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Football Player Rankings: Nos. 26-35

Photo by Mike Daly Photography

Taking a look at the next group of players in the Football Player Rankings, which are based on varsity experience and potential impact for the upcoming season.

Coaches’ opinions, statistics, postseason accolades, video highlights and personal preference were made to compile this list in countdown format with the top player being released on Aug. 24 – the first day of the prep football season. The only teams included are in Shasta County.

35. Ben Burgess (5-8, 148), RB/SS, U-Prep, Sr.
The Panthers senior gained nearly 400 yards last season, and his versatility will be relied upon by new U-Prep coach Darren Trueblood. Burgess can line up at running back, at strong safety on defense and return kicks on special teams.

34. Logan Irwin (6-0, 220), OL/LB, Foothill, Sr.
The Cougars’ top offensive lineman last season, Irwin paved the way for Jeshua Womack’s 1,000-yard season. The 6-foot, 220-pound senior also added 27 tackles for Foothill at linebacker. Irwin should help with running lanes for dual-threat quarterback Jayden Gordon, who neared 900 rushing yards last season.

33. Brian Kilgore (6-0, 165), QB, Shasta, Sr.
Kilgore started a handful of games for the Wolves and gets the keys to Shasta’s uptempo offense for his third year on varsity. With plenty of arm strength and in-depth knowledge of JC Hunsaker’s Wing-T system, Kilgore could be poised to keep things rolling on the west side.

32. Marquice Crowell (WR/DB), Anderson, Jr.
As a sophomore, Crowell contributed to the Cubs’ 10-3 year with about 100 yards of receptions and a score. Defensively, he added three interceptions and 1.5 tackles per game from his secondary spot.

31. Brett League (6-0, 165), WR/S, Central Valley, Jr.
The word on League is explosive. A good football mind and speedy enough to prowl the secondary for the Falcons looking for wayward passes. Coach Jesse Rogers called him a “head-turner.” The safety, who also is the backup QB, was the Northern Section Division 2 triple jump winner last season and second in the section.

30. James Weaver (6-0, 170), RB/OLB, Shasta, So.
Not many sophomores can say they have state-title game experience. Weaver can as he filled in at wing for injured Seth Park in the Wolves CIF 3-AA title game against Bishop Diego. The speedy sophomore isn’t afraid to put his head down and run over someone for the tough yards.

29. Matt Amasaki (5-7, 135), WR/CB, Enterprise, Sr.
The senior will be looked at to step up for first-year coach Chris Combs. As a second option behind All-Section WR Tyler Hafner, Amasaki had 21 catches for 315 yards and three scores, including a long of 64 yards. Defensively, the 5-7, 135-pound Amasaki averaged nearly four tackles per game from his secondary spot.

28. Kupono Kealiinohomoku (6-0, 250), OT/DT, Shasta, Jr.
The incoming junior started all 14 games for the Wolves last season, learning on the fly, but getting better each week. At 6-foot, 250-pounds, the guy they call “Pono” is a load and can move bodies, which works well in the Wolves’ up-tempo Wing-T scheme.

27. Blake Blomquist (5-11, 185), C/DT, Shasta, Sr.
Undersized for your “typical” offensive lineman, no one gets more out of their body than Blomquist. The 5-11, 185-pound captain of the Wolves’ line didn’t miss a snap last season and was nearly perfect in delivering the ball to quarterback Ian Garcia in Shasta’s pistol Wing-T.

26. Matt Paschen, TE/LB, Foothill, Sr.
In nine games last season, Paschen had 37 tackles, two sacks, one interception, and a fumble recovery. With graduation losses and new defensive coordinator Matt Diskin in the Red and Black, Paschen has the potential for a monster year.

Release Schedule for Player Rankings
Aug. 15 – Nos. 36-50
Aug. 15 – Nos. 26-35
Aug. 16 – Nos. 21-25
Aug. 17 – Nos. 16-20
Aug. 18 – Nos. 11-15
Aug. 19 – Nos. 6-10
Aug. 20 – No. 5, Bailey Small, Fall River
Aug. 21 – No. 4, Jayden Gordon, Foothill
Aug. 22 – No. 3, Leslie Cummings, Enterprise
Aug. 23 – No. 2, Bailey Sulzer, West Valley
Aug. 24 – No. 1, Parker Phillips, Anderson

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for nearly two decades. He spent eight years as the Sports Editor for the local newspaper and another four more as the voice of high school football on the radio. Williams has coached various sports at the high school level over the past decade, most recently at Shasta High, and is also the public address announcer for the Shasta College football and basketball teams.

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