Among the football players from South Monterey County earning All-League first team honors are: (from left) Naythen Hernandez of Greenfield, Champ Flores of Gonzales, Andy Valdez of Soledad and Jjey Martinez of King City. Flores was also named Santa Lucia Offensive Player of the Year, while Valdez earned the title of Cypress Defensive Player of the Year. (Contributed)

SALINAS VALLEY — After an excellent high school football season, it was now time to hand out some awards — and once again, South Monterey County earned recognition among the leagues.

Greenfield Bruins

Greenfield Bruins had a great season this year, finishing second in the Santa Lucia Division. They had some terrific moments, and some young players emerged as a star before our eyes.

Sophomore Naythen Hernandez, who finished the season as one of the Bruins’ top defensive players, had a pick-six against Marina to seal the game.

Bruin players making All-League first team are: Cristian Zavala – QB, Alonso Barcenas – RB, Tomas Vargas – WR, Nathaniel Olivas – OL, Jonathan Anaya – DE, Nathan Cox – LB, and Naythen Hernandez – DB.

All-League second team players are: Eric Andrew Hernandez – WR, Misael Silva – OL, Marco Silva – DL, Carlos Gonzales – LB, and Tomas Vargas – DB.

Gonzales Spartans

Gonzales Spartans were one of the most improved teams in the Pacific Coast Athletic League (PCAL) this year. One of the main reasons was running back Champ Flores, who had 1,476 yards rushing and 18 rushing touchdowns.

Flores followed in the footsteps of his brother and father as one of the best players in the league, and that earned him PCAL Santa Lucia Offensive Player of the Year.

Spartan players making All-League first team are: Champ Flores – RB, Adrian Perez – WR, Hugo Soto – OL, Jose Viorato – DL, and Ely Cisneros – LB.

All-League second team players are: Nico Montes – DL, Abel Villegas – LB, and Champ Flores – DB.

Soledad Aztecs

Soledad Aztecs’ record-setting season saw nine players earn PCAL Cypress Division first-team honors.

And, for the second straight year, the Aztecs produced defensive players of the year. This year junior Andy Valdez brought home the hardware as PCAL Cypress Defensive Player of the Year.

Aztec players making All-League first team are: Dominic Chavez – QB, Daniel Raso – WR, Anthony Trevino – C, Ivan Salcido – Utility, Andy Valdez – LB, Jacobo Ruelas – DE, Damian Matos – DT, and Jaiden Blanco – FS.

All-League second team players are: Francisco Ballesteros – RB, Victor Ruano – WR, Erick Parra – T, Manny Sanchez-Vega – DE, Adam Velarde – LB, and Dominic Chavez – SS.

King City Mustangs

When looking at this year’s King City Mustangs, the first thing that will come up is how great of a season quarterback Jjey Martinez had. One can make the case that he should have been the Cypress Player of the Year.

This past season Martinez finished third in the PCAL with 2,080 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. He also led his team in rushing with 541 yards and five rushing touchdowns.

Mustang players making All-League first team are: Jjey Martinez – QB, Noah Pacheco – OL, Adrian Garcia – WR/DB, Isaac Benavides – LB, and Raul Garcia – DL.

All-League second team players are: Adan Garcia-Loa – WR, Raul Garcia – TE, Branden Villasenor – DB, and Max Morales – DL.

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Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.


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