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OCT 2016

Class of 2017

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Montell Allen Ruben Peña SDFNL Directors Class of 2016 “Magnificent 7” is an  inspired theme for some of San Diego's Directors Ruben Peña Montell Allen

premiere running backs the county has to  offer.  The  2016  running  back  class  is  led  by      Mater  Dei  Chula  Vista  Cj  Verdell  (Oregon  Commit).  The  list  included  bruisers  like  Chris an’s  Jojo  Morenes,  graceful  runners  like        Rancho  Bernardo's  Milan  Grice.  They  are  set  to  make  a  run  for  the  playoffs  and  prove  to    scouts  they  are  mentally  and  physically ready for the next level.   

The “Magnificent  7”  all  came  together  to  celebrate  there  well  deserved  success.  The    mutual  respect  they  have  for  each  others  style  and  running  ability  on  the  field.     SDFNL  wants  to  thank  “The  Magnificent  7”. We wish them con nued success.  #nextlevel     ‐Ruben Pena ‐ SDFNL MAGAZINE  ‐Montell Allen ‐ SDFNL MAGAZINE  Oct 2016 #sdfnl16

Contributing Editors Thomas Gutierrez Eric Williams Ivy Gutierrez Photography Dondemarsphotgraphy 360 Studios –Christopher Smtih Advertising SDFNLMagazine is a registered trademark of MBA Sports LLC 2012 No parts of SDFNL Magazine may be re produced in any form or by any means without the express written permission of the publisher. The Publisher accepts no responsibility for unsolicited contributed manuscripts, photographs, artwork or advertisements.









The Oregon commit has racked up more yards rushing in the last three seasons than 17 football progams total rushing yards over that same period. No wonder he is one of the Magnificent 7

Last season in the October edition of SDFNL Magazine, we featured Helix High School running back Nate Stinson. The 2015 KUSI Silver Pigskin Finalist was about to lead the Highlanders on a San Diego County CIF Open Division Championship ride that would culminate with Stinson scoring 5 touchdowns and rushing for 246 yards with 76 yards receiving in the title game vs. St. Augustine. Stinson finished the season with over 2,000 yards rushing and

35 touchdowns ending his career at Helix with right at 4,000 total yards of offense and 60 touchdowns. In another San Diego community located just 10 miles from the Mexican Border at Baja California; a 5’9” 195-pound running back from Mater Dei High School was having as big of a statistical season as Stinson, and it was only his junior year. Originally known as Marian Catholic from 1960 to 2006, Mater Dei is a private, Roman Catholic high school in Chula Vista. The Crusaders football program has a record of 58-46 since 2007. Led by head coach John Joyner who began his tenure at Mater Dei in 2009, the school has a 46-22 record and five straight CIF playoff appearances since 2011. Under Coach Joyner, the 2016 Crusaders are coming off back-to-back Divsion-4 championships and are the first ever San Diego high-school football team to be moved up two divisions after a single season. The Crusaders smashed Reedley Immanuel 56 to 21 in the 2015 State Championship game, and Immanuel football coach Matt Armstrong had high praise for the 16-year old kid wearing the #5 jersey, Mater Dei’s featured back. “Their tailback is phenomenal. With him in the backfield, you really have to honor that aspect of their game,” said Armstrong. “You don’t see kids like that at the small schools level too often. I would venture to say that you don’t see that anywhere up and down the state.” He’s been featured on ABC-10 San Diego, the KUSI Prep Pigskin Report, San Diego Prep Insider, the Mighty 1090, and the San Diego Union Tribune all within the past six months, but there is one play in particular that symbolizes the next-level potential college scouts

