Chris Toribio still has a hard time considering himself one of the elite players in La Quinta High School football history.
After becoming one of only five players in CIF Southern Section history to rush for 3,010 yards and score 52 touchdowns in the same season, he said he was surprised.
After earning the top individual honor in the Desert Valley League, the senior tailback deflected credit to his offensive line.
Even Tuesday, when the CIF announced its annual All-CIF teams and named Toribio the Eastern Division Offensive Player of the Year, it took a few seconds for him to find the right words to describe his magical season for head coach Dan Armstrong and the Blackhawks.
“Just unbelievable,” he said. “Coach told me I’d be the main back this season, but I had no idea I had that capacity.”
Toribio was one of five La Quinta players named to the Eastern Division team, joining linemen Bobby Orellano and Robbie Polimeni, linebacker Omar Valenzuela and place kicker Lucas Norblom.
Palm Springs was also represented by five players: William Olvera, Ray Mullen, Marcos Sainz, Tayler Hawkins and Franklin Miller. Three of those players will return next year for the defending CIF champions.
Cathedral City’s Orlando Wallace also was selected. Palm Springs head coach Dan Murphy was named the division’s Coach of the Year.
“Great performances by the kids make the coaching look good,” Murphy said. “It was nice to see a bunch of our kids get recognized for their hard work. It’s a great honor.”
In the Northwest Division, Shadow Hills had four players recognized: seniors Isaiah Ortega-Dage and Orlando Ortega and junior Isaac Gutierrez and Tony Williams. Williams and Gutierrez will return next year.
The All-CIF team is typically the official ending to the postseason awards in local high school football. The season has been over for more than a month, yet Toribio is still having a hard time processing that he is the first La Quinta player since the 2001 season to win an All-CIF Player of the Year award.
“I had no idea about the school’s rushing records or any of that,” he said. “I just wanted to work hard and it all came together. We did a lot of great things this year.”