A standing ovation

Local stars earn honors after another memorable season
Eliav Appelbaum


GUNSLINGER—Agoura quarterback Spencer Lin, who threw 36 touchdowns this season, is an Acorn MVP. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

GUNSLINGER—Agoura quarterback Spencer Lin, who threw 36 touchdowns this season, is an Acorn MVP. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

Birds dream of flying. Fish dream of swimming. Hibernating bears lick their chops about riding jet skis on Lake Tahoe while cradling lifetime-supply tankards of honey.

And local high school football players dream—OK, maybe they’re just shrugging their shoulders in mild amusement—about becoming Acorn All-Stars.

The Acorn All-Star report, first published in 2014, has been incognito the past few years, slumbering longer than Rip Van Winkle trapped in a detour through the director’s cut of the Paleozoic Era.

HONORABLE MENTIONS—Westlake High receiver Nick Silver, left, celebrates a touchdown against Oaks Christian with teammate Isaac Berger on Nov. 3. Silver and Berger helped the Warriors finish 9-3. ROB VARELA/Acorn Newspapers

HONORABLE MENTIONS—Westlake High receiver Nick Silver, left, celebrates a touchdown against Oaks Christian with teammate Isaac Berger on Nov. 3. Silver and Berger helped the Warriors finish 9-3. ROB VARELA/Acorn Newspapers

It’s time to release the goods.

In this edition, we’ll honor the best football players, teams and moments of the 2017 season through my unconventional kaleidoscope lens while unveiling the final Acorn Power Poll, the super deluxe edition, not sold in stores, featuring 15 schools.

Johnny Wilson MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

Johnny Wilson MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

Oaks Christian (CIF-Southern Section Division 2 champions), Grace Brethren (Division 8 champs) and Moorpark (Division 5 finalists) rouse standing ovations from their fans. Rio Mesa, which went 1-9 in 2013, went undefeated in the regular season before finishing 12-1 and earning the respect and admiration of fans and foes this season.

Not everyone can be named, not every moment can be cataloged, but we salute every player who tried their best, played hard and represented their cities and schools with class.

The Acorn Player of the Year
• Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oaks Christian

Game of the Year
• Calabasas 65, Valencia 63 on Sept. 28 at CHS

Team of the Year
• Rio Mesa Spartans

The Acorn MVPs
• Spencer Lin, QB, Agoura
• Jaden Casey, QB, Calabasas
• Kolby Dowling, WR/ CB, Camarillo
• Lontrelle Diggs, RB, Grace Brethren
• Bryan Salgado, RB/LB, Hillcrest Christian
• Jeremy Harris, LB/RB, Moorpark
• Carson Falsken, CB/ WR, Newbury Park
• Hunter Lee, OL/DL, Oak Park
• Zach Charbonnet, RB, Oaks Christian
• Austin Maciel, QB, Rio Mesa
• Ezekiel Savage, QB, Royal
• Sean Weber, LB/RB, Simi Valley
• Kai Rojas, QB, St. Bonaventure
• Santiago Guerra, LB, Thousand Oaks
• Donovan Robertson, WR/DB, Viewpoint
• Michael Carner, WR, Westlake

 

 

Most Improved
• Ezekiel Savage, QB, Royal
• Jake Kaplinski, QB, Westlake

Newcomers of the Year
• Jesse Valenzuela, RB, Camarillo
• Julien Stokes, WR/RB, Calabasas
• Blake Sturgill, QB, Moorpark
• Chase Artopoeus, QB, Thousand Oaks
• Seth Figgins, DE/TE, Westlake

Superstars So Freakishly Talented They Can’t Be Human
• Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oaks Christian
• Johnny Wilson, WR, Calabasas

The Randy Moss “Straight Cash, Homey” All-Stars or Guys I Would Pay to Watch
• Nico Della Ripa, WR/S, Agoura
• Nikko Hall, WR, Calabasas
• Mycah Pittman, WR, Calabasas
• Drake London, WR, Moorpark
• Cameron Rising, QB, Newbury Park
• Keith Mowatt, LB/RB, Oak Park
• Donte Martin, RB/CB, Rio Mesa
• Kamren Fabiculanan, CB, Westlake
• Carson Kuhl, WR, Westlake

The Super Glue Guy/Tough Dude/Appelbaum All-Stars
• Ben Tene, DE, Agoura
• Jackson deSpain, LB, Calabasas
• Drew Carter, LB, Camarillo
• Billy Westerling, S, Moorpark
• Ian Albaeck, WR, Newbury Park
• Michael Hewitt, WR/DB, Oak Park
• Zack Kariya, WR/RB/CB, Oak Park
• Josh Calvert, QB, Oaks Christian
• Dallas Holliday, G/DT, Oaks Christian
• Dylan Rusch, RB, Rio Mesa
• Elijah Ae, DL/OL, Royal
• Freddie Ricketts, WR/DB, Thousand Oaks
• Angel Baker, RB, Thousand Oaks
• Nathan Brooks, RB, Westlake
• Every Viewpoint player

Best Dressed Coach
• Ron Wilford, defensive coordinator, Moorpark Impervious to the cold, Wilford wore a polo shirt and shorts on sidelines for CIF-Southern Section Division 5 title game on Dec. 1.

Honor Roll All-Stars
• Isaiah Hogan, CB, Moorpark, Cornell commit
• Hunter Lee, OL/DL, Oak Park, Cornell commit
• Ajay Culhane, K, Oaks Christian, Yale commit

Most Inspirational
• Justis Tinoco, DE, Rio Mesa And the moment we’ve all been waiting for . . .

The Final 2017 Acorn Power Poll

1 Oaks Christian (12-3) CIFSouthern Section Division 2 and Marmonte League champions; state semifinals

2 Calabasas (10-2) Division 2 quarterfinals; Camino League champs

3 Moorpark (11-3) Division 5 finals with first-year head coach Ryan Huisenga

4 Grace Brethren (13-3) Division 8 and Tri-Valley League champs; state finals

5 Rio Mesa (12-1) Division 8 semifinals; Pacific View League champs; 10-0 regular season

6 Westlake (9-3) Division 3 quarterfinals; defeated defending state champ Sierra Canyon in season opener for first-year head coach Tim Kirksey

7 Camarillo (5-6) Scorpions nearly upset Westlake, Oaks Christian in league

8 Newbury Park (5-6) Quarterback Cameron Rising bound for the University of Texas

9 Agoura ( 6- 5) Canyon League champs; QB Spencer Lin accounted for 38 touchdowns: 32 passing, six rushing

10 Royal (6-5) Defeated Simi Valley 27-23 in rivalry showdown

11 St. Bonaventure (3-7) Notched memorable 61-55 overtime win against Thousand Oaks

12 Thousand Oaks (2-8) Upended Highland and Agoura in strong September

13 Simi Valley (2-7) Toppled Channel Islands and Oak Park in three-week stretch for first-year head coach Dameon Porter

14 Oak Park (3-6) Earned wins against Peninsula, West Adams and Nordhoff

15 Viewpoint (2-7) Patriots jolted by midseason coaching change

What else can I say but this:

Thank you.

Email sports editor Eliav Appelbaum at eliav@theacorn.com.