SF Preps: Four San Francisco football players earn high honors as WCAL hands out awards

A pair of San Francisco-area quarterbacks have been recognized by the West Catholic Athletic League, as its list of all-league and players of the year was released on Monday morning.

St. Ignatius junior quarterback Zachary Taylor-Smith earned Junior Player of the Year honors, while Serra signal caller Luke Bottari was named the league’s Quarterback of the Year. Bottari, a senior, completed 137 of 197 passes for 1,725 yards and 17 touchdowns to seven interceptions this season, and ran 59 times for 171 yards and seven more scores.

In three varsity seasons, Bottari completed 419-of-617 passes (67.9 percent) for 5,616 yards and 56 touchdowns, with 19 interceptions. He also rushed for 362 yards on 165 carries, scoring 14 touchdowns on the ground. Bottari finished his career 30-12.

Serra senior Malakai Rango, who stepped in as one of the primary weapons this season as a receiver and kick returner, not to mention his work as a defensive back, earned co-Utility Player of the Year honors, sharing it with Sacred Heart Cathedral running back and kick returner Anthony Heard, who rushed for over 1,000 yards for the Irish, despite missing a game due to a concussion, and was also an ace kickoff return man and defender.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Rango rushed 17 times for 334 yards and eight touchdowns, caught 21 passes for 262 yards and five touchdowns, made 46 tackles and 4.0 tackles for loss, picked off one pass, returned two kickoffs for 42 yards and returned three punts for 122 yards.

Heard rushed for 1,150 yards and tallied 450 receiving yards, scoring 15 touchdowns. On defense, he had 45 total tackles, 10 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and eight tackles for loss.

The All-WCAL First Team includes Bottari as the lone quarterback, along with Serra teammates E.J. Lahlouh (linebacker/running back), Rango, running back Nate Sanchez and two-way lineman Vince Campana.

St. Ignatius, which found its way into the playoffs despite only three regular-season wins thanks to a punishing schedule, saw senior captain Mark Biggins make the All-WCAL first team as a running back and defensive back, along with junior outside linebacker Teddye Buchanan, senior linemen Jack Dyke and Ethan Mann, and senior captain, defensive back Lance Sell.

Sacred Heart Cathedral landed five players on the all-league first team, including Heard, linebacker Rafael Cervantez, two-way lineman Spencer Goldfein, receiver/defensive back LeVar Watkins Jr. and receiver/defensive back Kelekolio Mateo.

Archbishop Riordan, which is looking for a head coach to replace the promoted Jay’Sen Morris, got four players on the first team despite a 1-9 season. Talented and athletic Marcus Williams, who played receiver and defensive back, heads the list, followed by lineman Ian Tupulua, linebacker Dalton Mitchell and running back/defensive back Jalen Camp.

Second-team entries from the Padres included junior wide receiver Terence Loville, junior linebacker Jackson Lataimua, junior lineman Nate Azzopardi and junior defensive back and kicker Damon Lewis.

The Irish also had four second-teamers, headed by sophomore two-way super-athletic lineman Evan Branch-Haynes (who played halfback last season, and even ran in a two-point conversion this year), senior defender David Irwin, senior linebacker Evan Dere and senior receiver/kicker/punter Cormac Slattery.

The Wildcats’ four second-teamers included senior tight end Bryan Blake, sophomore linebacker sensation Siaki Gallegos-Hunkin (who was called up from JV for the home stretch and immediately became a force), junior lineman Beau Gardner and Taylor-Smith.

The Crusaders’ quartet included senior receiver.defensive back Joshua DeJesus, quarterback-turned-receiver Adham Abdelghani (was named to the team as a receiver), running back/defensive back Lavaka Kefu and junior lineman Raymond Russell.

San Francisco WCAL Honorable Mention:


Marcellus Eison, junior DT
Daylin McLemore, junior DB
Patrick Simon, senior WR
Michael Churich, senior WR/DE
Jason Venturi, senior DE

Sacred Heart Cathedral:

Cathal Coakley, junior OL/DL
Tyrice Ivy Jr., sophomore WR/DB
Geoffrey Hester, sophomore OL
Kieron Collins, senior OL
Tucker Brown, sophomore LB

St. Ignatius:

Will Burkett, senior LB
Declan Elias, senior OL/DL
Cormac Gallagher, senior FB
Jahsai Shannon, sophomore RB/DB
Mark Stephens, senior DB

Archbishop Riordan:

Michael Estrada, senior OL/DL
Matthew Yeung, senior LB
Tualatai Aumatagi Jr., sophomore DB
Zach Charlton, junior DB
Azaan Ledbetter, sophomore QB

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