2. John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) WR/KR/DB Sr.
With 49 catches for 752 yards and nine touchdowns on offense plus six
interceptions on defense and some other eye-opening plays on special
teams, Smith fits right in with some of the top players that Poly has
ever had. To top the race for Mr. Football, he’ll likely need to shine
from the first week on and Poly also may need to win or at least get to
the final of the loaded CIFSS Pac-5 Division.
5. Damien Mama (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) OL Sr.
Dominating lineman have won Mr. Football before and there’s a scenario
that could vault the massive 370-pound Mama that high. As managing
editor Ronnie Flores points out, “How about if Bosco goes 16-0 and he
dominates the open game and is clearly the best player on the team?”
Damien could be that good and he definitely will be the one player on
the field that may be most noticeable in just about every game the
Braves will play.
9. Das Tautalatasi (De La Salle, Concord) RB/DB Sr.
Since the Spartans have won four straight CIF Open Division titles and
have had a strong candidate for Mr. Football in each of those seasons
(including 2012 winner Michael Hutchings), it looks like Tautalatasi
could be that player coming up. He’ll likely be the No. 1 running back
on offense where he’ll score a lot of touchdowns, but he also figures to
be a feature player in the secondary as a safety. He’s the type of
player who could score three times and come up with two picks in a CIF
Open Division final and that type of outing could go far in determining
Other possible Mr. Football candidates
Ainuu Taua (Lompoc): The state’s No. 1 defensive
lineman according to our own top 25 position rankings, Taua was
sensational at The Opening in July. Also one of the top interior tackles
in the nation.