Editor’s note: The All-Desert Sun football team is selected by Drew Schmenner with input from area coaches.
PALM SPRINGS (8-3)
MARIO CORDERO, K, sr.: The 5-foot-10, 170-pound kicker was honored as the Desert Valley League special teams player of the year. He made seven field goals, including a long of 42, and had touchbacks on 36 of 56 kickoffs.
“He has just helped us tremendously, not only with field goals, but kicking the ball in the end zone and making teams go 80 yards on us.” — coach Dan Murphy
BRANDON CUMMINGS, C, sr.: The 6-foot, 215-pound center never lost a DVL game as a three-year starter for the Indians.
“Brandon’s one of those kids that you remember forever. He was a three-year starter for us and made great contributions.” — Murphy
MICHAEL GREER, LB/WR, sr.: The 6-foot, 190-pound linebacker had 86 tackles, including seven sacks, as well as three interceptions, one pass defensed, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, one blocked field goal and one blocked extra point. He also rushed for 193 yards and one TD and caught 24 passes for 430 yards and four TDs.
“Michael was a big playmaker on both sides of the ball. Whenever we needed a spark, he provided it for us.” — Murphy
DAVID GUIRGUIS, RB, sr.: The 5-foot-9, 180-pound running back rushed for 286 yards and four TDs and caught 35 passes for 307 yards and three TDs. Guirguis caught a TD pass in the final minutes that forced overtime against La Quinta and rushed for the winning TD in OT.
“David was our unsung hero. He practically won the La Quinta game for us.” — Murphy
CHRIS HESSLER, LB/WR, sr.: The 6-foot, 205-pound linebacker recorded 89 tackles, including five-and-a-half sacks, and had one pass defensed, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles. He also was the Indians’ leading receiver, catching 41 passes for 540 yards and four TDs, and rushed for three TDs.
“He was one of our leading offensive weapons, a great defensive player and a good, hard-nosed high school football player.” — Murphy
CHANCE SPATES, LB, jr.: The 5-foot-10, 200-pound linebacker had 83 tackles, including a half sack, as well as two forced fumbles, one pass defensed and one blocked field goal.
“Chance is an overachiever, one of the strongest kids on our team. I look for him to be our leader next year on both sides of the ball.” — Murphy
RODNEY BUTLER, LB, sr.: Butler is The Desert Sun Defensive Player of the Year.
LA QUINTA (4-7)
DARIUS GRIFFIN, LB, jr.: The 5-foot-10, 215-pound linebacker had 41 tackles, including five sacks, and one interception in seven regular season games.
“I think he’s a really outstanding linebacker. I think the kid’s got a future playing linebacker. He’s got a real nose for the ball.” — coach Dan Armstrong
AARON JACKSON, NG, sr.: The 5-foot-10, 245-pound nose guard was named the DVL lineman of the year. He recorded 32 tackles, including two sacks, as well as one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in the regular season.
“Obviously, he’s the strongest guy in the league. The thing that he did was everybody knew about him and he drew a double team every play … which allowed the other guys to make plays.” — Armstrong
PATRICK LUCAS, CB, jr.: The 5-foot-10, 170-pound cornerback had 39 tackles in the regular season.
“You can probably count on one hand the number of completions he gave up all year. He’s only a junior, too. He’s going to be a really integral part of things next year on both sides of the ball.” — Armstrong
BOBBY ORELLANO, DL, so.: The 5-foot-11, 235-pound defensive lineman had 37 tackles, including three sacks, as well as two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in the regular season.
“He’s just a hard-nosed kid, and I’m really excited about what the next two years have (in store) for him.” — Armstrong
TROY ROBERTS, OL, sr.: The 5-foot-10, 220-pound offensive lineman played a valuable role up front, filling in at three different positions during the season.
“He was unselfish. He went from tight end to tackle to guard for us this year when we had injuries and suspensions.” — Armstrong
LOGAN ROBINSON, WR/FS, sr.: The 6-foot-2, 205-pound wide receiver and safety had never played football before this season; soccer had been his focus. He made 44 tackles, including two sacks, during the regular season and caught 27 passes for 433 yards and two TDs.
