High school coaches often talk in gushing terms about their star players. But when a coach spent nine seasons playing in the NFL, the praise has a different ring to it.
“If you’ve ever had a guy on a team that you wanted to lead a team and be an example for everybody, that’s Jason Warren,” Coronado linebackers coach Brian Noble said. “I think Jason was born to be a linebacker. He’s just so natural at it. It’s almost scary.”
The play of Warren, who was named the Southeast League’s Defensive Most Valuable Player, was a big reason the Cougars earned a home playoff game in the Sunrise Region playoffs. Warren is Coronado’s leading tackler from his middle linebacker position. And Noble, who spent nine seasons with the Green Bay Packers, knows a thing or two about the position.
“He has what I would consider the total package,” Noble said. “There really isn’t a deficiency in Jason’s game. He plays the pass equally as well as the run. I’ve never seen a surer tackler than what Jason is. When he gets to a guy, the guy’s going down.”
Noble concedes he hasn’t spent much time coaching high school players, but his experience playing at football’s top level give his words impact.
“This is my first high school experience, but having the background that I do, there’s not many guys that approach the game the way Jason does,” Noble said. “He studies. He’s here every morning at 6 o’clock for film.”
Basic’s Devonte Boyd and Liberty’s Kai Nacua shared the Southeast’s Offensive MVP award. Boyd has caught 60 passes for 1,061 yards and 17 touchdowns. Nacua has done a bit of everything for the league champion Patriots, passing for 715 yards and five TDs, rushing for 462 yards and nine TDs and catching eight passes for 284 yards and three scores.
First-year Coronado coach Brad Talich was the Southeast Coach of the Year.
Northeast League champion Green Valley took two of the top three awards in that league. Coach Brian Castro was named Coach of the Year, and defensive lineman Sam McAloon was the Defensive MVP.
Canyon Springs’ Donnel Pumphrey, who has rushed for 1,366 yards and 18 touchdowns, was the Offensive MVP.
In the Northwest League, Arbor View offensive lineman Elijah George showed how big an impact he has had without touching the football, sharing the league’s Offensive MVP award with Durango’s Marcus Sanders-Williams, who has rushed for 1,100 yards and 18 TDs.
Arbor View’s Beau Dixon, who leads the Aggies with 99 tackles, took the Northwest’s Defensive MVP award, and his coach, Dan Barnson, got the coaching honor.
Top-ranked Bishop Gorman swept the awards in the Southwest League. Quarterback Jarrett Solomon, who has completed 70.6 percent of his passes for 2,059 yards and 27 touchdowns, was the Offensive MVP. Jake Smirk, who has 43 tackles and 4½ sacks, was the Defensive MVP, and Tony Sanchez was Coach of the Year.