ER DEI written by Eric Williams

have come to discover about CJ (Christopher Junior) Verdell. In the final week of the 2015 regular season, Verdell broke through the Mar Vista defense for a 99-yard touchdown run en route to a 48-7 Mater Dei victory. After eluding a lineman in the end zone, Verdell broke a tackle at the one-yard line, and another at the two, then lowered his shoulder and drilled a Safety onto his back at the ten, spinning and tip-

toeing just inches from the sideline at the fifteen, juking a defender at the twenty-five, finishing with one final burst of speed all the way to the house. But that run isn’t the only thing that will define CJ Verdell’s football career at Mater Dei. When his senior year has finished, Verdell will be remembered as one of the best high school running backs in San Diego County history. While missing the first four games of his sophomore season after

breaking a bone in his foot late in the summer, Verdell also had a hip injury that limited his playing time, and he spent some time healing an ankle injury as well. Nevertheless, Verdell gave us a preview of his quickness breaking free for runs of 53 and 57 yards during that 2014 season. After a lot of intense physical therapy, he was poised to come back stronger and fitter than ever in 2015. Proving that hard work pays off, Verdell broke

off runs of 65, 62, 80, 75, 84, 99, 56, 50, 65, and 66 yards during his junior season, racking up 2,677 total yards of offense and 34 touchdowns. During week five of 2015, he torched the Bishop’s high school defense for 381 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns on just 21 carries. Against El Capitan in week three, Verdell rushed for 185 yards and matched that rushing total versus Sweetwater in week 9. The speedy running back is battle tested in big time games too. Averaging 160 rushing yards per game in the playoffs, Verdell lit Kearny up for 225 yards rushing in the 2015 CIF quarterfinals, hammered Mar Vista for 162 rushing yards in the semi-finals, and ran over Notre Dame High School for 196 yards rushing in the State Regional Final. Finishing with 2,135 yards rushing (12.6 yards per carry) and 28 touchdowns to go along with 15 receptions, 278 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns, Verdell led his team to a Division-4 San Diego Section CIF Championship



and a Division V-AA State Championship en route to what “technically” was a perfect 15-0 season. Verdell also finished the 2015 season with 262 kick-return yards and a return touchdown to go along with 22 tackles and 2 interceptions. Mater Dei High School and San Diego County Football fans were eager to see what Verdell would accomplish in 2016, and five games into his senior year Verdell has burned opposing defenses for 901 yards rushing, close to 100 yards receiving and 18 total touchdowns. Already with runs of 84, 62, 50, 49, and 52 yards this season, Verdell told San Diego Union Tribune freelance writer Don Norcross that he wanted to win another State Championship and challenge the San Diego CIF rushing record set by Dillon Baxter in 2009. Often labeled as a speedback, Verdell is built much like a power-back. Now in his senior year, Verdell can squat close to 500 pounds, and bench press 305 while his 40-yard dash time is right at 4.5. Verdell says that his father has helped him with constant weight training and with planning a better diet, which in turn has helped CJ achieve more lean muscle. “My dad’s had a big impact on me,” Verdell told Norcross. “I get a lot of my work ethic from him.” Verdell’s father Christopher is a Navy lieutenant commander, and it’s nothing but business and the weight

room as Verdell’s father posted on Twitter one day this past Summer: “CJ’s 5:30 A.M. weight training. No substitute for off-season strength gains. #WinTheDay.” On January 5, 2016 Under the Radar published a seven-minute highlight film of Verdell to their YouTube channel that has now reached over 11,000 views. On Jan 22, 2016, Verdell picked up his first full ride D1 offer from Southern Utah. Offered by almost every team in the Pac-12 since that day, Verdell stands at sixteen total D1 offers and has made a verbal commitment to Oregon after making an unofficial visit to the Ducks’ annual spring game on April 30. A humble person on and off the field, I got the chance to meet Verdell and his parents after Mater Dei’s big win over Mission Hills this past week. His family is kind and compassionate, and they care deeply about their son’s education and athletic career. “God has blessed CJ, and we are very grateful for his accomplishments,” Verdell’s father told me. Like other great running backs, CJ Verdell has power, speed, great vision, and cuts that are subtle and precise. Able to long jump almost 24 feet, Verdell has great leaping ability as well. If you get a chance to see him play in person, he is a lot like Nate Stinson was in the sense that entire defensive game plans revolve around the fear of big runs by Verdell. For all the old timers like me, Verdell’s size and running style will remind you of three-time Super Bowl Champion Emmitt Smith who played for the Dallas Cowboys and shined in college at Florida. For the younger guys, Verdell’s game is very similar to that of 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram who played his college ball at Alabama and is now with the New Orleans Saints as their primary running back. Also a great option in the passing game just like both of those backs, Verdell runs hard and with balance, redistributing his body weight to make adjustments. That makes him very hard to tackle…IF you can catch him. Follow Eric Williams on twitter @wbksports

