Enterprise High receiver Sean McDonald is one of fastest players in the Northern Section (Photo by Mike Daly Photography)
The top 10. Can you believe it’s here and you can count down the days of the season-opening kickoff using both hands.
At this point, I’m sure it’s obvious that these five guys in the Football Player Rankings are on the radar for an MVP-caliber season. A few good weeks and any one of these guys could be leading the field as the favorite.
Take a look at the players ranked on the cusp of stardom. Reminder: the player rankings are based on varsity experience and potential impact for the 2018 season, taking into consideration coaches input, stats, postseason awards and first-hand experience.
10. Mario Martinez, (5-9, 214), FB/LB/DE, Anderson, Sr.
The fact Martinez is a three-sport athlete for the Cubs makes sense since he did a little of everything for the 10-3 Anderson football team last season. As a fullback, Martinez ran for 211 yards and two scores, while also catching six passes for 126 yards. The Northern Athletic League Honorable Mention’s long reception was 55 yards, so even at 200-plus pounds, Martinez can be elusive. On the defensive side of the ball, the three-year varsity player had 43 tackles for a Cubs team that reached the section finals. He had 13 tackles for a loss and three sacks. If the Cubs look to make another deep playoff run, Martinez will have to play a prominent role in their success.
9. Dyllan Johnson, (6-2, 182), DE/OL, Enterprise, Sr.
The Hornets gave up an average of 198 yards per game on the ground last season, and Johnson will be called up to help lower that number under Chris Combs’ first full-year at the helm. The Eastern Athletic League Honorable Mention had 94 tackles (including 34 solo) and two sacks for the 4-7 Hornets in 2017. Offensively, Johnson has the big body to open up holes for Enterprise’s speedsters, including elusive quarterback Leslie Cummings.
8. David Rivera, G/DE, Shasta, Sr.
Another under-sized Wolves lineman who gets a ton out of his talent, Rivera platooned at guard last season for JC Hunsaker and is expected to be a leader for a Shasta team that returns three players who saw significant time on the offensive line last year. Technically sound and with an impeccable work ethic, Rivera’s ability to pull and find downfield defenders makes him a valuable asset in the Wolves’ Wing-T scheme.
7. Gavin Dobson, (6-0, 160), QB/DB, Fall River, Sr.
As a sophomore, Dobson threw for nearly 900 yards and seven scores. As a junior, he upped the ante, going for 1,400 yards and 25 scores as the Bulldogs reached the section title game. As a senior? Well, the sky’s the limit for the three-year varsity player, who also doubles … or triples … as a three-sport athlete for Fall River. In addition to the passing yards, Dobson also carried the ball for 234 yards on 48 carries. On defense, he had 47 tackles, including 36 solo. If the Bulldogs look to get back to the section finals, Dobson’s arm is going to carry them a long ways.
6. Sean McDonald, (5-10, 160), WR/CB, Enterprise, Sr.
McDonald is the perfect complement to speedy quarterback Leslie Cummings. Focus too much on stopping Cummings and McDonald has the ability and football IQ to find a hole in the defense. And when he gets the ball, he’s fastest to outrun you. He had 12 receptions last year for 306 yards and three scores as injuries hampered his output. McDonald will be called on by Combs to be a leader on both sides of the ball.
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