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Prep football: Nine Foothill League players named All-CIF

Posted: January 14, 2013 4:46 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2013 4:46 p.m.
 

The Foothill League was filled with potent offenses in football this season, and the CIF voters took notice.

Nine Foothill League players were named to the 2012-13 All-CIF-Southern Section Northern Division, which was announced Monday along with the rest of the Southern Section.

Six of those players were on offense, three defense.

Foothill champion Valencia led the way with four total players on the list, including senior quarterback Sean Murphy.

“It just shows how I grew this year,” said Murphy, who was also The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley and Foothill Player of the Year. “It’s exciting each award I get. I’m not looking for the awards, but if they come it’s awesome to see how I went from how bad of a year I had last year.”

After struggling his first year as a varsity signal caller in 2011, Murphy fired out 3,936 passing yards and a school record 38 touchdowns with 14 interceptions this season.

He was the lone quarterback named on the Northern Division team.

Murphy is joined by teammate and junior wide receiver Malik Townsend on the offensive team, while senior linebacker Anthony Costleigh and senior defensive back Tedric Thompson represented the defensive team for the Vikings.

Hart added three players to the list. Junior running back Connor Wingenroth and sophomore wide receiver Trent Irwin made the offensive team and Hart senior defensive back Austin Murillo was named on the defensive side.

To round out the list of locals, Canyon had two offensive All-CIF nominees, senior wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky and senior lineman Juan Rodriguez.

They were the same two Canyon players named All-CIF last year, giving Wolitarsky a third straight All-CIF nod and Rodriguez a second.

“I dedicate a lot of time to it and I really like the school and I like everything,” Rodriguez said of his three-year varsity career with the Cowboys. “It was good. It was good playing for Canyon.”

As for skill position players, Valencia’s Townsend proved to be Murphy’s favorite target in the passing attack. Townsend hauled in 54 passes and 12 touchdowns, both team highs, and he collected 1,066 receiving yards for Valencia.

On defense, Costleigh tallied 91 tackles, five interceptions and two sacks on his way to also being named Foothill Defensive Player of the Year.

Though he’s technically on the All-CIF defensive team, Thompson played plenty of snaps on both sides of the ball.

The fourth-year varsity player had 58 tackles on defense and 26 grabs for 386 yards and seven touchdowns as a wideout.

“It’s great to go out there and play with these guys,” Murphy said. “It’s not a bunch of random players I see on this list. I actually got to play with them.”

Then there were the repeat honorees.

In addition to earning All-CIF honors in consecutive seasons, Rodriguez was also this year’s Foothill Lineman of the Year after putting up stellar performances on both sides of the ball for Canyon.

He played offensive tackle and he finished with 45 tackles, 3.5 sacks and four forced fumbles on defense.

His teammate, Wolitarsky, capped off his fourth year on varsity as the best receiver in California high school history in multiple categories.

The senior caught 89 passes for 1,275 yards this year, which puts his career totals at 5,147 yards and 281 receptions. Both of those totals broke state records.

“Those two young men are just difficult to replace,” Canyon head coach Rich Gutierrez said of his two All-CIF players.

For league third-place Hart, Wingenroth yet another two-way player, starting at defensive back while racking 850 yards on 135 rushes and 374 yards through the air on 27 catches. He scored 12 rushing touchdowns and seven receiving.

Irwin caught 43 passes for 863 yards and seven receiving touchdowns.

Murillo was stout in the secondary for the Indians, grabbing six interceptions to add to his 33 tackles.

“They’re all well deserved,” said Hart head coach Mike Herrington of the team’s All-CIF selections. “They’re all top athletes in the league.”

Northern Division champion Palos Verdes, which beat Valencia in the semifinal and Hart in the quarterfinal, won two of the three major awards for the division. Palos Verdes running back Matt Lopes was the Northern Division’s Offensive Player of the Year and head coach Guy Gardner won Coach of the Year.

West High of Torrance’s Matt Boesen was named Defensive Player of the Year.

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