30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 1): Who will win East Bay POY?

It’s time for the start of our popular feature, 30 Questions to Kickoff. Ben Enos and I will spend the next 30 days answering questions leading up to the start of the high school football season. We start with a tough one, who will be this year’s East Bay Player of the Year? Both of us will take a crack at it, which really is just going to be a blind stab in the dark.


A lot of really talented players graduated last year, including names such as Terron Ward, Brett Nottingham, Rickey Galvin and Sean Mannion. It was an incredibly deep and talented class last year, especially when you throw in some of the defensive players such as Fred Thompson and Sione Tupouata. That makes picking this year’s winner a pretty tough task at this point, however I’m going to go with the guy who was at the other end of so many of Nottingham’s passes last year, Monte Vista senior wide receiver Bryce McGovern.

Sure, he won’t have Nottingham to throw to him anymore, but McGovern is coming off an unbelievable junior season in which he hauled in 106 catches for 2,063 yards and 17 touchdowns. The yardage is a California record and the reception total is a Northern California record and they are just flat out ungodly numbers. McGovern will have to break in a new quarterback, but coach Craig Bergman always has a great passing attack and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another great year from McGovern. Of course, I’d never be surprised if a quarterback emerged from the EBAL and became a star, but for now I’ll go with McGovern.


I like Jimmy’s pick, especially because I think Monte Vista doesn’t really ever rebuild at quarterback, they just reload. Whether it’s last year’s backup, Jeff Lockie, or Seamus Finnegan (yes, I just wanted to say Seamus) under center, MV is gonna chuck the ball just as much as always.

For my answer, I’m going with a guy that I wouldn’t hesitate to say is the most intense player in the East Bay. That’s Dylan Wynn, the two-way monster at De La Salle.

He’s coming off a junior season that saw him record 10 sacks, and earn first-team All-East Bay honors as both an offensive and defensive lineman. This year, Wynn should add team leader to his list of responsibilities, and I think that’s a role he’s naturally suited for.

Last year, Wynn benefited from a very talented group of teammates joining him on the defensive front four. This year, he’ll be the lone returning starter and I think it will be up to him to set the tone for the new unit up front. Together with the returning East Bay Defensive Player of the Year, LB Blake Renaud, the Spartans shouldn’t lack for playmakers on defense.


So, check back every day for the next 30 days as we try to project, predict and just plain wax poetic on the upcoming high school football season. The countdown will conclude on Sept. 1, giving us a few days to discuss our annual football preview before the season is upon us. Thanks also to everyone who dropped us a question. We’ll be answering a few of them as we go along.

Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.

  • HotshotLB

    Im gonna throw the name Trevor Davis WR/DB from Alhambra out there. Just go look at his highlight video from last year on youtube.

  • ManDown

    Someone for the EBAL or De La Salle.

  • junior

    Two very good choices fellas. Mcgovern can help his resume with INT’s on the other side of the ball too.



  • 8-03-10
    I have to agree with Jimmy and Ben and would add Ricky Lloyd of Concord High…Alhambra has two possibles in Trevor Davis and Jared Leaf..Leaf takes over for Calhoun and Davis with the good hands, but there are many more out there…

  • joe

    ok ill speak some honest truth. First off, the POY has to go to someone on a very good team, otherwise there just isnt enough around him to make him be able to perform. McGovern has to have a QB who can get him the ball, and he needs the Ol to protect for that QB

    Wynn will tear it up on defense no doubt, but he plays OL, how much pub can he really get at OL, not sayin its right but it is reality.

    no offense to anyone from Alhambra, they are only a D-3 school i believe, they just dont have the competition to warrant a POY candidiate, I dont thin kRutley was ever even a POY and he is better than anyone else the bulldogs will ever have in the backfield

    Ricky Lloyd is the real deal but he will really miss his 2 big targets from last year and the plays that hightower made out of the backfield. he is a stud, but doesnt have the same pieces he did around him anymore

    A serious contender could be former Mt. Diablo Star , and new Pittsburg Pirate RB/FS Deon Turner. Possible the fastest kid in the bay area, and he will be a superstar at Pitt this year

  • headphones

    Mr. Joe i believe its a real possibility someone from
    D3 can win the player of the year, EX: jonaathan brown from Encinal high school 2008. i believe encinal was a D3 that year

  • s1lverngreen

    Perhaps a bit bias on my pick! I am going with the big LB from DLS, Blake Renaud….I am thinking big play maker both on the defensive and offensive side. D1 schools will be a dime a dozen with offers for the big LB!

  • MoellerMan

    I agree with Renaud. He was the most dominant defensive player I saw last year, as a junior, and he has even more potential.

  • renegades10

    I wouldn’t count out Antoine Pickett at DLS either. While he doesn’t get the same publicity that Renaud and Wynn get more then likely he will not only be a starting OLB, but one of the starting RB’s as well. although it looks like Lucas Dunne will be the primary back, if Pickett has a great year on both sides of the ball i would say he has as good a chance as any.

  • Ben Enos

    I like the names being thrown out. Renaud and Pickett are incredible talents, as are Lloyd and Turner. Lloyd could put up video-game numbers this year.

