Bishop Diego’s Abel Gonzalez proved a player’s impact on a team isn’t measured by just statistics.
A nagging injury kept the senior running back from getting the number of reps and putting up the kind of numbers he did during his junior year. But when the Cardinals needed a big play on offense, they usually turned to Gonzalez. And he delivered.
His consistency to pick up the tough yards not only kept drives going, it provided a huge emotional boost to the team. His impact was a big reason the Cardinals went 10-2 and won a game in their first year competing in the CIF Division 3 playoffs.
Presidio Sports is pleased to honor Gonzalez as the Offensive Player of the Year on the All-City Football team.
The Bishop Diego linebacker tandem of Isaac Salcedo and Matt Shotwell, share Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Gonzalez rushed for 830 yards on 131 carries and scored 11 touchdowns. Those numbers were down from his junior season when he gained 1,266 yards and scored 17 TDs. Coach Tom Crawford noted other important contributions Gonzalez made that can’t be found on a stat sheet.
“Most impressive about Abel are the intangibles that he adds to his athletic ability,” Crawford said. “His leadership ability, his mental and physical toughness, his football IQ and his desire really make him a very special student-athlete.”
In his three-year varsity career, Gonzalez rushed for 2,926 yards and 38 touchdowns. In those three years, the Cardinals went 32-6 and played in two CIF semifinals.
Salcedo, like Gonzalez, is a three-year varsity player. The defensive captain was a force at inside linebacker for the Cardinals, averaging nine tackles a game.
“Chucky (his nickname) simply loves playing the game and his work ethic was incredible this season,” coach Crawford said of the 5-11, 190-pound senior. “Whether encouraging and leading a scout group or taking control of the D, he did a great job.
Crawford added: “His teammates chose him as a captain and when I ask for their confidential votes, I require they state a reason for their selections and Isaac consistently received comments about his encouraging support of teammates, his work ethic, and his ability to make guys around him just better.”
Shotwell was the leading tackler, averaging more than 10 per game.
“Matt is that guy on the team with an engine that never stops,” Crawford said. “His positive energy simply made everyone around him better, and he competes at such a high level at all times.”
Shotwell acknowledged Salcedo after the pair dominated in the crosstown game against Carpinteria.
“We like to call ourselves partners in crime,” Shotwell said. “We read our keys really well, we have a good awareness and a nose for the ball.”
The players on the All-City Football team are chosen by the Presidio Sports staff. The entire team will be presented at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon at Harry’s Cafe on Monday, January 5.
PRESIDIO SPORTS’ ALL-CITY FOOTBALL TEAM
Stephen McCaffery, Sr. Laguna Blanca: The 6-2, 180-pound McCaffery made things happen with his arm and legs. He could run over and around defenders and possessed a great touch passing the ball. He threw for 1838 yards and 25 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions. He rushed for 1,308 yards and 22 TDs. In addition to his athleticism, the four-year starter provided great leadership for the Owls.
Ivan Reyes, Jr. San Marcos: Reyes was the area’s leading rusher with 884 yards on 171 carries and 11 touchdowns. He had six games where he rushed for more than 100 yards, and he was named the MVP of the two rivalry games against Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara.
Angel Davison, Sr. Dos Pueblos: Coach Nate Mendoza called Davison “the heart and soul of our team.” Once he got the ball, he was tough to bring down. He amassed 906 yards in total offense, 701 rushing on 133 carries and 205 yards on 22 pass receptions. He was also an outstanding corner back.
Danny Molina, Sr. Bishop Diego: Molina had a breakout year running the ball, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He rushed for 728 yards and two touchdowns and also caught two scoring passes. “Danny evolved into a true slasher-type runner who got to the second level of linebackers very quickly,” said coach Tom Crawford.
Danny Vallin, Sr. Santa Barbara: The 5-7, 150-pound Vallin was a big playmaker for Dons. He could turn a short pass into a long touchdown play as he did in a win over Dos Pueblos. Vallin caught 50 passes for 581 yards and four touchdowns.
Josh Flora, Jr. Dos Pueblos: The sure-handed Flora made several spectacular catches for the Chargers. He finished with 37 receptions for 402 yards and six touchdowns. He also provided good blocking down field for running backs breaking into the clear.
AV Bennett, Jr. Bishop Diego: A dynamic player who put fear in defenses and special teams. He gained 833 all-purpose yards and scored nine touchdowns, including three on kickoff returns and an interception return. As a receiver, he averaged 20 yards per catch and scored three touchdowns. “AV was such a big-play guy for us all season long that every time he touched the ball there was potential for fireworks,” said Crawford.
