Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South senior quarterback Jonah Johnson accounted for more than 50 percent of the Madera South offense and provided many highlight reel plays like this leap over a Sanger defender. He is The Madera Tribune’s football Most Valuable Player for the second straight season.
Most Valuable Player
QB Sr. Madera South
Jonah Johnson is one of the most dynamic players in, not only school history, but also in the Central Section. He totaled 2,551 yards from scrimmage, including 1,026 yards rushing. He accounted for 57 percent of Madera South’s offensive yards. He also rushed for 12 touchdowns and threw for 13 touchdowns, accounting for 56 percent of his team’s scoring. Johnson was named to the All-County/Metro Athletic Conference first team and is a two-time All-Madera Tribune Most Valuable Player after earning All-Madera Tribune honors as a quarterback his sophomore year. Madera South gained a season-high 515 yards of total offense against a tough Bullard defense. In that game, Johnson threw for 227 yards and rushed for 157 yards for 384 total yards and three touchdowns. He also had five games where he rushed for more than 100 yards.
Defensive Player of the Year
DL Sr. Liberty
For the second half of the season, the Liberty defensive line led the Hawks to a six-game winning streak and a share of the North Sequoia League championship. One of the key cogs to the defensive line was Cazares, who recorded 53 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss to lead the defensive linemen. He also had four sacks and countless quarterback hurries despite team scheming against Cazares. Because of that, it allowed linemates Javier Lopez, Ethan Clark and Nick Hayes to control the line of scrimmage. He was named the North Sequoia League’s Lineman of the Year because of his work on both sides of the ball. It marks the second time he was named All-NSL on both sides of the ball and is a two-time member of the All-Madera Tribune team. This is the fourth year The Madera Tribune has named a Defensive Player of the year and it’s the fourth year a Liberty player has received the honor (C.J. Cambra [twice] and Hunter Gray).
QB Sr. Liberty
A two-year starter, Markie Brandt set a school record for most rushing yards (372) for a quarterback in Liberty’s history. He also scored eight rushing touchdowns. He also set a school record for most passing yards in a game with 270 in a win against Patterson. He threw for 778 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished second in school history in passing yards and passing touchdowns. He was named the NSL’s Utility Player of the Year and earned honorable mention at quarterback. This is second All-Madera Tribune selection.
RB Jr. Liberty
Kaleb Roth closed out his junior season by rushing for more than 100 yards in his last six games. In 143 carries, he was held to a loss for just 15 yards. He gained 1,050 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns while averaging 7.3 yards per carry. He was named first team All-NSL.
RB Sr. Madera South
While Johnson may have gotten the headlines, McClain did the yeoman’s work, rushing for more than 1,000 yards for the first time in his three-year career. He averaged 8.7 yards per carry and scored 11 rushing touchdowns. He had four 100-plus rushing games.
RB Sr. Madera
When Madera’s top two running backs were unavailable, the Coyotes turned to McMillon to become the main ball carrier. His tough running kept the Coyotes in the game. He led the Coyotes in rushing throughout the CMAC season. He was an All-CMAC honorable mention.
FB Sr. Liberty
Arguably the heart and soul of the Liberty team, Baker was head coach Mike Nolte’s go-to running back. He was out for the season during Liberty’s homecoming win over Washington while trying to run out the clock. Before he was hurt with two games left in the season, Baker was on pace for a 1,000 yard season. He finished with 796 yards rushing with 14 touchdowns and averaged 7.4 yards per carry. He earned second team All-NSL honors.
Jacob Kirkpatrick and Jaylan Neal
WR Srs. Madera South
With a dynamic quarterback, Johnson had to have someone to throw the ball to. He had dynamic playmakers with Kirkpatrick and Neal on both sides of the ball. They both finished with 32 receptions and totaled 1,098 yards combined with eight touchdowns. This is Kirkpatrick’s second All-Madera Tribune selection. Neal set a school record with 11 receptions for 171 yards in a loss to Bullard while earning second team All-CMAC honors.
John Clay Cowger
TE Sr. Liberty
The Liberty offense uses its tight end as a blocker and once Cowger was set at tight end, the Liberty running game began to take off. Cowger wasn’t targeted much in the passing game (just five targets), but his only catch went for 44 yards and helped the Hawks come back for a win against Patterson.
