The West Catholic Athletic League has named St. Ignatius two-way star Teddye Buchanan its player of the year, the league announced on Monday.
Buchanan and seven other Wildcats were named to the WCAL First Team, including record-setting senior Danny Ryan, who was also named the league’s best wide receiver.
A year after being limited to defense due to injuries, Buchanan — starting at quarterback and linebacker — guided St. Ignatius (9-3, 6-1 in WCAL) to a historic season, which included a share of its first league title since 2006 and its first win over Serra since 2005.
“He’s fitting of it, in terms of what that player has always represented,” said head coach John Regalia. “I think it’s deserving of him.”
Early last season, Buchanan cracked his thumb and sprained his ACL. He was still an All-City selection by The Examiner, and a first-team All-WCAL outside linebacker. When he returned to the offensive side of the ball at the start of this season, he served as part of a two-man quarterbacking crew, splitting time with 2018 WCAL Junior of the Year Zachary Taylor-Smith.
“There are a lot of layers to Teddye,” Regalia said. “The things we see on the field are the easy things to see. He’s a tremendous athlete, a very special athlete … but you pair that with that competitive drive and competitive spirit that he has, and together, that allows him to be a great producer on the field.”
Buchanan wound up taking the majority of reps back of center in an offense that demands a lot out of its quarterback, completing 205 of 249 passes (71%) for 1,785 yards and 18 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. He also rushed for a 557 yards and nine touchdowns on 90 attempts — all team-highs — and gaining 6.2 yards per carry.
On defense, playing against run-heavy teams both up at the line and off the line, having to diagnose plays and trigger quickly, he made 83 tackles during the regular season, including 39 solo stops, with six tackles for loss, plus team-highs in sacks (6), quarterback pressures (5) a team-high six sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also added three pass breakups.
“He’s a very impactful and inspirational person,” Regalia said. “Through his leadership and his play and his performance and his ability to pull guys in and challenge with his voice, all those things collectively, together, sum this up for me.”
Ryan didn’t even play football last fall, choosing to focus on lacrosse and basketball. He quickly became one of Buchanan’s favorite targets, catching 22 passes for 390 yards in the first three games alone. The senior finished having set a WCAL single-season record with 57 catches in league play, finishing with 86 overall on 119 targets (107 catchable) for 1,216 yards (14.1 ypc), with only four drops on the season, making for an 80% consistency rating, as calculated by the Wildcats staff. He had 19 explosive plays (catches of 20 yards or more) and 12 touchdowns on the season.
The league’s co-champions saw eight players named to the All-WCAL first team, headed by Buchanan and Ryan, and including lineman Jack Burnett, running back/defensive back Joe Celentano (404 rushing yards, 4 TDs on 90 carries), junior linebacker Siaki Gallegos-Hunkin (during the regular-season, a team-high 102 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 5.5 sacks), UCLA-bound two-way lineman Beau Gardner, junior two-way lineman Seta Netane and senior linebacker Jafer Snipes (75 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, four QB pressures, two pass breakups).
Archbishop Riordan, which finished at 3-7 and opened their brand-new multi-sport facility with a win over Sacred Heart Cathedral in its final game of the year, saw four first-team selections. The first-team Crusaders included senior linebacker Ian Ramese Tupulua (9.5 sacks, 51 tackles, 6.0 TFL), senior linebacker Lavaka Kefu (271 rushing yards on 29 carries, 2 catches for 22 yards, 84 tackles, 46 solo stops, 9.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles), junior defensive back and receiver Zach Charlton (7 catches for 145 receiving yards; 1 INT, 36 tackles, 6.0 TFL) and wide receiver/DB Aden Jackson (441 rushing yards and 2 TDs on 49 attempts, 96 receiving yards on 11 catches, 73 punt return yards).
The Fightin’ Irish (0-10) had three first-team selections in quarterback Cian Dowling, receiver/DB Tyrice Ivy Jr. and two-way lineman Evan Branch-Haynes.
Other San Francisco All-WCAL players:
Second team: St. Ignatius senior linebacker Andrew Cummings, senior defensive back Deven Enos, junior defensive lineman and tight end Duke Reeder (a Cornell lacrosse commit); Riordan junior quarterback Azaan Ledbetter, senior two-way lineman Gabe Martin, sophomore defensive lineman/fullback Kemoe’atu Kefu; Sacred Heart Cathedral senior two-way lineman Cathal Coakley, senior defensive lineman Stephen McCarthy and junior receiver/safety/kicker Dara Keane.
Honorable mention: St. Ignatius senior defensive lineman and tight end James Adams; senior running back and linebacker Danny Burke, junior two-way lineman Gavin Dunn, junior two-way lineman David Lewis, senior defensive lineman and tight end Marcello Villavicencio; Riordan senior linebacker Raymond Russell, sophomore defensive back and running back Jaren Estillore, junior running back Fazon Ruth (who rushed for 974 yards and 10 touchdowns on 153 carries), sophomore two-way lineman Ondrei Leesane Angeles and sophomore two-way lineman Joseph Harbert; Sacred Heart Cathedral junior two-way lineman Geoffrey Hester, junior running back Kierman Cormican, sophomore receiver/DB Aiden Shea, sophomore receiver/DB Bruce Uperesa and sophomore offensive lineman Grant Garlow.