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Foothill football: Murphy named Foothill League Player of the Year

Apsay, Costleigh, Rodriguez earn high honors

Posted: November 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia quarterback Sean Murhpy was named the Foothill League Player of the Year by the league's coaches after he led the Vikings to a Foothill League championship and appearance in the CIF-SS Northern Division semifinals.

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Sean Murphy was completely shut out in last year’s All-Foothill League voting.

This year, he was its Player of the Year.

Murphy’s dramatic one-season turnaround wasn’t the only reason for his being voted the league’s top player by its coaches. It was the fact that he had one of the best seasons for a quarterback in program history.

The senior passed for 3,936 yards and a school record 38 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, and led the Vikings to their fourth straight Foothill League title and fourth trip to the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division semifinals in five seasons.

“I was surprised,” Murphy said of the selection. “A lot of other people (had great years). (Canyon wide receiver Drew) Wolitarsky had a phenomenal year. He set the state records.”

Murphy passed for 1,577 yards and six touchdowns to four interceptions in 2011 as a junior.

He passed for over 300 yards in seven of the Vikings’ 13 games this season and broke Alex Bishop’s three-year old record of 37 touchdowns in Friday’s 50-33 loss to Palos Verdes.

“I wanted to break it,” Murphy said. “I wanted to see what I could do this year and be the best quarterback I could.”

Valencia also took home the Defensive Player of the Year.

That prize went to senior linebacker Anthony Costleigh, who led the Vikings in tackles in 2012.

Costleigh, a senior, had 91 going into the final game of the year, along with five interceptions, two sacks, seven quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery.

“Some guy from Canyon texted me and said congrats for getting (Defensive Player of the Year),” Costleigh said on how he found out. “I was really excited. I didn’t expect that (honor). It means the world to me. I think that’s one of the best things that’s happened to me in my football career.”

Canyon players took the two other big honors as quarterback Cade Apsay was named the Foothill’s Offensive Player of the Year and Juan Rodriguez was named Lineman of the Year.

Apsay, in his first varsity season, passed for 3,333 yards, a school record 39 touchdown passes to 14 interceptions.

The junior also rushed for another 15 scores and 341 yards.

Rodriguez was a two-way starting lineman who anchored the Cowboys’ offensive line and was a terror on defense with a team high 3 1/2 sacks, four forced fumbles and 45 tackles.

The Vikings had nine players make the first team, as Nick Jones, Malik Townsend, Jay Jay Wilson and Jesse Heyer earned offensive honors and Tedric Thompson, Jake Solley, Aaren Dominguez and Spencer Hixon earned defensive honors. Valencia kicker Cole Murphy also made the offensive team.

Wolitarsky, who set state prep records in career receiving yards and receptions, was one of three Cowboys on the first-team offense with Paul Cornelius and Chris Reed.

Justin Derpic, Ronnie Walker and Myron McAfee represent the Cowboys on the defensive first team.

Hart’s Connor Wingenroth, Trent Irwin and Blake Porter were named to the first-team offense, with John Perkins and Austin Murillo placed on the first-team defense. Indians punter Griffin Scott made the all-defensive team.

Saugus’ Kevin Lee and Christian Stevenson were the Centurions’ offensive selections, while Austin Davenport and Dakota Taylor were first-team defenders.

Eric Ramelli represented West Ranch on offense and the Wildcats’ Jake Lambirth was named to the defensive first team.

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