Player of the Year Finalists
Matt Ackman, Vintage senior
He made the All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Team as an outside linebacker, where he returned a fumble for a score and had six sacks, eight tackles for losses, four forced fumbles — recovering two of them on strip sacks—and one interception. He was also First Team All-VVAL at tight end, where he had a team-high six receptions for 113 yards and four touchdowns. He scored another four touchdowns by taking direct snaps on offense and using his powerful 6-foot-2, 230-pound frame to run over defenders, carrying the ball 11 times for 128 yards.
“Matt Ackman was the best player on the best team in the VVAL statistically,” head coach Dylan Leach said. “He was a dominant run blocker and pass catcher at tight end, a punishing running back, and an imposing player on the defensive side. In my opinion, MVPs and Players of the Year should be players who never come off of the field, and Matt Ackman was the best player for the Crushers in all three phases of the game.”
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James Aken, American Canyon senior
All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Team lineman and team captain led the Wolves with eight sacks and was their second-leading tackler, and ran the ball behind his fellow linemen for a few fourth-down conversions and a two-point conversion. For his excellence as an all-around football talent, student and community volunteer, he was later named the 2022 Napa County Lineman winner of a $1,000 Northern California Chapter of the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame scholarship.
Edgar Caldera, Calistoga junior
The All-North Central League II First Team selection did everything but play defense for the Wildcats in eight-man football. As a quarterback, he ran for over 1,500 yards with 20 touchdowns and threw for over 750 yards and 15 scores with just two interceptions. He also played wide receiver, catching 15 balls for over 250 yards and two touchdowns. After handing the ball off, he made 15 pancake blocks.
“Edgar was the heart and soul of the team and we could literally put him in any position and he would shine,” said head coach Shane Kohler, who stepped down after the season. “Being that we are a small school, we never get any exposure. But if anyone had a brain, they would be able to see that this young man would be able to produce results at the next level. If a program could put him in just one position and give him the time and attention he deserves, they would have a certified superstar. He’s literally got just enough size, speed, strength, ability, heart, determination, brains to mold into any of the 24 positions football has. We mostly needed him on the offensive side. But he is one of those rare people with a nose for the football, and he may be a more talented defensive player.”
Kapono Liu, American Canyon senior
He made the All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Team after giving the Wolves another 1,000-yard rusher, churning out 1,184 yards on 184 carries (6.4 per carry), including 13 touchdowns. He also tied for second on the team in tackles with 31 from his linebacker spot. He was determined to finish the season strong after being limited to seven games as a junior due to a foot injury.
Yovanni Palma, Napa junior
He made the All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Team as a linebacker despite leading the offense with his scrambling and passing ability. He completed 56 of 117 passes for 716 yards and five touchdowns with four interceptions while carrying the ball 56 times for 117 yards. Two games after freshman quarterback Diego Sanchez guided the Grizzlies past Irvington 15-14 in their season opener, Palma took over and engineered a 27-14 win over Novato with 166 yards on 16 carries, including two touchdowns, and 65 yards passing. After struggling in losses to American Canyon and Justin-Siena, he had his best offensive game of the season in a 68-27 loss at Casa Grande, throwing for 236 yards and three touchdowns on 17-of-33 passing with one pick, and rushing for a team-high 54 yards.
Offensive Player of the Year
Elias Alvarez, Vintage senior
The Crushers’ quarterback for most of the season, but unfortunately not in the playoffs due to injury, he was named Vine Valley Athletic League’s Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 828 yards and eight touchdowns and throwing for 316 yards and five scores with four interceptions for the VVAL champions. He scored two or more touchdowns in each league game except one, and made “70% of decisions on Friday nights in our multiple option attack offense,” head coach Dylan Leach said.
Clayton Crean, St. Helena senior
The speedster led the Saints with 964 yards on 133 carries, including 13 scores, and also played linebacker on defense.
