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Football

The Standard’s 2022 All-City High School Football Team

Written by Ethan KasselPublished Jan. 01, 2023 • 9:00am
Lincoln running back Jamelle Newman (4) carries the ball during the second quarter of the Mustangs' 44-7 win over Balboa in the 98th Turkey Day Game, the Academic Athletic Association football championship, at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on Nov. 24, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

English

Though just 10 San Francisco high schools field 11-man varsity football teams, the 2022 season was full of memories and images that showed why high school football is so heavily romanticized in American culture. From the much-awaited debut of permanent lights at St. Ignatius to a Nepali immigrant leading his school to its best season in a decade, the combination of setting and local politics make San Francisco football a truly unique experience, one that puts a one-of-a-kind spin on a tradition that exists in some form or another all around the country.

In conjunction with the calendar turning to 2023, The Standard is proud to unveil its 2022 All-City High School Football Team. Players were selected based on their on-field performance, as well as through recommendations from both their own coaches and opposing coaches.

First Team

Offense

QB James Mertz (Sr.), Washington

Washington quarterback James Mertz (7) scrambles during the first quarter of the Eagles’ 22-0 win over Balboa in San Francisco on Oct. 21, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Despite multiple knee injuries, Mertz led the Eagles to an eight-win season, their best mark since 2011. His touch on deep balls made Washington’s offense as explosive as it’s been in decades, and his leadership was instrumental in making his senior class the standard-bearer for Washington football for years to come.

RB Dhiraj Gurung (Sr.), Washington

Washington running back Dhiraj Gurung (1) carries the ball during the second quarter of the Eagles’ 22-0 win over Balboa in San Francisco on Oct. 21, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Gurung lived in Nepal until he was 12 and never played football until high school, but has blistering speed that makes him a lethal threat as both a rusher and a receiver out of the backfield. He also lined up at safety, and intercepted three passes in a rivalry win over Lowell to accompany his three-touchdown performance.

RB Kendric Sanders (Sr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral running back Kendric Sanders (5) carries the ball during the fourth quarter of the Fightin’ Irish’s 30-17 win over Bellarmine in San Francisco on Oct. 21, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Sanders ran for 793 yards in 11 games and had four 100-yard performances, including a 110-yard showing in the Bruce-Mahoney Game against St. Ignatius.

WR Moe Barnum (Jr.), St. Ignatius

Barnum developed as a deep threat for the Wildcats throughout his junior year. He burst onto the scene with a 105-yard performance in a Sept. 30 loss to St. Francis.

WR RL Miller (Sr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

The Standard’s Player of the Year, Miller could have just as easily slotted in as a first-team linebacker, but is officially being recognized as a receiver, in part because assembling an All-City team requires sliding puzzle pieces around and in part because he caught eight touchdowns despite being matched up with top opponents every week.

TE Teddy McCarty (Sr.), Lowell

Lowell tight end Teddy McCarty (22) slips away from a tackler en route to a first-quarter touchdown during the Cardinals’ 52-34 loss to Washington in San Francisco on Oct. 14, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Though he never played football before his senior year, McCarty was a dominant force both at tight end and defensive end for the Cardinals. He recorded three sacks in a Senior Day victory over Galileo.

OL Santino Franco (Sr.), St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius defensive linemen Colin Mulkerrins (66) and Santino Franco (67) celebrate a turnover during the fourth quarter of the Wildcats’ 28-14 win over Aptos in a Central Coast Section Division II Football Semifinal in San Francisco on Nov. 19, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

A three-year starter and two-year captain, Franco was also worthy of being a first-team defensive lineman, but like RL Miller, he’s being recognized on offense to help balance out the numbers on both sides of the ball. Franco was one of the more rambunctious and enthusiastic players on an otherwise quiet team.

OL Benny Hatch (Jr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

It’s rare that an offensive lineman can turn heads with one play. Typically, the big men in the trenches are recognized for a year’s worth of work that goes unnoticed during games and is finally appreciated after coaches and scouts pore over film. Hatch, however, vaulted into the spotlight when he blocked a man for 30 yards during Kendric Sanders’ 67-yard touchdown run at Valley Christian.

OL James Lucey (Sr.), St. Ignatius

At just 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Lucey is often matched up with larger opponents, but his exceptional technique and consistency have earned him a spot on the roster at Division III Bowdoin College in Maine, a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) — essentially the D-III Ivy League.

OL Deion Solis (Sr.), Lincoln

Lincoln lineman Deion Solis (70) congratulates running back Jamelle Newman (4) after his third-quarter touchdown during the Mustangs’ 49-0 win over Washington in San Francisco on Oct. 28, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Solis anchored an offensive line that was so dominant in the Division 7-A State Championship Game that Lincoln ran for 435 yards, an average of 12.8 per carry, and scored 54 points without attempting a single pass.

OL Losipini Tupou (So.), Riordan

Though Riordan struggled to a 1-6 mark in West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) play, Tupou’s contributions were recognized around the league. He was just one of three sophomores to make First-Team All-WCAL.

