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Caleb Furst named 2020-21 HIGHSCORE Indiana High School Basketball Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
Caleb Furst named 2020-21 MaxPreps Indiana High School Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Caleb Furst of Blackhawk Christian (Fort Wayne) is the 2020-21 MaxPreps Indiana High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-10, 210-pound senior helped the Braves go 28-3 en route to their second straight Class 2A state championship.

Furst averaged 21.5 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.1 blocks per contest, finishing his four-year run as the program's all-time leading scorer with 2,087 career points.

In Blackhawk Christian's 55-40 state title game victory over Parke Heritage, Furst overcame early foul trouble to score 18 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to go along with seven rebounds and six blocks.

Signed with Purdue, Furst is regarded as the No. 54 prospect in the Class of 2021 by 247Sports. He held additional college offers from Iowa, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford and Virginia among others.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team, which is scheduled to be released April 13.
Caleb Furst drives during a December game against Hamilton Southeastern.
Photo by Tyler Hart
Caleb Furst drives during a December game against Hamilton Southeastern.
California high school football: HIGHSCORE Top 25 Southern Section preseason rankings - HIGHSCORE
California high school football: MaxPreps Top 25 Southern Section preseason rankings
It's undeniable. Everyone around California knows the big dog on the farm is the Southern Section, especially when it comes to high school football.

With 581 schools, the Southern Section is more than three times the size of the next largest of the 10 sections, the Sac-Joaquin Section with 174. Only eight states boast more schools.

But well beyond numbers, the Southern Section demonstrates yearly its quality in athletics, including football. Especially at the top. St. John Bosco is the defending MaxPreps National Champion with Mater Dei ranking No. 2 in 2019.

Those two programs have hovered around the nation's top for the past half-decade and have separated from the talent-rich Southern California pack. The two schools seem to produce approximately 10 FBS prospects per class.

Lately, it's been a case of which school is No. 3 in the section. For more than a decade, public school power Centennial (Corona) has battled for one of the top three spots, however in an abbreviated 2021, a new team has emerged as the No. 3 contender.

With so many athletes opting out of the two-month, five-to-six game season, picking a Top 25 is clearly unclear. No playoffs in section, regionals or state will be played. But here's our best shot.
DJ Harvey, Sierra Canyon
File photo by Larry Gasinski
DJ Harvey, Sierra Canyon
MaxPreps Top 25 Southern Section football rankings

1. Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 12-1 (2019 record)
Ranked No. 1 or 2 nationally the last three seasons, these Monarchs would have very likely made it season No. 4. And with all the highly ranked sophomore and juniors, 2021 and 2022 look more than promising as well. Ten Monarchs made Zack Poff's preseason All-State squad, including the top-rated running back, junior Raleek Brown, and linebacker, Raesjon Davis.

2. St. John Bosco (Bellflower), 13-1
There's no more DJ Uiagalelei, but his 6-5, 263-pound sophomore brother Matayo Uiagalelei is even bigger and plays tight end. The defending national champs and Mater Dei could be 1A and 1B every season it seems. Preposterous collection of FBS talent, including the state's top-ranked offensive (Earnest Greene) and defensive (Nathan Burrell) linemen.

3. Servite (Anaheim), 7-4

When you have the top ranked quarterback (Noah Fifita), wide receiver (Tetairoa McMillan) and tight end (Keyan Burnett) in the state, chances are you'll have a strong squad.

It's difficult for public schools to keep up with the privates, especially during a pandemic, but Centennial has with big rosters and one of the best coaches in the state, Matt Logan. They'll be without the nation's No. 1 recruit Korey Foreman, who opted out, but the Huskies should continue their 55-game win streak in league.

The Trailblazers have loads of talent, led by Virginia Tech-bound DJ Harvey, a superior all-around athlete, and four-star safety Kamari Ramsey.

The Diablos will be without Peter Costelli under center after he opted out of the spring season, but they return a lot of talent led by California-bound receiver Mavin Anderson and Oregon State-bound linebacker Easton Mascarenas.

Texas-bound quarterback Maalik Murphy takes over as the full time starter for Serra and the five-star recruit checks in as the fourth-rated pro style quarterback in the Class of 2022.

Defense is the strong point of these Warriors, with linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka, cornerback Ephesians Prysock and safety RJ Jones, all 4-star recruits.

USC-bound cornerback Ceyair Wright is one of the top at his position in the country. The Cubs have much more than Wright.

Back-to-back seasons of 9-2 and coach Steve Hagerty definitely feels like team is moving in the right direction.