MILAN GRICE written by Ivy Gutierrez

Senior Powerhouse Milan Grice has had these football roots since about seventh grade when he first started to play. Started off on Junior varsity and as sophomore was pulled up to varsity which was a perfect opportunity to showcase his talent amongst the big guys. His explosiveness on the field is what makes him so captivating, his goal is to break the 2000 rushing yard mark and from the looks of it, he will have no trouble doing so. Milan currently has his first and only offer at the moment from the University of South Dakota.

Throughout his high school career he has mentally become tougher, his craft has improved and he has a state championship under his belt. Milan refers to himself as a leader by example, especially for his teammates the Bronco’s go by the acronym “Blue” which stands for, Brave, loyalty, unrelenting and enthusiasm. This is what it means to be a Bronco, and helps guide the team in every aspect. He credits his brother and father for being his biggest motivators, while football as a whole has taught

him life skills and how to deal with school, home life and has overall shaped him into the individual he is today. Head Coach McCoy, focuses more on making the boys become better men which in return will make them better players, this is a relationship all teams should have with their coach. Education comes first for this student athlete and there is no doubt he will be making moves on the field as well as in the classroom, wherever he goes.


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written by Tommy Gutierrez

any given play he could either run and his Cathedral Catholic through or around a defense. Dons entered the 2016 season At the midpoint of the prepared for the competition of Who would think season, his statistics have been the Western League. And they impressive (571 yards rushing that one of the top running did not hesitate as they won backs in the county started their first 5 games, including a and 10 touchdowns) with his biggest game against Liberty of playing football at age 8 as battle against rival Helix High a pulling guard? Eventually Bakersfield, in which he accounted School (35-28). during his second year for 4 touchdowns and 158 yards With teammates like rushing. in the Pop Warner ranks, Je’von Figaro, Jordan Genmark the Cathedral Catholic Heath, and Graham Valentine, With all the hard work he has star running back, Adam put in, he’s on pace to achieve the Cathedral Catholic Dons Eastwood, would align his goals for the 2016 season. matched the Helix Highlanders himself for future gridiron “My individual goal for this year in talent, speed, and size. glory when he switched from is 1500 yards rushing and 15 Down 21-7 at halftime, the line to the backfield. touchdowns, but by achieving Eastwood helped tie the game my personal goals, this will also Unlike many of the up in the third quarter (28help our team goal, which is by Cathedral Catholic fateful, 28) with a 3 yard touchdown winning a State championship,” run. As the battle ensued, the Adam Eastwood did not stated Eastwood. plan to play for the Dons. Dons would eventually clinch a “Honestly, I have no idea why victory with a TD pick by Je’von With the season at its crossroads, now it is time Figaro. Eastwood finished the I came to Cathedral. I always to watch the storylines and imagined myself when I was game with 51 yards rushing and match ups unfold as Adam touchdown on that memorable a little kid that I would play Eastwood and the Cathedral night at Manchester Stadium. for Torrey Pines, but for some Catholic Dons enter the unknown reason, something As a one-cut, downhill running back, the 6-foot-1 and heart of their schedule and called me to go to Cathedral.” 215-pound senior fits perfectly into the competitive and After an intensive off in the Don’s proficient running unforgiving Open Division season with trainer, Paul Wright, scheme. Eastwood possesses playoffs……. and a stint at the renowned a perfect combination of power EXOS facility, Adam Eastwood and speed (4.66 40yd), and on




