By Brett Manney
1.) Kasen Williams, Soph., WR, Skyline Spartans
The Skyline Spartans finished the season undefeated at 14-0 and were crowned Class 4A State champions in the state of Washington. And on a team filled with stars, Kasen Williams emerged this season and proved he was worthy to start on the Spartans squad. The 6-2, 190-lbs. sophomore led the team in receptions (56) and receiving yards (936) after playing sparingly last season. The highly touted sophomore earned all-conference and All-Seattle Times accolades in helping the Spartans to their second straight state championship.
2.) Grant Union High School, Sacramento, California
Grant Union flew under the radar all season despite its unblemished record (14-0), mostly because the team's name isn’t De La Salle and that they don't play in the very talented Southern Section. The Pacers defeated heavily favored Long Beach Poly, 25-20, in the California Interscholastic Federation Open Division Bowl game. With the win, the Pacers became the first team from the Sacramento area to win a state football championship and put the school on the football map. Under head coach Mike Alberghini, the Pacers have 18 consecutive playoff berths, 15 league titles and six Sac-Joaquin section championships.
3.) Southridge Skyhawks, Beaverton, Oregon
After a 6-4 campaign last year, the No. 7 seed entering the state tournament went 12-2 and captured the Clas 6A state championship in Oregon. The Skyhawks upset Lake Oswego, 35-21, and shut down the squad's Oregon State bound QB Jack Lomax in the title game. With a powerful offense that scored under 20 points just twice (their only losses), the Skyhawks finished third in their league. Led by state defensive player of the year Paul Tuma, the Skyhawks held opponents to just 12.4 points per game and their two losses were by a combined six points.
4.) John Hughes, RB, Centennial Coyotes, Peoria, Arizona
After losing his brother and leading rusher (1,338 yards) Jeff Hughes to graduation, John Hughes came back as the third-leading rusher on the team behind his brother Anthony. Yet, John emerged from both of his brothers’ shadows to help the Coyotes repeat as Arizona 5A state champions. The Coyotes finished the season 14-0 largely due to John Hughes’s 1,600 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns. Despite being just 5-6, Hughes played a big part in the Coyotes repeating as state champions.
5.) Mullen Mustangs, Denver, Colorado
The Mullen Mustangs overcame all odds to win the Colorado Class 5A state championship. The Mustangs entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed and left as the state champions of Colorado. After losing four Div. I players and five all-state selections last year, the Mustangs appeared to be in a rebuilding phase. Instead, the Mustangs reloaded rather than rebuilt and continued their storied success in football. The program was headed by all-state and Stanford recruit TE Ryan Hewitt, who proved to be an outstanding blocker and led the team with 476 yards receiving.
To contact correspondent Brett Manney, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.