Charlie Knight, St. Helena senior
The All-North Central League I First Team selection thriller with his catches in traffic or over the top at wide receiver. He also played defensive back, before going on to lead the basketball team to 16 wins and a playoff berth.
Josiyah Maddalone, Justin-Siena senior
He had a team-high 30 catches for 401 yards and two touchdowns.
“Jojo is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands,” head coach Tyler Streblow said. “Even being the main focus of our defensive opponents, he was able to put up impressive stats and he scored a receiving, rushing and passing touchdown.”
Jeffery Page, Vintage junior
He made the All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Team after leading the VVAL champions with 1,166 yards on 176 carries, an average of 6.6 yards per carry. He scored 14 touchdowns and ran in eight two-point conversions.
Defensive Player of the Year
Brandon Guiducci, Justin-Siena senior
The All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Team middle linebacker was the stalwart of a defense that shut out six of the Braves’ 13 opponents, including a 7-0 win over Middletown and a 15-0 victory over Salesian in the playoffs that got them to their second straight North Coast Section Division 6 championship game.
“Brandon’s presence physically shut down most opposing running games,” head coach Tyler Streblow said. “On offense, he led the way for our rushing attack by playing not only tight end and fullback but left tackle when we were shorthanded due to injuries.” Guiducci went on to use his toughness, durability and intelligence as a wrestler to win a section title and qualify for the state meet.
Jorge Ortiz, Calistoga senior
He had zero missed tackles all season while playing on every defensive and special teams play, tallying 90 total tackles, 10 sacks, two interceptions, five pass deflections, 25 quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and one defensive touchdown.
Nic Mitchell, American Canyon senior
He led the Wolves’ defense with 42 tackles and added three sacks. He had a team-high eight tackles, tying fellow senior John Quilon, in a season-opening 20-12 win at Rodriguez, and had seven tackles and two sacks in a 57-7 home win over Sonoma Valley.
Emrys Davies, Justin-Siena senior
The middle linebacker made the All-Vine Valley Athletic League Second Team. “Emrys’ ability to create havoc on opposing offenses through the blitz was impressive,” head coach Tyler Streblow said. “He was the true Swiss Army knife of the defense, as he could stop a dive on fourth and short or run vertical with a wide receiver.”
Jacob Fiene, Vintage senior
The All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Teamer was the Crushers’ second-leading tackler with 43 — 18 solos and 25 assists — and led team with two interceptions and numerous passes broken up—all from his safety position. “He was the general of the Crusher defense, responsible for all checks and adjustments,” head coach Dylan Leach said.
Trevor L’Esperance, Justin-Siena senior
An All-Vine Valley Athletic League Second Team free safety also had 15 catches for 242 yards and one touchdown on offense. “Trevor’s is a do-everything type of player,” head coach Tyler Streblow said. “He was a key gunner on kickoffs, making many big tackles. He also was a shifty punt and kickoff return man and really did a great job flipping the field for our offense.”
Lineman of the Year
Brayan Ceron, Calistoga senior
“Brayan dominated the line on both sides of the ball,” said head coach Shane Kohler, who stepped down after the season. “He pushed people five yards and into the second level on offense, and ate up two or three o-linemen on defense.”
Jadon Meyer, St. Helena senior
The offensive lineman and linebacker helped pave the way for the Saints, who scored an average of 18 points a game overall.
Giancarlo Capponi, Justin-Siena senior
The two-way tackle made the All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Team on defense.
“Giancarlo was the anchor of a defensive line that, while giving up a ton of size all year, was incredibly impressive in stopping the run game,” head coach Tyler Streblow said. “On offense, he was the main guy we would run behind when we needed to to close out a game.”
Alexis Castillo, Vintage senior
The 6-foot-2, 300-pound lineman was one reason the Crushers ran the ball six times more than they passed it, opening big holes on offense, and showed his mobility with 17 tackles on defense.
David Garcia, American Canyon senior
The two-way lineman finished second on the team with four sacks and added 14 tackles despite missing three games due to injury.