11. San Clemente, 0-12
The Tritons went 10-2 on the field and reached the Division 2 semifinals, but had to forfeit all 10 wins for using an ineligible player. Leading rusher James Bohls (6-3, 210) and tackler Cole Batson (6-4, 190) return from last season.

12. Grace Brethren (Simi Valley), 12-2
Mikey Zele (1,998 yards passing, 18 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 531 yards rushing) is back at quarterback but will be without top rusher Julien Stokes (1,365 yards, 18 touchdowns) who opted out of the spring season and recently committed to Penn.
 

Semaj Freeman and Derek Boyd  combined to runs for almost 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns and should be workhorses in 2021. Leading receiver Kaylin Moore (35 catches, 408 yards) also is back. The state's top-rated punter Brenden Segovia was selected to the 2021 All-American Bowl.

Junior quarterback Shea Kuykendall appears ready to take over the reigns. A pair of talented receivers in Keyonta Lanier and Kyren Racheal should be at the other end of those passes.

15. Los Alamitos, 4-7
With the state's third rated quarterback, sophomore Malachi Nelson, running the show, the program is in good shape. Another sophomore, Makai Lemon, is ranked the eighth-best sophomore in the state overall after hauling in 800 yards of passes and adding four interceptions as a freshman.

Former Narbonne (Harbor City) head coach Manuel Douglas starts first season and with Arizona State-bound Larry Turner-Gooden as a centerpiece, he's in good shape. Defensive lineman and UNLV signeee Nick Dimitris (6-4, 245) also transferred in.

A very young and promising squad brings back junior quarterback Logan Gonzalez. Another junior Malik Blackmon was the team's top receiver. Senior Ashton Logan is one of the best punters in the nation. He has scholarship to Colorado. 

California-bound defensive end Derek Wilkins will lead the way for a very talented defense.

One of the nation's top offensive lineman Mason Murphy (USC signee) anchors the team and sophomore quarterback Jaxon Potter is a name to keep tabs on from the Class of 2023.

With home grown kids, CDM brings in a new crop of kids who largely backed up a stellar senior group. Some of the key returners, however, are running back Jason Vicencio and top defenders Michael Wein and Kevin Ledezma.

21. Oxnard, 10-2
Quarterback Jaden Jones builds off a tremendous junior season when he threw for almost 2,000 yards, 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He also rushed for six touchdowns.  The team's two two tacklers Anthony Lopez (110) and Tytus Hutchison (91) also return.

Coach Dean Herrington hopes to get back to 2016 and 2017 when the Spirits won a combined 25 games and won a state crown in 2016.

Quarterback Brandon Rose completed almost 70 percent of his passes for 3,087 yards and 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions last season as a sophomore. DJ Watts had 656 yards rushing and seven scores last year as well and Kaden Damico led the team in tackles with 102. Sophomore wide receiver Tiger Bachmeier has already landed offers from Arizona State, Boise State and Pittsburgh.

Hudson Jones had a monster junior season with 207 completions in 291 attempts for 2,599 yards and 33 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Few other skill players return but receiver Cole Monach showed lots of promise in 2019. Billy Hester (84) is the most active returning tackler.

Starting quarterback Zachary Siskowic transferred to Crespi, but back is leading receiver Mason Cotton.

MaxPreps national football editor Zack Poff contributed to this report.
Brandon Rose, Murrieta Valley
File photo by Louis Lopez
Brandon Rose, Murrieta Valley
 
High school football: Nation's No. 1-ranked quarterback, Washington signee Sam Huard breaks state record - HIGHSCORE
High school football: Nation's No. 1-ranked quarterback, Washington signee Sam Huard breaks state record
High school football's top senior quarterback prospect Sam Huard of Kennedy Catholic (Burien) broke the Washington state record for career passing yards Saturday late in the second quarter of a 60-17 home victory over  Kentwood (Covington). The 6-foot-2, 190-pound left-hander entered the game needing 341 yards to break the mark of 13,044 set by current Denver Broncos backup Brett Rypien of Shadle Park (Spokane) from 2011 to 2014.

Huard reached that with a 12-yard completion to Leland Ward just before halftime as Lancers (2-0) took a 34-3 lead at intermission. By then, Huard was 30 of 38 for 384 yards and five touchdowns.

He left the game with 4 minutes, 25 seconds left having completed 40 of 56 passes for 514 yards and eight scores, upping his career totals 13,226 passing yards and 153 touchdowns. The fourth-year starter and Washington signee told his team after the game it would be his last as a Lancer. He starts classes at Washington on Monday. 