Jared Adelman Runningback Poway HS written by Ivy Gutierrez Senior Running back Jared Adelman playing since he was in second grade, originally from Bakersfield, CA. As he went on through the years he continued to improve his craft, and grow mentally. As a young boy Adelman knew he had a passion for football when it made him want to get up and go to school every morning. The Adelman family is all about football, as his older brother played, he says that he has motivated him the most and made him want to play. As one of the key players on the team he takes pride in being able to make those big plays on the field and being able to score those touchdowns.. He has played on varsity

since sophomore year when he began at Mt. Carmel, when he transferred back to Poway he had great plans for himself. His main goals include pursuing a higher education as he is interested in studying Biology and playing ball at a university, winning best CIF title, and the ultimate goal of course which is to go to State. Head Coach Damien Gonzalez is one of a kind when it comes to motivating the team to be better, Jared says that before every game he has a new story to tell about how it will all play out for them. He has some of the strongest relationships with his teammates, which shows on and off the field. This young man is a

leader by example, and it is hard not believe when he shines under those Friday night lights. He has high hopes to take his skills to the next level, some advice he has for the younger crowd is to be persistent it everything they aim for and always be prepared. It’ll be a fun one this season as Poway is currently 5-0 Undefeated thus far in the season, so stay tuned for this big play maker you won’t want to miss a beat from Adelman.

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written by Ruben Pena

It’s no surprise that Lincolns Hornets varsity running back Micah Edwards is one of the top backs in San Diego County. “He has the skills to make the big run play every time he touches the ball,” Says Head Coach David Dunn. His ability to scan the field and find that gap to get his team in scoring position is what he does best. If he is not scoring, he is moving the chains. He currently sits at 441 yards rushing with 9 touchdowns. At this pace, he is sure to surpass the 1,000yard mark for the Hornets The Hornets also known as “The Hive” are currently 3-1 after a tough loss to Grossmont in week 4. Micah Edwards did his best to keep the Hornets in the game. As he has done in the past, he carried the workload. He always gives his success to his teammates. “They come with it every day, working hard, and give their all on Friday nights,” says Edwards “My offensive lineman set up the play, and I just finish it for the team.”


I have personally known Head Coach David Dunn and his staff since my Pop Warner

years. Dunn always puts his team first. He has brought continuous success to the Hornets team. This former NFL player knows what it takes to keep his team in contention. “We lost a few top seniors from last year, but I feel we will be competing at our highest level once the dust settles,” says Head Coach Dunn. No doubt that I believe this is a true statement. We had the pleasure to see his Hornets team in action during our 3rd San Diego Friday Night Lights Kickoff Classic. Dunn unleashed his running back top RB Micah Edwards on a stout Vaquero defense. Every time he touched the ball he accelerated to the next level. He capped the night with an amazing 65-yard run that made the KUSI PPR highlights. Edwards gives much of the praise to the coaching staff at Lincoln for getting him to where he currently is this season. “Coach Dunn has taught us how to be better men on and off the field. He has preached to us if you want to succeed in life you have to give it your all “says Edwards.

Micah Edwards has had some memorable games in his young career. One game stands out for him. During his Varsity years, Point Loma has beaten them every year. This year was different as Edwards left his mark and racked up over 100 yards with 2 touchdowns in a win over the pointers. The year is young, and Edwards has the tools to be one of the top backs in San Diego. He has also earned a spot in the 2016 SDFNL All-Star game. Look for him to buzz through his opponents and help the Hornets in the win column as the season progresses. From Edwards I would like to thank my mom for all her support throughout my football years and guiding me in the right direction. Thanks, Mom! I would also like to thank my girlfriend, Vanessa Alejandra Varela, for being by my side and for her support. I love you, babe! And lastly, I would like to thank the Lincoln coaching staff, my squad Drew, Kayvon, and Tav. Let’s roll, time to eat.



