Editor’s Note: It is one of a series of Bay Area newsgroup stories honoring the top football players of the 2021 season.
Nicolas Andrigato, St. Francis, 5-10, 190, senior
West Catholic Athletic League Co-Defensive Back of the Year. Team captain and three-year starter. Helped St Francis to win the league title and reach the CCS Division I final. His only reception as receiver was a 16-yard TD catch with 16.7 seconds remaining to hand de la Salle his first defeat to a field rival in 30 years. “Great player. Great spirit,” said one league coach.
Zeke Berry, De La Salle, 6-0, 195, senior
East Bay Athletic League Mountain Division Player of the Year. Strong presence at De La Salle Secondary. Signed with Michigan. Selected to play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio. “The best player from the best team in the region is far and away,” said an NCS coach. Others drew similar praise for the player who finished with 35 tackles, forced two fumbles and took a pick.
Jeremiah Arby, Menlo-Atherton, 6-2, 170, senior
The cal-bound standout received first-team honors as a defensive back in the Bay Division of the Peninsula Athletic League. Intercepted five passes for the league champion and CCS Division I semifinalist and finished with 40 tackles. As a receiver caught 41 passes for 963 yards and 11 TDs. Throwing TD pass too.
Zion Loulia, Cera, 6-3, 173, senior
The shut-down cornerback helped Serra win the CCS Division I Championship. Named West Catholic Athletic League Co-Defensive Back of the Year. “Best receiver for all the other teams turned off,” said Serra’s coach Patrick Walsh. Also played on offense and special teams for the NorCal representative in the CIF Open Division state championship game.
Robert Freeman, El Cerrito, 5-8, 155, senior
Tri-County Athletic League Rock Division MVP. A three star prospect according to 247sports. Ended the season with 21 touchdowns as El Cerrito won the league title. All four seasons were played on the varsity and the league’s defensive MVP was a sophomore. “He made a huge impact and made it difficult for teams to plan for him,” said El Cerrito coach Jacob Rincon.
Quinn Merritt, Los Gatos, 6-1, 190, senior
Santa Clara Valley Athletic League de Anza Division first-team selection. Lined up as a cornerback and wide receiver for a team leading 10–0 in the regular season. “Quinn is a college football player, just not sure where,” said coach Mark Krill. “Great leader, captain of the team.”
Israel Polk, Pittsburgh, 6-1, 150, Jr.
The Bay Valley Athletic League’s only defensive back was unanimously selected to the league’s first team. League and NCS Division I ended with three interceptions for the champion. As a receiver, also caught 15 passes for 173 yards and two TDs. Three-star prospect with four Division I offers.
Croix Stewart, Benicia, 6-2, 190, senior
Received first-team honors in the foothill division of the Diablo Athletic League. Signed with UCLA. Helped Benicia win a portion of the league championship and reach the final of the NCS Division III. Played safety, cornerback, defensive end, wide receiver and return kick. Finished with six TDs, 67 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions
Tariq Adams, Clayton Valley, Senior
Joseph Bay, Serra, Sophomore
Eric Braziel, Hayward, Senior
Paddy Casey, St. Francis, Sr.
Deuce Carr, Liberty, Jr.
Anthony DelGuidis, James Logan, Jr.
Thomas Di Vittorio, Bellarmine, Senior
Daniel Escorza, Wilcox, Jr.
Demetrius Freeni, San Leandro, Senior
Jacob Gastrok, Mount Eden, Jr.
Nino Gama, James Logan, Senior
Na’Shawn Geston-Wick, Encinal, Jr.
Isaac Green, Bishop O’Dowd, Sr.
Nick Jeong, Woodside, Senior
Macari Kenyon, Bishop O’Dowd, Freshman
Jaylyn Leslie, Hayward, Sr.
Kyon Loud, Bishop O’Dowd, Sophomore
Jabari Mann, Sera, Sophomore
Journey McCoy, De La Salle, Jr.
Bryant Meredith, De La Salle, Senior
James Mozon LL, Tennyson, Sr.
Christopher Murray, Archbishop Riordan, Senior
Caleb Padreed, San Ramon Valley, Jr.
Emilio Pucci, Northgate, Jr.
Warren Smith, El Cerrito, Jr.
Andrew Stewart, Sera, Senior
Alex Thrithes, Santa Teresa, Jr.
Lloyd Walter, Aragon, Jr.
Michael Whale, Hercules, Senior
Adam Wright, Monte Vista, Senior
All-Bang Football Team Schedule
Tuesday, January 11
Wednesday, January 12
Thursday, January 13
Receiver/tight ends: 10 a.m.
Friday, January 14
Coach of the Year: 4:30 am
Co-Offensive Player of the Year: 7 a.m.
Defensive Player of the Year: 10 am
Player of the Year: Afternoon
The team was selected by the Bay Area News Group’s high school sports staff.