    For the Alhambra supporters out there though, who’s gonna throw Davis the ball? Losing Cellini has to hurt, right?

    It’s funny someone brought up Jared Leaf, because I was just talking about him the other day. I think he has a chance to be a really, really good two-way player. I wouldn’t want to try to tackle him, that’s for sure.

  • Lakeview

    After watching the recent 7on7’s particularly MV vs. DLS I would say a surprise standout and my pick would be Dalis Bruce.

  • YVFan08

    Dont forget when Jahvid Best won POY and his team was a D4 team

  • renegades10

    lakeview…where will bruce play this year offensively? i know he has been been working out as a wr/db, but believe he also has played some rb before. if he sticks at wr he will be behind mcgovern and turner as the third option and while MV’s wide open offense gives plenty of guys opportunities to get their yards as a wideout, not quite sure he will have a big impact offensively given that they don’t have the level of qb they did the last two years. finnegan and lockie are both solid, but not at Nottingham’s level. defensively bruce is sound and probably will start at the cb spot opposite mcgovern this year.

  • A thought for question #11 a kid named Miller is coming up from the JV at QB for Alhambra, he is a two way threat and Davis will be his target, the kid can run and pass, the bulldogs big question will be the O/D line….Last year at College Park they were pushed all over the place….and gave up too many points in league play, but still managed to win.

  • Lakeview

    Renegades…from what I understand from a reliable source. On offense Dalis will play a lot of WR at both the H and wideout. It appears they want to move him into matchups. He will also run the ball alot rotating at RB with Sullus. The plan offensively is to just get the ball in his hands…ur correct about the QB situation thus far. They will not have the accuracy and experience. On defense he is a lock at corner opposite Mcgovern. But they are also rotating him to safety in certain situations.

  • renegades10

    ya he might better serve them as an rb this year potentially catching screen passes out of the backfield as well as lining up out wide at times as well. as you said it’s about the matchup for him. Sullas is serviceable, but not close to the level that Greg Johnson was at last year. that also doesn’t help the new qb as Johnson was very good until he got injured last year meaning that teams couldn’t sit back and defend the pass but had to respect the run as well. if they don’t have a threat out of the backfield teams will just play the middle of the field to stop the short crossing routes that MV loves to run. from what I understand the arm strength of both Finnegan and Lockie is suspect and that the deep throws aren’t there.

  • junior

    MV is not a threat to run the ball (or stop the run for that matter).

    Coach B is in love with the pass and his teams reflect a pass-first mentality (both sides of the ball). MV would win more games if they had an offensive philosophy better suited for HS football.

  • MV Alum

    17 and 18 both of u are wrong Sullas had over 700yrds last year in 6 1/2games including 151 against Heritage and over 100 against Berkeley in their playoff games he can run the ball (plus he caught the ball for another 600 he has better hands than Johnson and he is tougher). MV will keep teams honest with the run, their issue is if the QB’s can get the ball to the receivers Dalis and Bryce will do well even on the short routes they will get YATC. I believe Sullas is going to have a big year for them as well…

  • D W

    That said, who will be DLS’ second banana this year? Same team that will play DLS’ closest EBAL game?

  • Guys….DLS unfortnately will march thru the EBAL, I can’t see any team this year possing a threat…We will get a true picture of DLS at the Pittsburg Jamboree….And get a fix on Pickett..

  • renegades10

    from what I have heard DLS’ secondary has looked suspect at times in coverage this summer much like it was at the beginning of last year. an injury to cotton at the stanford tourney didn’t help and he is working his way back into playing shape. they will be a very physical secondary, but will need to work on being where they are supposed to be. teams that throw well especially early in the season could give them some problems.

  • Last years DLS JV team went 10-0 and at the Pittsburg Jamboree, they had no trouble with any of the other three teams and were way ahead play-wise…this group will be ahead of the game at the varsity level, starting at the Pittsburg Jamboree on the 27th…A Bart Houston led team will roll…..

  • calfan

    Does anyone else find it ironic that the highest ranked player in NoCal, Geo Atkinson, isn’t even considered as one of the candidates for POY…I don’t want to bash a kid, but it seems like this may be the most overated prospect in years…

  • renegades10

    The main thing working against him for POY consideration is that his team isn’t very good. He is rated so highly by the recruiting services because he is a fantastic athlete, one of the best all-around that has come out of this area in quite some time. An athlete like that has a ton of upside. That being said i have questioned how much tape coaches and the recruiting services have really watched on him because I don’t think he is a great football player. College coaches have talked about moving him to WR offensively and I think that may be the best situation for him because the last two years I have seen him play he doesn’t hit the hole hard as a rb and he really seems to have an issue with contact. But he is a burner and could be a valuable down field asset if he has good hands. Regardless, I definitely think he could be a track star at whatever school he chooses to attend.

