by Joey Crandall, email@example.com
What follows is a list – and let me preface it by saying that it is by no means a comprehensive one. These aren’t necessarily the 10 best high school football players in Northern Nevada, and they aren’t listed in any particular order. Very simply, these are the 10 players I, as a high school football fan, am most looking forward to seeing play again this season. They caught my eye last year, and I want to make sure you don’t miss them this year. So here are the 10 players I think you should be on the lookout for in the 2013 season:
Jordan Deleon, RB, sr., 5-10, 220 pounds, Reed: Ask anyone about Northern Nevada football this year and Hunter Fralick is one of the first names that will pop up (more on that in a second). A name you probably won’t hear as much coming into the year is Jordan Deleon. The senior backed up all-region running back Ty Shepard last year, and saw limited time late in a lot of contests. He tallied 298 rushing yards, but averaged 8.51 yards per carry. He enters this year as one of the strongest ball carriers in the state. With Reed’s ability to spread defenses across the field with its passing game and tendency to keep the ball on the ground late once games are out of reach, look for Deleon to have a huge season.
Hunter Fralick, QB, 6-3, 200 pounds, Spanish Springs: Fralick threw for 5,300 yards over his first two varsity seasons, completing 63 percent of his passes last year. He rushed for 5.6 yards per carry last season and he has more returning receivers than just about anyone in Northern Nevada. Fralick enters the season having already committed to the University of Nevada. He is considered a three-star recruit, according to ESPN, and is the No. 52 ranked pocket passer in the country.
Cliff Porter, TE/DE, sr., 6-5, 250, Hug: Porter, who also has already committed to the University of Nevada, was a hidden treasure in the league last year. He’ll cause opposing offensive linemen plenty of headaches and could be a big part of Hug attempting to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Eric Anderson, DL, sr., 6-2,, 230, Galena: The reigning Sierra League Lineman of the Year was also a first-time all-state selection last season. Scouts like his quickness and ability to break into the pocket. Galena is traditionally very hard to run the ball against, and Anderson will be a big reason why this season.
Aaron Cowee, OL, sr., 6-4, 270 pounds, Carson: The first-team all-region lineman gets off the line quickly and can plow through traffic on combination blocks. Carson has plenty of ball carriers to work with, and they’ll get plenty of room with Cowee leading the way.
Trae Wells, WR, sr. Reed, 6-2, 185: Another Reed player who put up nice numbers in a supporting role last year, Wells should be among the region’s top receivers this season. Reed coaches up so many very good receivers, that a great receiver becomes nearly impossible to cover. Wells’ height and speed gives the Raiders an excellent deep option down the sidelines.
Ollie Graybar, K, sr., Reno, 5-10, 200 pounds: Graybar was the first-team all-region kicker and earned an all-American honor from kickingworld.com as a punter. He booted 24 of his 37 kickoffs for touchbacks, converted 24 of 26 point-after attempts and hit eight of 13 field goals, with a season-long of 48 yards.
Lucas Weber, RB, 6-2, 200, McQueen: Weber helped kick-start the Lancers’ season into gear in 2012 when he took on an increased workload five games into the year. He’s a big, physical back who rushed for 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. He’s hard to bring down and has the moves to get around, or past would-be tacklers for those extra two or three yards
Wes Hundley, WR/DB/QB, sr., Douglas, 5-9, 150: Hundley enters his third season with the Douglas varsity and will likely fill a variety of roles for the Tigers. He was a solid receiver for Douglas last season (second-team all-league), catching 36 passes for 320 yards and also served as the Tigers’ backup quarterback, tossing two touchdown passes. He can run with the ball and also played corner back on defense. He’ll likely do a bit of it all again this season, depending on how the quarterback competition shakes out during the next three weeks. What will make him especially interesting to watch this season is the variety of skills he brings to individual plays, and his ability to line up at multiple spots out of the huddle. We’ll call him the most interesting “X-factor” heading into the year.
Austin Rukthavornsakul, TE/DL, sr., 6-2, 230 pounds, McQueen: Big tight end that will be as much a part of the Lancer’s traditionally strong run game as he will be an aerial threat. McQueen has a way of pounding the ball on the ground and then using the tight end as a dagger when you’re not looking for it. Rukthavornsakul is the ideal fit for that role.