“It’s unbelievable for a guy that has never played football before … to all of a sudden come in and be a key two-way starter. Defensively, he played free safety, outside linebacker and he even played defensive end (one game).” — Armstrong
ISAIAH VERAZAS, RB/LB, sr.: The 5-foot-11, 200-pound running back was selected as the DVL offensive player of the year. He rushed for 1,422 yards on 177 carries and 17 TDs. Playing defense in six games during the regular season, he also had 49 tackles, including two sacks, as well as two fumble recoveries and one interception.
“Isaiah was really key to the success we had this year because of stepping in and filling in so well for Kenyon (Williams) and also playing every down at linebacker. He was also our leading tackler on defense.” — Armstrong
KYEVION ROSS, RB, sr.: The 5-foot-8, 160-pound running back rushed for 669 yards on 160 carries and scored three TDs, always running hard no matter what the score was.
“He showed a lot of character. In a lot of the games that we played, we got behind, and he still played 110 percent.” — coach George Thomas
PALM DESERT (3-8)
Final record: 3-8
BRADEN BATEMAN, DB, sr.: The 5-foot-10, 170-pound defensive back had six interceptions.
“He got a lot of turnovers for us at defensive back and surprisingly played the run better for his size, and then he made some nice plays for us on special teams.” — coach Pat Blackburn
JOE CASTELLI, QB, sr.: The 5-foot-10, 180-pound quarterback completed 112 of 199 passes for 1,485 yards, 19 TDs and 10 interceptions.
“He had two solid years for us as a quarterback, and he had a lot of good games for us.” — Blackburn
KYLE KABEARY, WR/DB/K, jr.: The 5-foot-10, 165-pound wide receiver broke through with 45 catches for 611 yards and nine TDs. He also was valuable as a kicker, punter and safety.
“He blossomed throughout the year and became the best receiver in the valley and got better and better as a safety. The best thing about him is that he’s coming back.” — Blackburn
ERIK MARTIN, C, sr.: The 6-foot, 240-pound center was the leader of the Aztecs’ offensive line.
“Our center has a lot of responsibility. He’s got to make our run and pass protection calls and then snap the ball and block people. He did a great job at that for us.” — Blackburn
TRAE RIEK, RB, jr.: The 5-foot-10, 180 pound running back rushed for 1,073 yards on 113 carries and 10 TDs.
“I think he really developed as a big-play running back. … I don’t think anyone caught him from behind all year.” — Blackburn
COACHELLA VALLEY (3-7)
IZAK OCON, RB, jr.: The 5-foot-7, 145-pound running back excelled at the end of the season, rushing for 146 yards and one TD and catching three passes for 138 yards and two TDs in a comeback victory over Cathedral City and catching six passes for 148 yards and one TD in a victory over Indio.
“The last three games he just played strictly offense, and he really shined. We were impressed with him.” — coach Scott Fisher
NESTOR ROSALES, LB/FB, jr.: Honored as the Arabs’ MVP, the 5-foot-6, 195-pound linebacker not only led the team with 71 tackles, but also played a key role as a blocker at fullback.
“He did a great job for us on both sides of the ball, more on defense than offense, and he’s a big part of our program.” — Fisher
CATHEDRAL CITY (5-5)
AARON LOMBOY, LB, jr.: As the leader of the Lions’ defense, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound linebacker recorded 107 tackles, including four sacks, and had two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
“He’s a real heady player. He was our signal caller. He’s an explosive guy and attacks the football.” — coach Richard Lee
JAMES RODRIGUEZ, WR/DB, jr.: Scoring every way possible, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound junior scored 12 total TDs (four receiving, three kickoff returns, two INT returns, one fumble return, one rushing and one punt return). He caught 22 passes for 419 yards.
“He was obviously our biggest playmaker. He’s a very, very explosive athlete.” — Lee
ACE LEWIS, TE, sr.: Catching 39 passes for 663 yards, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound tight end broke a school record with 13 TD receptions.
“Any time we needed a big reception, whether it was third down or in the red zone, he was a guy that we went to.” — coach L.D. Matthews