The days of defining a player by the size of their school or division is becoming less of a factor in today’s prep football environment. In the previous weeks we have seen private schools such as The Bishop’s School and Santa Fe Christian defeat schools double their enrollment size. . As a starter on both sides of the ball, Morones (5'11 - 225lbs) is equally powerful and daunting. He has collected numerous tackles

the ball. He has collected numerous tackles over the years, but make no mistake about it; Joey Morones is a running back first. Even though a thinking man on the gridiron, he takes a simple physical approach for both positions: “At fullback when blocking, my mindset

is to run over whoever you see in the hole first and at linebacker it is to take away the cutback run.” Says Joey. With the grueling summer of SSC training completed and the anticipation of the new season, the Christian Patriots have started the season off with a 4-0 record (outscoring their opponents 15051). Joey has come out strong in the first 4 games of the season racking up 466 yards combined with 9 touchdowns in total offense. Morones and the Patriots will not rest until they accomplish their objectives as he explained to me. “Individual goals this season is to be injury free. I have had some knee problems the past two years, and I want a full healthy season,” said Morones. “Our team goal is to win our 3rd CIF championship in 4 years.” “What is so great about our school and football program is that we are able to openly praise and put God first. We are such a small school that we are like a huge family, everybody knows everybody. ” Say Joey. In the end, the gridiron accolades are important, but for senior Joey Morones and the Christian Patriots, it extends beyond the Friday night lights. It is the passion for his school and life may bring him that counts the most.


RELL BROUSSARD ST. AUGUSTINE written by Tommy Gutierrez

As with most Saintsmen, Darrell Broussard was destined to wear the Purple and Vegas Gold of St. Augustine High School. “I was in 8th grade when I first heard about St. Augustine, and after hearing about the school, I checked it out and saw how the brotherhood was so strong,” said Broussard. “I went to a game, and I saw how crowded the stands were. And I just knew I wanted to be a Saintsmen…..” Fast forward to 2016, and with all the exceptional players on this Saints roster, you would think it would be difficult to stand out amongst this group. Yet, Darrell Broussard, the 5’10” and 188lbs senior with 4.45 speed, is accomplishing just that by establishing himself as one of the top running backs in San Diego. With offensive standouts like Rodney Thompson, JR Justice, Isaac Taylor-Stuart, and Tariq Thompson, Broussard has become an important part for the success of the St. Augustine offense. And as the season reaches its midpoint, he has produced an impressive 580 total yards (rushing/receiving) with 5 touchdowns. Averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and a whopping 37.0 yards per reception, there is nothing intricate about Broussard’s approach to the game; it is simple, yet effective. “The way I read defenses is to look for their weak areas and use my strength as an advantage,” said

Broussard. “And my plan of attack is to simply run hard and never fumble.” And he recently showcased his skill-sets on the road against a respected Loyola program. A close game until the last minutes, Broussard with only 18 carries, rushed for 158 yards and topped it off with a touchdown to defeat the Los Angeles based private school, 17-14. Changes from the previous season have lent itself well to Broussard’s current success. Not only did he get stronger and faster from the prior season, but he has also learned the importance of making mental adjustments as he explained to me. “The biggest change was more of my mindset because this year, I’m a senior and considered the big man on the team. And this comes with a responsibility of being a leader and being there to support them.” As Darrel Broussard and the Saints enter the second part of the season, don’t expect them to lose momentum. With the anticipated clash against rival Cathedral Catholic and the rugged Open Bowl Division playoffs in clear view, the true season has only just begun…….

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Profile for SDFNL Magazine

SDFNL Magazine - OCT 2016  

CJ Verdell - Mater Dei Jared Adelman - Poway Jojo Morenes - Christian Darnell Brossard - Saint Augustine Milan Grice - Rancho Bernardo Micah...

SDFNL Magazine - OCT 2016  

CJ Verdell - Mater Dei Jared Adelman - Poway Jojo Morenes - Christian Darnell Brossard - Saint Augustine Milan Grice - Rancho Bernardo Micah...