(After games of Nov. 10-12)
One player is chosen from each region of the country. The only other criteria is that no player will be chosen more than once during a season.
Mike Gaval, Mahanoy Area (Mahanoy City, Pa.)
Northwest Area (Shickshinny, Pa.) simply had no answer for Gaval, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound senior quarterback who ran for a school-record 328 yards on just 13 carries in a 41-0 victory in the Eastern Conference Division I playoffs. Gaval had three touchdown runs and completed 3-of-6 passes for 75 yards and a score. His monster performance also gave him the single-season school rushing mark with 1,912 yards, passing the previous record of 1,584. He’ll have a chance to add to it when the Bears play Nativity (Pottsville, Pa.) on Friday night.
Kelvin Taylor, Glades Day (Belle Glade, Fla.)
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound junior running back rushed 34 times for 388 yards and six touchdowns in a 43-22 regular season finale win over South Fork (Stuart, Fla.). The son of former NFL running back Fred Taylor scored on his team's first six possessions. On the season, Taylor has carried 232 times for 2,329 yards and 33 TDs. It pushed his last three-year total to 7,391 rushing yards and 113 touchdowns. Taylor played on the varsity as an eighth-grader when he gained 1,584 yards with 28 scores, but pre-freshman marks aren't included in national record listings. The Florida mark of 8,804 yards, with 106 TDs was set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith of Pensacola Escambia from 1983-86.
Cooper Rush, Lansing Catholic (Lansing, Mich.)
This 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior quarterback set four state passing records in a 61-13, Division 5 playoff victory over Dowagiac (Dowagiac, Mich.). The Central Michigan recruit completed 26-of-29 passes for 549 yards and eight touchdowns while playing only one series in the second half and passed for a score on each of his eight possessions for the Cougars (12-0). His state records were for 21 straight completions, eight TDs in a game, seven in a half and five in a quarter. He connected with senior wide receiver Matt Macksood on 10 passes for 303 yards and four scores.
Justice Hansen, Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.)
One of the top turnaround teams in the nation this year is Santa Fe under first-year coach Lance Manning, who has been greatly aided in his reclamation project by the success of Hansen, a promising 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore quarterback. The Wolves were just 1-9 last season, but improved to 10-1 over the weekend after a 41-10 victory in the Class 6A state playoffs against Eisenhower (Lawton, Okla.). Hansen led the way as he completed 26-of-33 passes for 374 yards and four touchdowns. He also added a rushing score. Hansen has passed for 2,204 yards and 23 touchdowns for the season with just five interceptions. Major colleges are already reportedly interesting in the super soph, whose squad faces perennial power Jenks (Jenks, Okla.) this week.
Jordan Todd, Interlake (Bellevue, Wash.)
He might be small at 5-foot-7 and 180 pounds, but Todd packs quite a punch with the ball in his hands. The senior running back surged for 432 yards on 30 carries and scored five touchdowns last Friday as Interlake topped Franklin Pierce (Tacoma, Wash.), 47-41, in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs. Todd has been electric for the 5-6 Saints, who play in a league against much larger schools, including FAB 50-ranked Bellevue (Bellevue, Wash.). Todd has five touchdowns on kickoff returns and enters this week’s playoff game against Lynden (Lynden, Wash.) with 2,410 yards and 24 touchdowns for the season. He has a chance to break the state record of 2,676 yards set in 1997 by Matthias Wilson of Ferndale (Ferndale, Wash.).