OL Sr. Madera
Ruiz was the anchor on the Madera offensive line. The line saw the team go through three different main ball carriers before settling on McMillon in the second half of the season. Ruiz was named second team All-CMAC.
OL Sr. Madera South
Rodriguez and the rest of the Madera South offensive line opened holes that allowed Stallion ball carriers to gain more than 2,800 yards rushing and score 31 touchdowns. The anchor of the offensive line at tackle, Rodriguez was a CMAC honorable mention.
OL Sr. Liberty
Cazares began his Liberty career as a center for the Hawks team that went undefeated to win the Valley Championship. Since then, he has become the leader on the offensive line, stabilizing the line wherever needed. He was a driving force at tackle for the Hawks and was named first team All-NSL.
OL Sr. Liberty
Hiatt may be one of the skinniest guards in the league, but he could be one of the meanest. His personality changes on the football field, driving opposing players back pulling to open holes for the Liberty ball carriers. He was a second team All-NSL recipient.
OL Sr. Liberty
With Cazares, Clark helped the Hawks have anchors on each side of the line at right tackle. Clark, like Cazares, hardly came out of the game. He was just as dominant on offense as he was on defense despite getting limited towards the end of the year with a shoulder injury. Clark earned first team All-NSL honors for his work on the offensive side of the ball.
DL Sr. Madera South
Despite wearing a receiver’s number (81), Eller didn’t see much time on the offensive side of the ball. However, he was a force on the defensive side of the ball, coming up with clutch tackles. He also found himself in the right spot, jumping on fumbles in the last two games of the season.
DL Sr. Madera
Hartley was the consistent force on the defensive line for the Coyotes. Wearing a single-digit number (3), Hartley performed like those defensive linemen wearing numbers in the 90s. He had a key interception in Madera’s one-point loss to Mission Oak in Week 2. He was a CMAC honorable mention.
DL Sr. Liberty
Clark’s goal was to win the NSL’s Defensive Player of the Year. He fell a little short of that title, but was still one of the dominant players on the Liberty line. When teams were scheming against going towards Cazares, Clark more than held his own lining up opposite Cazares. He finished the season with 50 tackles, three quarterback sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. He earned an NSL honorable mention.
DT Sr. Liberty
When Lopez got healthy after an early season injury and was inserted at tackle on the line, the Hawks defense got better and better. He clogged the middle of the line, but also was quick enough to beat pulling guards to the ball carrier. There were even times where he tackled the running back and quarterback at the same time. He had 43 tackles and finished with nine tackles for loss. Lopez was named to the All-NSL second team.
MLB Sr. Madera
Landero was the key to the Madera defense. He was the most consistent defender for the Coyotes at linebacker. He was also well respected amongst the CMAC coaches and earned second team All-CMAC honors.
MLB Sr. Madera South
Velasquez was a key cog in the middle of the Madera South defense. However, he suffered some injuries during the year and battled through them. He was big at the end, getting some key tackles for the Stallions. This is his second All-Madera Tribune selection.
MLB Sr. Liberty
Before he was injured with two games to play, Baker was the middle of the Liberty defense. He still finished second on the team with 57 tackles and led the team with 11 tackles for loss and 32 solo tackles. Baker earned second team All-NSL honors and a second All-Madera Tribune selection.
LB Jr. Liberty
When Baker went down, Roth became the middle of the Liberty defense. He led the team with 80 tackles to go with 20 solo tackles. He was used inside and outside for the Hawks. To go with his first team All-NSL honor at running back, Roth also received first team All-NSL honors at linebacker.
DB Soph. Madera
When Espinoza was pulled up from the junior varsity team midway through the season, he made an immediate impact. He had an interception return for a touchdown in his first game on the varsity level against Edison-Fresno. He was a CMAC honorable mention.
DB Sr. Liberty
Johnson tied for the team-lead in tackles among defensive backs with 44. He also had three interceptions and led the team with 12 passes defended. He also provided a spark on special teams, averaging 20 yards per kick return and nearly 17 yards per punt return with a touchdown. He was a second team All-NSL selection.
DB Sr. Liberty
Brandt tied with Johnson for the team lead in tackles with 44. He also led the team with four interceptions and returned one for a touchdown while also playing quarterback. Brandt earned second team All-NSL honors at safety while also earning first team All-NSL honors at punter.