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10 SCV football players named to All-CIF lists

West Ranch senior Zach Van Bennekum picks off Austin Garcia in a Foothill League matchup with Golden Valley at Harry Welch Stadium during the 2019-20 season. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The CIF-Southern Section released its All-CIF football lists on Monday afternoon with 10 Santa Clarita Valley football players making the list.

West Ranch had the most players represented on the list with five in Division 7: Bryce Buchanan, Brandon Wyre, Walker Eget, Zach Van Bennekum and John Collier.

“I think that’s definitely reflective of our season,” Van Bennekum said. “We had the best season in West Ranch history and definitely where the program is going in the future. Awesome team this year, best chemistry I’ve ever had on a team and All-CIF is reflective of this.”

The Wildcats were the last Foothill League team standing in the playoffs, reaching the CIF-SS Division 7 semifinals. The Cats lost to Temecula Valley 31-28 in Temecula on Nov. 22.

Van Bennekum, who was also named the All-Foothill League Defensive Player of the Year, played both ways this season for the Wildcats at both tight end and linebacker. 

In his senior year on offense, Van Bennekum had 60 receptions for 736 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for an additional 70 yards and one touchdown. On defense, he had 98 total tackles, 53 of the solo variety, in addition to three sacks. He also logged six interceptions, two fumble recoveries, a blocked punt and a blocked field goal.

“I played both sides this year, I think that aspect of my game definitely improved and just being a great teammate, being a great leader, that was a big part of this year,” Van Bennekum said.

Collier, a senior, was named to the list as an offensive/defensive lineman. Although Collier believes he’s undersized as a lineman, he still managed to execute 51 total tackles and six sacks. He also had two pass deflections and one fumble recovery.

“(All-CIF) means a lot because it makes a legacy for myself,” Collier said. “It just shows how hard work pays off because I’m smaller than most linemen and it showed that working hard can prove things, can prove yourself.”

Senior linebacker Buchanan was named to the Division 7 list after a season that included 166 total tackles with 38 tackles for a loss, four sacks and one caused fumble.

Wyre, a wide receiver and defensive back hauled in 59 catches for 1,041 yards and 10 touchdowns. On defense, he totaled 45 tackles and picked off six passes for 77 interception yards.

Eget, the only non-senior from West Ranch to make the Division 7 list, led the Wildcats as the starting quarterback this season. He completed 220-of-380 passes for 3,250 yards and 40 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.

Valencia had one representative on the Division 2 All-CIF list: linebacker Owen Hand. Hand, who also claimed the title of All-Foothill League Lineman of the Year this season, led a Vikings’ defense that gave up just 40 yards in Foothill League play.

Hart had two players make the Division 4 list. Quarterback Zach Johnson was 221-for-371 passing for 2,788 yards and 27 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. He also rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns.

One of Johnson’s favorite targets, Ashton Thomas received a nod on the Division 4 list for his play at wide receiver and defensive back. Thomas caught 84 passes for 1,119 yards and 13 touchdowns. Defensively, he notched 33 tackles, six pass deflections, three interceptions, three caused fumbles and a fumble recovery.

In Division 7, Canyon senior defensive lineman Evan Cox was named All-CIF. In 11 games, Cox logged 105 total tackles with six tackles for a loss. He was tough for linemen to hold off as he picked up 19 sacks this season.

Trinity Classical Academy quarterback Rick Roberts made the Division 14 list following a senior year that featured 215-of-309 passing for 2,854 yards, 39 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

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