A dominating running back, an indomitable lineman and two highly touted quarterbacks join Metro Area Player of the Year Michael Barton, a linebacker from De La Salle-Concord, as regional football players of the year.
San Francisco - Valentino Miles (Sacred Heart Cathedral): The bullish 5-foot-11, 210-pound running back rushed for 1,610 yards and 18 touchdowns and added 514 yards and four scores on 34 receptions, leading the Irish to the Central Coast Section Division III title game. With deceptive 4.51 40-yard speed and superb lower body strength, the third-year starter broke away for five TD runs of 40 yards or more, including an 84-yarder in a 38-14 win over St. Ignatius. In that contest, Miles rushed for a career high 327 yards and added four catches for 58 yards. He scored all six Irish TDs in a 42-23 CCS semifinal win over Christopher-Gilroy. "He was a dominating force," Sacred Heart Cathedral coach John Lee said.
East Bay - Freddie Tagaloa (Salesian-Richmond): The 6-7, 315-pound senior dominated both sides of the ball while leading the Pride to a 13-0 season and NCS Division IV title. Tagaloa, who's given a verbal commitment to Cal, is ranked the nation's 69th best overall recruit by MaxPreps.com. He paved the way for an offense that piled up 420 yards and 42.8 points per game. Tagaloa is considered the Bay Area's most sought-after interior lineman since De La Salle's Aaron Taylor and Derek Landri, who reached the NFL. "Those guys were ahead of Freddie in terms of experience and being aggressive in high school," Salesian coach Chad Nightingale said. "But Freddie is 3 inches taller than both those guys and weighs 35 pounds more. In terms of upside and physical ability, I can't imagine there's anyone in the nation with more."