Sam Grimm, Sr. Bishop Diego: A team captain, Grimm was a dominant player at center for the Cardinals. “Sam had an incredible season coming back from shoulder surgery, which ended his junior year,” Crawford said. “His hard work paid off and he truly became the team’s workhorse on both lines.”
Miguel Castellanos, Sr. Bishop Diego: The tackle helped pave the way for the Cardinals’ potent running game. “Miguel is one of those unsung hero types who just does what he’s asked and does it well. His conditioning and speed was among the best I’ve ever seen here for a lineman,” said Crawford.
Nate Willows, Sr. San Marcos: A three-year varsity starter, Willows played at three different O-line positions and played well at all three. He was a big reason the Royals’ running game was so successful.
Colin Welsh, Sr. San Marcos: A two-year starter, the left tackle was sound as run and pass blocker, said coach Anthony Linebaugh. Welsh is also one of the top students at San Marcos, holding a 4.87 GPA.
Gabriel Zapien-Ybarra, Sr. Carpinteria: A solid, consistent player for the Warriors. “Gabe started for 22 straight games at center and did an outstanding job of anchoring the offensive line and setting the blocking scheme,” said coach Ben Hallock. “He tied for the lead on the O-line with 65 blocks on runs that resulted in gains of 10 or more yards.”
Jose “Pancho” Sanchez, Jr. Carpinteria: Sanchez gave the Warriors size (6-0, 270) and strength on the defensive line. “Poncho is a very consistent, tough and hard worker in the weight room,” Carpinteria coach Ben Hallock said. “In recognition of his leadership, he was honored by his teammates to serve as a Junior Leader on our Captains and Leader Council.”
John Harris, Fr. Bishop Diego: Harris made an immediate impact as a 6-1, 190-pound freshman. He averaged five tackles per game and had five sacks and two fumble recovers, one he returned for a 44-yard score. “John’s performance was among the finest I’ve ever seen by a freshman, which is a tribute to not just his physical talent but his intellect and poise as well,” said Crawford.
Austen Pearce, Jr. Dos Pueblos: The 6-2, 215-pound Pearce was a force for the Chargers, recording seven sacks and eight tackles for loss. “He is very athletic,” coach Nate Mendoza said of Pearce, who also caught 12 passes as a tight end.
Sam Charest, Sr. San Marcos: Charest led the Channel League in sacks with 5.5, recorded 10 quarterback hurries and had additional seven tackles for loss.
Nathan Coffey, Sr. San Marcos: Coffey recorded a team-best 33 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and 45 assists. He also did a good job punting and kicking for the Royals. He averaged 33.6 yards per punt, made 20 of 20 PATs and 5 of 8 field goals.
Miguel Sandoval, Sr. Santa Barbara: Sandoval was the leading tackler for the Dons with 58, including 8.2 tackles for loss. He also had 24 assists.
Jeffy Uyesaka, Sr. Dos Pueblos: Also a top-notch wrestler, Uyesaka was the Chargers’ leading tackler and was all over the field in every game. “He’s not the biggest linebacker but he would deliver bone-crushing hits in every game,” said coach Mendoza.
Greg Elizarraraz, Sr. Carpinteria: Elizarraraz played with a high work rate and had a nose for the ball. “Greg is the strongest player on our team – a testimony to his great work ethic and consistency,” coach Ben Hallock said. “He had an outstanding senior season and was selected by his teammates as 2014 Warrior Football MVP. Elizarraraz had 90 tackles which included 42 solo tackles; 3 tackles for loss; 5 on special teams and 40 assists.
Russell Enholm, Sr. Santa Barbara: Enholm possessed great instincts and was a sure tackler. He led the team with four interceptions and 15 pass breakups. He was in on 42 tackles, including 42 solo, and he blocked a punt.
Alexis Herrera, Sr. Bishop Diego: Herrera had three interceptions and 44 tackles. He also played at outside linebacker.
Tim Jimenez, Jr. Carpinteria: Jimenez played with great instincts and made plays all over the field. “Timmy missed almost half the season with an Achilles injury, but had a season’s worth of great plays in the last five games of the season,” said coach Hallock.
Dean Smith, Jr. Cate: Smith played everywhere for the Rams. “In a year where there was so much chaos, Dean always seemed to be a constant presence for us,” said coach Ben Soto.