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Football: Area standouts earn all-region, all-state nods

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Empire prep football standouts have been named to All-State and All-Northern California teams.

Cardinal Newman linebacker Phil Wright was a first team defender on the MaxPreps California Division III All-State squad. Wright, a senior, also made the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Small Schools first team defense.

Another first team selection was Analy wide receiver and defensive back Aaron Maher, making the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Medium Schools squad as a multi-purpose player. Maher also was named second team offense on the MaxPreps California Division III All-State squad, and the Tigers senior was selected to the MaxPreps All-Northern California team.

St. Vincent quarterback Mitch Sheppard, a senior, was named to the second team offense on the MaxPreps California Division IV All-State squad. Sheppard, also a defensive back and kicker, made the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Small Schools second team as a multi-purpose player.

Making the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Medium Schools second team on defense was Piner senior defensive back Natu Hezchias.

Casa Grande defensive lineman Elijah Qualls, a senior, earned Cal-Hi Sports All-State third team defense recognition.