Defense

DL Melvin Horne (Sr.), Lincoln

Horne was one of the top defensive linemen in the Academic Athletic Association (AAA), with 12 of his 46 tackles going for a loss. The Mustangs allowed just 193 points on the season and yielded just 70 across their final nine games en route to their third state championship.

DL Nifae Tinofili Shul-Cassidy (Jr.), Balboa

Balboa defensive tackle Nifae Tinofili Shul-Cassidy (71) celebrates his sack with linebacker Marcus Sagote (55) during the second quarter of the Buccaneers’ 17-14 win over Washington in an Academic Athletic Association football semifinal in San Francisco on Nov. 17, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

In his second year as a starter, Tinofili Shul-Cassidy recorded nine tackles for loss, including six sacks, across six league games and two playoff games.

DL Zaheer Young (Jr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

St. Francis right tackle Sione Netane (57) blocks Sacred Heart Cathedral defensive tackle Zaheer Young (54) during the first quarter of the Lancers’ 17-14 win over the Fightin’ Irish in the Central Coast Section Division I Quarterfinals in Mountain View on Nov. 11, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Young had big shoes to fill after SHC graduated Silas Bahlibi, and he filled them admirably. He played a key role in the Irish’s Bruce-Mahoney Game shutout, and the junior recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown against Burlingame.

DE Sam Dunn (Sr.), Washington

The nephew of legendary linebacker Bill Romanowski, Dunn’s finest game was on Oct. 22, when the Eagles shut out Balboa. He registered two sacks, a third tackle for loss and forced a fumble in the 22-0 victory.

EDGE Isiah Chala (Jr.), Riordan

Riordan defensive end Isiah Chala (52) celebrates with a teammate during the closing minutes of the fourth quarter of a high school football game against Granada on Sept. 27, 2022, in San Francisco. | D. Ross Cameron for The Standard

Chala committed to Fresno State last month. When the Crusaders held Bellarmine to three points, he had eight tackles (six solo), including two for a loss. He also made one appearance at tight end against Mitty and promptly caught a 59-yard touchdown.

LB Diego Cristerna (Jr.), Lincoln

Lincoln linebacker Diego Cristerna celebrates a tackle during the first quarter of the Mustangs’ 44-7 victory over Balboa in the 98th Turkey Day Game, the Academic Athletic Association football championship, at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on Nov. 24, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Both an emotional leader and a key cog in the Mustang defense at middle linebacker, Cristerna had 63 tackles, including 10 in an AAA Semifinal victory over Lowell. He also cleared the way for his teammates, both on offense and defense. Cristerna was constantly double-teamed, opening up tackling opportunities for the likes of Vincent Huang, and at fullback, he ran for six touchdowns and created holes for Jamelle Newman and Ricky Underwood.

LB Jerry Mixon Jr. (Sr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Jerry Mixon Jr. (6) celebrates a kick return touchdown during the second quarter of a 32-21 loss to Mitty at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on 23, 2022. | Courtesy Mona Fowler

Few athletes have the strength to be able to make a game-changing play like Mixon can. In a Stanfel Cup victory over Riordan, he forced a turnover that helped put the game out of reach by stripping a Crusader ball carrier. Plays like this come once in a lifetime for most athletes, but for Mixon, a superhuman Oregon commit, they happened almost every week. He also ran for five touchdowns and threw for two, including one on a trick play to beat Sacred Heart Prep

LB Jay Murphy (Sr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral linebacker Jay Murphy (34) smiles after the Bruce-Mahoney Game at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on Oct. 14, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Murphy’s move to middle linebacker took the SHC defense to a new level. In his first game at the position, the Irish shut St. Ignatius out for the first time since 1987. On a team full of proud players, his love for the game and for his school stood out.

CB Zachary Jones, Riordan

Riordan wide receiver Zachary Jones (3) outruns St. Ignatius defensive back Mike Ryan (13) during the second quarter of the Crusaders’ 35-14 loss to the Wildcats in San Francisco on Nov. 4, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

The 5-foot-9 Jones showcased his elite speed as a receiver, defensive back and kick returner. He’s being honored as a first-team defensive back for his six interceptions, two of which came against Sacred Heart Cathedral.

CB Jamelle Newman (Sr.), Lincoln

Newman recorded a pick-six in a Bell Game shutout of rival Washington. He could have also been named as a first-team running back; he ran for 1,161 yards and 15 touchdowns and spent much of 2022 as Lincoln’s primary rushing option after Ricky Underwood broke his collarbone.

CB Javius Redding (Sr.), Riordan

Riordan running back Javius Redding (7) outruns Mitty’s Steven Anaya (27) for a touchdown during the third quarter of the Crusaders’ 34-13 loss to the Monarchs in Los Altos Hills on Oct. 7, 2022. | Courtesy Daniel Haniger

Redding intercepted three passes for the Crusader defense. He plays as if he’s taller than his listed 6 feet thanks to his long arms, and he’s also a dynamic weapon on offense. He ran for 104 yards against Tamalpais and returned a kickoff 61 yards against St. Ignatius.

