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All-CIF teams announced

Santa Clarita Christian boasts eight selections, while Foothill League has eight

Posted: January 21, 2009 9:42 p.m.
Updated: January 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Eight members of the Foothill League were honored as All-CIF-Southern Section Northern Division selections last week, while eight members of Santa Clarita Christian were named to the All-CIF-SS Eight-Man Football team from Division I.

Headlining the honors were Saugus quarterback Desi Rodriguez, who was named the Offensive Player of the Year in the Northern Division; SCCS running back Collin Keoshian, who was the Player of the Year from Eight-Man Division I; and Cardinals head coach Garrick Moss, as the Coach of the Year.

Keoshian's astronomical numbers (3,004 all-purpose yards and 39 total touchdowns) made him a easy choice for the award.

Quarterback Steven Borden and linemen Brian Schraner, Austin Lillenberg and Russell Gage were all named to the offensive team from the 2008 CIF-SS Division I champion Cardinals, while Daniel Chaplin and Joe Grayem were on the defensive team.

Keoshian, Borden and Chaplin all have one year left with SCCS, making them an early favorite to be selected again next season.

Having recently committed to Air Force, Rodriguez will take his game to the next level starting in June when he heads to basic training. For now, he is appreciative of the award.

"That is the most satisfying out of all the accomplishments I got this year," Rodriguez said. "It means that a lot of coaches have respect for me as a player. That is the most satisfying."

However, Rodriguez is quick to point out that he couldn't have done it alone.

"The numbers are good, but I have to give the credit to coach (Jason) Bornn, (offensive coordinator David) Russell, my line, Ryan Zirbel and Kollin Depew," Rodriguez said.

Saugus senior running back Ryan Zirbel and offensive lineman Justin Wells round out the offensive team, while Robert Donathan is the lone Centurion on the defensive squad.

Zirbel was also named the Foothill League's Offensive Player of the Year this season, while Donathan was the Foothill League's Lineman of the Year.

Wells was named to the All-Foothill League first team.

Valencia senior lineman Cody Letz made the offensive team alongside junior wide receiver Zach Tartabull.

"(Letz's) leadership and toughness was exceptional this year," said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. "He was the only senior on the offensive line. He had to make all the calls on pass protection and he knew the game inside and out. He was as tough a lineman as we have had. A great leader and one of our team captains."

Both players were on the All-Foothill League first team this season - Letz on the offensive side and Tartabull as a defensive back.

But with a year of eligibility left, Tartabull wants to use this achievement as a springboard into next season.

"I need to take leadership," Tartabull said. "I need to step it up since it is my last year. I'm going to throw 110 percent on the field."

Tartabull credits his mother and Muir for pushing him to succeed.

"Zach was a go-to player for us," Muir said. "He was a guy that was always capable of a big play and he came through quite often for us. ... The sky is the limit for him."

"I was dreaming (of the accomplishment) ever since freshman year," Tartabull said. "That just makes us want to work harder. It shows that we did pretty well and we want to take that advantage to it."

The "we" not only refers to the team, but also to fellow junior Brock Vereen, who was named to the defensive team for his achievements as a defensive back.

"He was our best all-around player. You could put him anywhere on the field and he will be outstanding," Muir said, adding that Vereen could become the "best defensive back we've ever had."

Having both Tartabull and Vereen back for the 2009 season, the Vikings will be explosive in all phases of the game, including special teams, where both players shined as kick returners last season.

"Those are two playermakers to have back next year," Muir said. "It is going to be a huge benefit in terms of their experience, not only their physical play, but also their leadership and intangibles."

Vereen is joined on the All-CIF team by 2008 Foothill League Defensive Player of the Year Drew LaVoise, a senior linebacker for Valencia.

"His level of play was at a different level," Muir said. "His football instincts are just so rare. I haven't seen a kid like him that had that level of natural instinct. It seemed like he always knew where that ball was going."

LaVoise finished with an impressive 8.6 tackles per game last season.


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