wide receiver Hunter Johnson (716 yards, 9 TDs), lineman Lionel Valencia, defensive end Labron Alofaituli (46 tackles, 3.5 sacks) and sophomore safety Seu Seu Alofaituli (59 tackles) round out Sierra’s all-league first-team selections. Sophomore Nashon Tamiano made the second team as an outside linebacker.

Running back Hector Soto (1,276 yards, 18 TDs) is among the nine Manteca selections on the first team. He had season-highs of 30 carries and 197 yards in Manteca’s 34-20 upset of Sierra. Joining him on the list are: center Chase McKee, offensive tackle Darrell Clemons, defensive end Darrion Kitson (51 tackles, 5 sacks), outside linebacker Lechi Nkwocha (38 tackles, 5.5 sacks), safety Dominic Pisano (72 tackles) and kicker Marcus Montano.

Tight end Greg Jones, receiver Ronaldo Tijero, offensive lineman Alex Cardwell and defensive lineman Steven Martinez represent Manteca on the second team.

Lathrop (1-6, 2-8) has two first-team players in linebacker Hawaii Leafa Teo and punter Matthew Hernandez. East Union (2-5, 3-7) has one in sophomore linebacker Joseph Reynaga, while Weston Ranch has none. Reynaga was the Lancers’ leading tackler despite spending the first five weeks of the season on the sophomore squad.

East Union’s Austin Miller (45 receptions, 821 yards, 9 TDs) and Marque Watson of Weston Ranch (72-1,089-9) put up big numbers but are on the second team. Also making the second team were Weston Ranch defensive back Erron Duncan and linebacker Bryant Bowen, Lathrop inside linebackers Jacob DaVita and Gregg Padrigon.