  • renegades10

    MV Alum- Sullas is not as good as Greg Johnson was. Like I said he is serviceable at the position and he probably will get his yards when MV is up big on the weaker teams. I want to see how he does against Serra and Pitt in the first two games of the season. Those teams have solid, physical defenses and both games will probably be close. It’s not about getting your yards when you are playing Livermore, it’s about getting yards when you’re playing the top teams and the game is on the line. Greg Johnson could do that last year. Look what he did to the DLS defense the first time they played. Granted the DLS defense at the end of the year was vastly improved for the second meeting, but Sullas was the primary back in the playoff game against DLS and even when the game was close in the first half, Sullas struggled to get the tough yards and to keep the DLS defense honest. The kid is a decent player, but I just thought last year’s rb was much better. If Sullas comes out like a beast this year then I will eat my crow.

  • MV Alum

    Renagade; I will agree with your assessment on Johnson last year against DLS he was a beast but Sullas didn’t just do mop up duty at the end of games against inferior teams he ran hard and got alot of tuff yrds for them (against all of the league plus playoffs except DLS and that was when DLS was playing out of their nut) he only averaged 11 touches a game. You know Bergman is all about the pass ESPECIALLY last year. I think he will prove that he will get those yrds they need and keep teams honest (plus he can catch the ball if Bergman will ever look for the back instead of always focusing on the downfield receivers but I will give you that he will need to prove himself in the first couple games but they got to give him a chance too or they will be one dimentional.

  • s1lverngreen

    Regarding # 18

    I agree with you, I watched the Monte Vista and Foothill game this weekend on ESPNU and noticed MV’s inability to run the ball. Even in short yardage situations they opted to pass..a more balanced MV would have been able to beat Foothill and perhaps yielded them 1 or 2 more wins LY. last year. By the way, for those of you interested in Prep football, ESPNU has been showing all of the prep games from last year’s Old Spice showcase…They seem to be on Friday afternoons and evenings…

  • MV Alum

    S1lver: It wasn’t that they weren’t able to run the ball Bergman chooses to throw when the run is going well if you listened to the game you would have heard the commentators stating that MV was getting good yardage on the ground and should stick with it. When you have Nottingham thou Bergman will throw so this year because of the QB situation they are going to need to run more and I think they should be able too… Also Congrats to Jacob Welter on picking OU!!!!

  • renegades10

    when Johnson went down against Foothill they started using Wilkerson as a FB specifically for those short yardage situations with decent success for the rest of the season.

  • s1lverngreen

    MV Alum,
    Perhaps you are right, I only saw MV play twice last year, both times against DLS..I’ll tell you that the Spartans were shocked at Nottingham’s ability to scramble out of the pocket and move down field as well as he did, particularly in the NCS playoff game. I guess when you have a kid as talented as Nottingham you are more apt to throw the ball. You mention that they will run more this year; who is/are their running backs? Big and strong or quick & shifty? Good luck this year!

  • Bulldog forever

    The POY voting will be split between two teammates, Jared(Thunder)Leaf and Trevor(Lightning)Davis, both from Alhambra. Davis will win, and Leaf will finish second. Last year, Davis played at 5’10” and 145 pounds. Now he’s 6’1 1/2″ and 165 pounds. With his speed, his long arms, and his phenomenal jumping ability, it’s like he’s really 8′ tall. The cornerbacks won’t have a chance. No matter what, Lightning Davis will catch a minimum of 60 passes this year, and it’s probable that he and quarterback Jon Miller will hook up for 80+ passes.

    Last year, Davis was platooned in favor of the senior players, and thrown an average of only 3 passes per game. And even with those few passes thrown to him, he still lead the league in receiving yardage. Coach Alan Hern(new this year from JV)has designed quite a few plays specifically for Trevor, and he’s going to have a breakout year.

    Thunder Leaf has grown an inch from last year (he’s now 6’2″), and he’s also up to 225 pounds from 215. He’ll be first team All-League as both a running back and a linebacker. He’s amazingly agile for a big guy, and averaged 8+ yards per carry last year. It’s possible, if not probable, that he’ll gain 2,000 yards this year. And as good as Jared is as a running back, he’s an even better linebacker. He’s strong, he’s fast and he hurts people.

    Even the Four Horsemen run for cover when Thunder and Lightning come to town.

  • MV Alum

    S1lver: they will use Sullas as their starter he took over for Johnson last year after he got hurt and he had a good year for them (1300 total yrds 11or 12 tds in 6 1/2 gms) I can tell you he isn’t the biggest kid but he has good speed and is real strong from what I hear pound for pound one of the strongest on the team. After him they have a couple of backs Anderson who is fast, then some juniors Wening who will play some fullback and a Sophmore Chang who is small but real shifty.
    I will agree with Renagades assessment that they will need to show something the first couple of games with the run or it will be a long season, with that said I believe they will. Bergman just needs to mix it up a little more u can’t always run the stretch teams like DLS know what is happening and it won’t fool anyone…

  • someone who knows what he’s talking about

    jared leaf is gonna throw davis the ball

  • jj2

    @comment # 34

    I saw Jared Leaf throw the ball vs Pinole Valley and he really needs to stick to running the ball. His throwing style looks nothing like a quarterbacks and has no accuracy. Luckily he is third string.

    so i guess you don’t know what your talking about.

  • Bulldog Forever

    Leaf third string? Third string what, Jj2?

    Jared Leaf is first string RB, first string LB, first team all-league, and first class all the way.