Nov. 3 was a Black Friday for Santa Clarita Valley football: The three Foothill League teams were all first-round bounces from the CIF playoffs.
Dozens of seniors will start gearing up for collegiate football seasons while the rest prepare for the fall of 2024.
Valencia was well-represented in the all-league selections after its 7-0 season in the Foothill League.
Foothill League 2023 All-League Selections:
Player of the Year: Luke Cruz, senior, Valencia
Cruz led the Vikes all over the field, leading the way on offense with 26 catches for 542 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season. Cruz also added a score on the ground as well as on the other side of the ball. As a defensive back, the senior racked up 25 tackles, two sacks, 10 quarterback pressures, four interceptions with one pick-six.
Offensive Player of the Year: Shawn Irwin, senior, Hart
Irwin was a problem for opposing defenses all year. The receiver racked up 1,453 yards through the air and found the end zone 10 times. Irwin wore the same jersey number as his brother, Trenton Irwin, and was just short of passing the former Indian’s total receiving yards in 2014. Shawn fell just three yards shy of his brother’s junior season total, but nearly matched him in three fewer games.
Defensive Player of the Year: Reid Farrell, senior, Valencia
Farrell anchored the Valencia defense for the third straight year. The linebacker already earned CIF Defensive Player of the Year in his sophomore season but was finally honored with the same award in his league. Farrell led Valencia with 59 tackles in the regular season, while also adding 12 tackles for a loss, five quarterback hurries, two sacks, one interception and a blocked punt.
Lineman of the Year: Daniel Acosta, senior, Valencia
Acosta completed his fourth year of varsity as the center of a stacked Valencia offensive line. The senior paved the way for huge offensive numbers, clearing lanes for running back Brian Bonner and keeping quarterback Jackson Askins at ease in the pocket.
First team offense:
• Jeremiah Taylor, senior, Canyon.
• Paul Lotz, senior, Castaic.
• Gage Gibson, senior, Castaic.
• Nathan Bellith, junior, Hart.
• Tim Larkins, senior, Hart.
• Jackson Askins, senior, Valencia.
• Brian Bonner, sophomore, Valencia.
• Deandre Kermah, senior, Valencia.
• Cash Marxer, senior, Valencia.
• Joseph Monti, senior, Valencia.
• Luke DePerno, junior, West Ranch.
• Jack Samuelson, senior, West Ranch.
• Zach Wyre, senior, West Ranch.
Taylor was an impact player for Canyon in all three phases. The three-way standout led the offense with 29 receptions, 524 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions. Taylor also added over 10 yards a carry in the ground game and scored four more TDs on the ground. The Cowboy also added two picks and 43 tackles on defense.
Lotz and Gibson were key to Castaic’s breakout season. Lotz rushed for 718 yards with 201 receiving yards and seven offensive TDs in just eight games. Gibson reeled in 23 catches for 480 yards and posted seven touchdowns.
Larkins led the league with 2,802 passing yards and 27 total TDs. It was the first time the four-year varsity player led the league in any quarterback category.
Bonner was a booming surprise to the Foothill League. The sophomore became the lead running back during the season and finished his first varsity year with 770 yards of offense and seven touchdowns.
Askins finished the regular season with just under a 70% completion rate while carving up defenses with 1,781 passing yards, 254 rushing yards and 22 offensive touchdowns. The senior gunslinger most frequently looked for Cruz or Kermah, who finished the season with 19 receptions for 302 yards and four TDs.
DePerno ran over numerous teams this season, on his way to 20 touchdowns and 1,148 yards on the ground in his junior season. Wyre and Samuelson did most of the rest in the receiving game. Samuelson caught 39 passes for 596 yards and six scores in the regular season. Wyre was right behind his teammate with 34 receptions, 546 yards and five TDs, while also adding two interceptions on defense.
First team defense:
• Diego Olujich, senior, Canyon.
• Cyrus Gradoville, senior, Castaic.
• Lucas Milan, senior, Castaic.
• Alex Risdon, senior, Golden Valley.
• Chris Clauss, senior, Hart.
• Vincent Tiscareno, senior, Hart.
• Jordan Cardenas, senior, Valencia.
• Tony Testa, senior, Valencia.
• Jake Pikor, senior, Valencia.
• Sam Gieser, senior, Valencia.
• Aiden Lombardo, senior, West Ranch.
• Obi Ogbuagu, senior, West Ranch.
• Michael Miller, senior, West Ranch.
Olujich was a monster on Canyon’s defense. He finishes his senior year with a team-high 70 tackles as well as five sacks.
Gradoville finished the season with 57 tackles, 10 of which were for a loss, and four sacks. Milan was a takeaway machine in the secondary with four interceptions and three pass breakups.
Clauss and Tiscareno led Hart in tackles with 67 and 45, respectively. Clauss always found his way to the ball at the middle linebacker spot, while Tiscareno consistently made his way into opposing backfields and added five sacks.
Testa led Valencia with six sacks and 12 tackles for a loss this year. Cardenas had no fly-zone signs on his side of the field but still registered four picks and 12 pass deflections when quarterbacks did test him. Pikor added four sacks in his shortened season while Gieser added three picks in the secondary.
Lombardo led the Wildcats with 83 tackles and also added a pair of sacks. Ogbuagu also added three interceptions and 35 tackles, while Miller finished the season with six sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Second team offense:
• Andrew Ruiz, junior, Canyon.
• Eyezik Ruppert, senior, Canyon.
• Devon Black, senior, Castaic.
• Ethan Pyne, senior, Castaic.
• Isaiah Orozco, senior Golden Valley.
• Parker Maxwell, junior, Hart.
• Scott Morris, senior, Hart.
• Bennett Murphy, senior, Hart.
• Wyatt Hawk, senior, Saugus
• Rocco Inzalaco, senior, Valencia.
• Brady Bretthauer, sophomore, Valencia.
• Chad Langston, senior, West Ranch.
• Liam McDaniel, junior, West Ranch.
Second team defense:
• Dane Lawler, senior, Canyon.
• Evan Watts, junior, Canyon.
• Monty Coleman, junior, Castaic.
• Alexis Silva, junior, Castaic.
• Jackson Anderson, senior, Golden Valley.
• Zach Rogozik, junior, Hart.
Nathan Mata, junior, Hart.
• RJ Temple, senior, Saugus
• Gavin Corbet, senior, Valencia.
• Anthony Castillo, senior, Valencia.
• Richard Sowter, senior, West Ranch.
• Max Piccolino, sophomore, West Ranch.
Dillon Gomez, junior, West Ranch.
• Elijah Herreres, senior, Canyon.
• Manny Ortiz, senior, Castaic
• Julian Rios, senior, Golden Valley.
• James Freude, senior, Hart.
• Kayden Ky-Yeith, senior, Saugus.
• Judah Plett, senior, Valencia.
• Gabe Rojas, senior, West Ranch