Ryan Landaverde, American Canyon senior
The offensive lineman-linebacker also missed three games but paved the way for an offense that averaged 386 yards a night. He also tied for fifth on the team in tackles with 23.
Special Teams Player of the Year
Henry Drozdowicz, Vintage freshman
Though he was one of the three smallest players on the team, the 130-pound ninth-grader was a huge part of the Crushers’ Vine Valley Athletic League championship run. He converted 27 of 28 extra-point attempts, made his only field-goal try, and showed the ability to pin opponents deep on kickoffs, and for that was named the VVAL’s Kicker of the Year.
Christian Ramirez, Calistoga senior
“Christian was a guaranteed touchback and PAT and punt inside the 20,” said head coach Shane Kohler, who stepped down after the season. “If he didn’t play soccer at the same time, you could imagine being able to hone his football skills by double.”
Sam Raunegger, St. Helena junior
The running back-linebacker-defensive back scored on an interception return, a fumble return and a kickoff return. He also stepped up on offense after junior quarterback Wynton Meyer sustained a season-ending injury early in a 49-0 rout of visiting Lower Lake, rushing for a career-high 130 yards and adding an offensive touchdown to his scoring resume. He also took his kickoff to the house against Lower Lake, from 60 yards away. The following week, he rushed for 123 yards in a 44-36 home loss to Cloverdale.
Parker Schuemann, Justin-Siena junior
He did most of the placekicking for the Braves, who were 18 for 23 on extra points.
Tom Woods, St. Helena junior
The kicker and punter finished as the Saints’ third-leading scorer with 25 points after kicking 25 of 27 extra-point attempts through the uprights.
Sean Yumang, American Canyon senior
He received All-Vine Valley Athletic League Honorable Mention after tying Abdul Kates Jr. for most receptions on the team, making 27 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns despite being sidelined for two games.
Newcomer of the Year
Santos Argueta, Calistoga senior
“Santos joined basically halfway through the season, having never played football in his entire life, and was an instant highlight,” said head coach Shane Kohler, who stepped down after the season. “By the end of the season, he was our No. 1 receiver out of tight end and was an endless motor on special teams and defense. If you were facing a team full of his clones, you would be living in a nightmare.”
Ojani Castillo, American Canyon junior
The All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Team running back-safety rushed for 664 yards on 91 carries for the league co-champions, including 10 touchdowns, and aamassed 47 tackles and snagged three interceptions on defense.
Kaden James, American Canyon freshman
The ninth-grader started every varsity game at left tackle and gave up just one sack all season. He graded out as the Wolves’ third-best offensive lineman and received All-Vine Valley Athletic League Honorable Mention.
Abdul Kates Jr., American Canyon sophomore
He led the Wolves with 27 catches, 393 yards receiving and three touchdown receptions. His most memorable catch was against Windsor in a 35-34 North Coast Section Division 3 semifinal playoff loss on the road. He appeared to lunge over the goal line after catching a 36-yard Kaleb Anderson pass at the Jaguars’ 2-yard line but was ruled to have been tackled at the 1, keeping Windsor up 27-22 at halftime.
Dallas Logwood, Justin-Siena sophomore
The outside linebacker made the All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Team and also had 49 carries for 218 yards. “Dallas had a huge impact on our team as a first-year varsity player,” head coach Tyler Streblow said. “His ability to set the edge on defense and be a playmaker out of the backfield on offense was incredibly impressive for a sophomore.”
Lorenzo Webb, Vintage freshman
The 6-foot-1, 230-pound lineman, just a ninth-grader, made the All-Vine Valley Athletic League Second Team on both sides of the ball. He was “absolutely dominant, starting multiple games at multiple positions,” head coach Dylan Leach said. “He wore two different jerseys in every game and started at center, tight end and fullback. He also started the whole season on the defensive line, playing both interior and edge.”
Today in sports history: June 25