High School Sports

Prep football preview: If defense wins championships, these guys could have a trophy

These are the Sacramento-area high school football players to watch for in 2019

The Bee's Joe Davidson lists the Sacramento high school football players to watch out for in 2019. See if your team's top players made the list.
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The Bee's Joe Davidson lists the Sacramento high school football players to watch out for in 2019. See if your team's top players made the list.

Stop us if you’ve heard of this one: Defense wins championships.

Yeah, yeah.

It’s all truth, and in this era of wide-open football with an all-out assault on the end zone, it’s the defensive stoppers who have the most heat placed on their shoulder pads.

As the high school football season looms in Sacramento, two of the region’s top tacklers return for more tackling delight in Marcus Jones of Monterey Trail and Grady Manley of Lincoln.

The linebackers were in on a combined 289 stops in 2018 for playoff teams.

Here’s a peek at some top area stoppers, based on personal observation, coaching input and recruiting profiles.

Jordan Andersen, Rocklin, 5-11, 175, Sr.

A standout corner who makes tackles for a defensive-minded bunch.

Abraham Banks, Rio Linda, 5-9, 175, Sr.

Played QB, special teams, safety and linebacker for CIF State champions.

Davion Blackwell, Folsom, 6-1, 195, Sr.

The linebacker has multiple scholarship offers and plays hard and fast.

Ginneral Bright, Sheldon, 5-9 225, Sr.

The linebacker had 84 tackles for the Delta League champions in 2018.

Michael Briscoe, Vacaville, 6-1, 185, Sr.

Briscoe had six interceptions for a playoff team.

Zach Brooks, Davis, 6-0, 225, Jr.

Brooks had 112 tackles for a playoff team that aims for a Delta title now.

Mason Brown, Casa Roble, 6-2, 215, Sr.

A 4.0 student, Casa coaches expect him to lead the section in tackles.

Cameron Broussard, Folsom, 6-1, 175, Sr.

A transfer from Cosumnes Oaks, CB is a terrific corner CB.

Aiden Foster, Del Oro, 6-1, 195, Sr.

Also a punishing runner with linebacker tenacity, Foster leads the Golden Eagles D.

Tanner Gomes, Rocklin, 5-10, 180, Sr.

A safety who is the quarterback of the defense expecting a bounceback season.

Kaleb Higgins, Folsom, 6-0, 185, Jr.

Already a national recruit corner, with offers from Texas A&M and Boston College.

Justin Hope,Capital Christian, 5-10, 205, Sr.

After logging 116 tackles for a 13-1 team, can the linebacker do more of the same?

Kade Jordan, 5-8, 170, Elk Grove, Sr.

With 81 tackles, Jordan played big in the secondary in 2018.

Marcus Jones, Monterey Trail, 6-0, 190, Sr.

Jones had 147 stops for a 12-1 team, the best in school history.

Austin Mahrt, Woodcreek, 5-11, 220, Sr.

Mahrt was a linebacking leader for the program’s finest team in 2018.

Grady Manley, Lincoln, 6-3, 230, Sr.

A relentless competitor, Manley was the man with 142 tackles in 2018.

Markus Martinez, Marysville, 5-11, 170, Sr.

Led the section with eight interceptions in 2018.

Malcolm McGlothin, Sheldon, 5-11, 200, Jr.

MM had 89 tackles for an unbeaten Delta League power.

Nick Richmond, Granite Bay, 6-0, 170, Sr.

Coaches rave about his motor and leadership abilities in the secondary.

Khalani Riddick, Elk Grove, 6-0, 170, Sr.

Big time production with seven interceptions and 71 tackles to go with special teams touchdowns.

Johnny Serrano, Rio Linda, 6-0, 175, Sr.

Three-year starter had 107 tackles and played offense and special teams.

Jack Spithorst, Elk Grove, 5-11, 185, Sr.

Coaches say he hits like a “jackhammer” – and no wonder. Wants to be a Marine.

Others: Kevin Adams, Monterey Trail; Christian Awwad, Rocklin; Gabriel Brown, Sheldon; Dylan DeCelle, Casa Roble; Deyvon Drayton, Sacramento; Ryan Enney, Oak Ridge; Jesse Frank, Antelope; Joaquin Gamez, Capital Christian; Noah Kunce, Bradshaw Christian; Reed Mercer, Christian Brothers; Sean Myles, Oakmont; Hunter Nabers, Oak Ridge; Matt Nickerson, Pleasant Grove; Nolan O’Harran, Rocklin; Seth Pearce, Union Mine; Jackson Reese, Bradshaw Christian; Hayden Rogers, Dixon; Dyllan Richard, Folsom; Kenndel Riley, Capital Christian; Peter Silva, Mesa Verde; Kai Singleton, Granite Bay; Terelle Sparks, Grant; Joe Storey, Del Campo; Quvonte Thomas, Antelope; Josiah Tyes, Inderkum.

Who’d we miss: Email us thoughts and players to jdavidson@sacbee.com

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Joe Davidson has covered sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988 and is award-winning authority on high school sports, specializing in going behind the scenes. Davidson was a high school athlete in Oregon, where he participated in football and track.