Special Teams

K Brian Coyle (Sr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

Coyle made all 27 of his extra points for the Fightin’ Irish and converted both of his field goal attempts on the year, including a 35-yarder against St. Francis.

P Cooper Lucey (Sr.), St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius kicker Cooper Lucey kicks the game-winning 18-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 24-21 win over Mitty in Los Altos Hills on Oct. 21, 2022. | Courtesy Daniel Haniger

Lucey, who raised over $1,200 to fight ALS in memory of his grandmother this season, set up SI’s first two scores in a Gil Haskell Trophy win over Riordan. His early punt pinned the Crusaders at the 2, and he later placed a kickoff in no-man’s land for teammate Gus Parker to recover.

KR Gus Parker (Sr.), St. Ignatius

S.I. Wildcats receivers Monroe Barnum (80) and Gus Parker (3) celebrate a touchdown against the Palo Alto Vikings in the first quarter at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco on Aug. 26, 2022. | Chris Victorio for The Standard

Parker could have been recognized as a wide receiver or defensive back, but he’s being lauded on special teams for his pair of punt return touchdowns, including one in a season-opening romp of Palo Alto.

Second Team

Offense

St. Ignatius running back Jarious Hogan (26) carries the ball during the Wildcats’ 24-15 victory over Half Moon Bay in the Central Coast Section Football Division II Quarterfinals in San Francisco on Nov. 11, 2022. | Courtesy Paul Ghiglieri

QB Soren Hummel (So.), St. Ignatius

RB Dontae Allen-Wilson (Jr.), Balboa

RB Jarious Hogan (So.), St. Ignatius

WR Taevon Mitchell (Sr.), Mitchell

WR Ayan Razzak (Sr.), Washington

TE Pierce St. Geme (Jr.), St. Ignatius

OL Navondre Ama (Jr.), Balboa

OL Ed Asiasi (Sr.), Lowell

OL John Mills (So.), St. Ignatius

OL Jordan Solofa-Fatu (Sr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

OL Gabriel Tato (So.), Lincoln

Defense

Lincoln running back Ricky Underwood (2) celebrates his touchdown run with wide receiver Xavier Solares (6) during the first half of the California Interscholastic Federation Division 7-A Football Championship against Crenshaw in San Francisco on Dec. 10, 2022. | D. Ross Cameron for The Standard

DL Colin Mulkerrins (Sr.), St. Ignatius

DL Mikatoa Scanlan (Jr.), Riordan

DL Michael Zapata (Sr.), Balboa

EDGE Luke Leupold (Sr.), St. Ignatius

LB Santiago Alvarez (Sr.), Balboa

LB Vincent Huang (Sr.), Lincoln

LB Sui Gallegos-Hunkin (So.), St. Ignatius

LB Tommy Mayfield-Commer (Jr.), Washington

DB Xavier Solares (Sr.), Lincoln

DB Ricky Underwood (Sr.), Lincoln

DB Zion Wells (Sr.), Riordan

Special Teams

Lincoln kicker Andre Petrilli (21) boots the extra point out of the hold of Michael Simmons (3) during the first half of the California Interscholastic Federation Division 7-A Football Championship against Crenshaw in San Francisco on Dec. 10, 2022. | D. Ross Cameron for The Standard

K Andre Petrill (Jr.), Lincoln

P Louis Sarat (Jr.), Balboa

KR Zaden Cato (Jr.), Mission

Honorable Mentions

Galileo quarterback Nate Chynoweth (15) celebrates his touchdown during the first quarter of the Lions’ 32-0 win over Burton in San Francisco on Nov. 11, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

DL Frank Alanis (Sr.), Washington

WR/CB/KR Robby Alvarez (Jr.), Burton

RB Gavin Barry-Smith (Sr.), Lowell

WR Mikey Calonico (Sr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

QB Nate Chynoweth (Jr.), Galileo

LB Hezekiah Davis (Sr.), Lincoln

OL/DL/P Selvin Gonzalez (Sr.), Lowell

LB Alex Hartigan (Sr.), St. Ignatius

OL Brody Hatch (Fr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

WR/DB Tyrone Jackson (Jr.), Riordan

RB Cameron Jones (Jr.), St. Ignatius

WR Isaiah Keishk (Sr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

OL Michael Langi (Fr.), Riordan

TE/DE Jaylen Lopez (Jr.), Lincoln

WR Felix Mamrikov (Sr.), Washington

DT Jordan McQueen (Sr.), Riordan

OL/DL Froylan Medina (Sr.), Balboa

QB Michael Mitchell Jr. (Fr.), Riordan

DB Atticus Moustakas (Jr.), St. Ignatius

QB Angelo Ornelas (So.), Lowell

WR Chase Recio (Jr.), Galileo

WR/DB Stevie Rivas (Sr.), Lowell

LB Jabari Ryan (Sr.), Sacred Heart Cathedral

WR/DB Nick Wong (Sr.), Balboa

LB Kevin Wright (So.), Lincoln

English

Ethan Kassel can be reached at [email protected]


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