Empire football players earn all-state recognition

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Top performers in Empire prep football have earned all-state accolades for their efforts this past season.

Leading the group recognized by Cal-Hi Sports is Sonoma County League Player of the Year Darrian Roman, from Windsor. The senior running back and linebacker made the All-State Fourth Team as a two-way player. Roman ran for nearly 100 yards per game and was fourth on the Jaguars in tackles as Windsor went undefeated and captured the North Coast Section Division 2 championship.

Four players made the All-State Medium Schools team.

On the first team were a pair of seniors, Casa Grande’s Thomas Kupelian and Cardinal Newman’s Steven Tomasin. Kupelian, an offensive lineman, was the SCL lineman of the year. Tomasin, a running back and linebacker, was the North Bay League Most Valuable Player.

Second-team honors went to Cardinal Newman linebacker Phil Wright and Casa Grande defensive back Steven Bentley. Both seniors, Wright and Bentley were first team all-league selections — Wright on defense in the NBL and Bentley at both wide receiver and defensive back in the SCL.

Cal-Hi Sports also named an All-State Underclass Team.

Making the Second Team Juniors as a two-way player was Casa Grande’s Elijah Qualls. Qualls, a defensive lineman and running back, made the SCL all-league squad on offense.

Also from Casa Grande was quarterback JaJuan Lawson, named to the First Team Sophomores as a multipurpose player.

LANE, BERG CHOOSE SCHOOLS

El Molino runner Nicole Lane and Ukiah football player Chris Berg have committed to playing at four-year colleges.

Lane, an All NorCal girls’ cross country selection, will be running cross country and track for UC Davis. In a breakout cross country season last fall, Lane finished 41st at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships West Regional after winning the North Coast Section Division 4 race and placing seventh at the state meet.

Berg, an All-North Bay League running back, will play football for Waldorf College, an NAIA program in Forest City, Iowa. The Wildcats’ leading rusher with nearly 100 yards per game last season, Berg also is an all-league wrestler and among the NCS leaders in the sport.

You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or mike.coit@pressdemocrat.com.