ESPNHS Football Players of the Week

(After games of Dec. 1-Dec. 3)

One player is chosen from each region of the country. No player can be chosen more than once during a season


Gino Bianconi, Wheeling Central Catholic (Wheeling, W.Va.)

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior running back set all-class Super Six state championship game records for rushing yards, rushing and total touchdowns, and carries in a 35-21 win over previously-unbeaten Williamstown (Williamstown, W. Va.) in the Class A state title game. It was Central's eighth state title, including the past two, since 2000 and ninth overall. Bianconi ran 39 times for 355 yards and five scores to set all-class records for the three-class Super Six championship event started in 1979. The rushing yards also is believed to be an all-time record for any West Virginia title game. The old Class A mark was 251 yards and 287 for all classes. Bianconi led the 13-1 Maroon Knights with 2,132 yards and 31 touchdowns on 216 carries this season.


Charlie High, Christian Academy of Knoxville (Knoxville, Tenn.)

The 6-foot, 180-pound junior quarterback shattered state championship game records as the Warriors won the Class 3A title with a 49-14 rout of Milan (Milan, Tenn.). He completed a record 32 of 41 passes for 476 yards and seven touchdowns and broke the state title game marks for passing yardage and TDs in the first half. High passed for 377 yards before intermission. He ended his team’s 13-2 season with four state records, including completions (357), attempts (484) and totals of 5,191 yards and 65 touchdowns.


Adam Wallace, Norwayne (Creston, Ohio)

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior quarterback led the Bobcats to the Division IV state championship over Kenton (Kenton, Ohio), home of Maty Mauk, national record holder and Ohio Mr. Football. Wallace accounted for seven TDs in Norwayne’s 48-42 win, including a nine-play, 80-yard game-winning drive capped by a 31-yard TD pass with just 31 seconds left. Wallace completed 16-of-25 passes for 282 yards and four scores and rushed 30 times for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Mauk passed for 421 yards and five scores and ran for 50 yards and one TD. Mauk’s final national career record totals will stand at 18,932 yards and 219 touchdowns.


Christian McCaffrey, Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)

Just a sophomore, the son of former Denver Broncos’ receiver Ed McCaffrey was the standout player as Valor Christian rolled over Pine Creek (Colorado Springs, Colo.) 66-10 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in the Class 4A state championship. McCaffrey rushed 15 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns, caught four passes for 127 yards and two more scores and also played defense. Christian’s older brother, senior Max McCaffrey, also scored in the game on a 21-yard interception return. Valor Christian won its third straight state title and completed a 14-0 season. There are some who believe the Eagles should be considered the best team overall in Colorado, while others like 14-0 Class 5A champion Columbine (Littleton, Colo.). If the two were playing an extra game this week, McCaffrey would be one player the Rebels would have to worry about.


Cole Gautsche, Cleveland (Rio Rancho, N.M.)

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior quarterback had a very good week. It began when he was chosen as the Gatorade State Player of the Year. It ended when the student-athlete with a 3.79 GPA led Cleveland, a school that has had football for just three years, to its first state championship. In a 48-28 win over perennial state power Mayfield (Las Cruces, N.M.), Gautsche passed for 302 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for 60 yards and kicked 6 of 7 PATs. Cleveland went on a 34-0 scoring blitz in the second half to cap a 13-0 season. Gautsche, who has committed to New Mexico State, ended his season with 3,085 yards passing and 39 touchdowns. He also had more than 1,000 yards rushing.