"I've said it before and I'll say it now, coaching Sam Huard is what I imagined it would be like to coach Peyton Manning," Kennedy Catholic coach Sheldon Cross told MaxPreps Friday after the team's practice. "He wants to be so great. He does everything right. He's a great person, a great teammate and the players love him.
Kennedy Catholic quarterback Sam Huard broke the state record for career yardage during his team's home game on Saturday against Kentwood.
Photo by Paul Caldwell
Kennedy Catholic quarterback Sam Huard broke the state record for career yardage during his team's home game on Saturday against Kentwood.
"Sam being on top of the list of great Washington quarterbacks is just where he belongs."

Huard is ranked the No. 11 player in the Class of 2021 nationally by 247Sports Composite and his father Damon and uncle Brock both played quarterback in the NFL.

He's carved up opponents throughout his brilliant career, entering the pandemic-shorted 2021 spring season with 11,745 passing yards and 132 touchdowns in just 32 games. He was the MaxPreps Freshman of the Year in 2017.

Running Cross' air raid offense to near perfection, Huard opened the season completing 28 of 37 for 515 yards and seven touchdowns in a 49-14 win over Tahoma. The following week he was 30 of 42 for 444 yards and six scores during a 53-6 win over Decatur.

On Saturday, he completed touchdown passes of 32 and 35 yards to his future Washington teammate Jabez Tinae, and 14- and 11-yard TDs to Arizona State signee Junior Alexander, making it 27-3.

After an interception, the Lancers took over deep in their own territory, zoomed up field before Huard found Ward on a short dump off pass for 12 yards just before halftime to break Rypien's record.
The game was halted briefly in the first half to mark Huard breaking the record.
Photo by Paul Caldwell
The game was halted briefly in the first half to mark Huard breaking the record.
Cross called timeout, a sparse crowd — due to COVID-19 protocols — cheered and he was presented with a giant banner of Huard with a photo of his image and the words "Most passing yards in Washington state history." 

A few plays later, Kennedy Catholic was back in the end zone, where Huard has led them throughout the last four seasons.

Cross said that Huard didn't return to play in order to break the record. He simply wanted to have one more experience with his teammates. By January, most believed there there wasn't going to be a season due to the pandemic. When Washington committed to the spring, Cross said Huard was one of the first to contact him. Huard had always planned to graduate in December after his senior season to attend Washington early. When COVID-19 wiped out the fall season, Cross thought Huard was done.

"He said, 'Coach I can't miss it, I have to play with my guys one more time,' " Cross said. "I wasn't planning on him coming back. He had absolutely nothing to prove. He had his dream school all ready assured. I was in awe that he wanted to come back. It's something I'll always cherish."

Huard led a student driven advocacy group — Student Athletes of Washington (SAW) — and met with Gov. Jay Inslee to help get prep sports back in play. On Friday, in his final academic assignment, he presented a senior project on the importance of high school athletics.

On Saturday, in his final prep athletic assignment, he finished on top of the heap as king of Washington quarterback. On Monday, he's off to college.

"He's obviously way more than just a great high school football player," Cross said. "He's going to do many more great things from here."
Huard leads his teammates onto the field before the game.
Photo by Paul Caldwell
Huard leads his teammates onto the field before the game.
Photo by Paul Caldwell
Photo by Paul Caldwell
Photo by Paul Caldwell
On Senior Day, Sam poses with his father, Damon, and mother, Julie.
Photo by Paul Caldwell
On Senior Day, Sam poses with his father, Damon, and mother, Julie.

 
William Benjamin named 2020-21 HIGHSCORE New Mexico High School Basketball Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
William Benjamin named 2020-21 MaxPreps New Mexico High School Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

William "Deuce" Benjamin of Las Cruces (Las Cruces) is the 2020-21 MaxPreps New Mexico High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-1 junior guard helped the Bulldawgs go 14-1 en route to the Class 5A state championship game.

Benjamin averaged 27.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 87 percent from the free throw line.

Despite falling just shy of capturing their second consecutive state championship, Benjamin recorded 21 points, five rebounds and five assists in his team's state championship game loss.

"Deuce" is the son of Las Cruces head coach William Benjamin, who is 277-90 during his 12-year tenure with the program.
Aminu Mohammed named 2020-21 HIGHSCORE Missouri High School Basketball Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
Aminu Mohammed named 2020-21 MaxPreps Missouri High School Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Aminu Mohammed of Greenwood (Springfield) is the 2020-21 MaxPreps Missouri High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound senior helped the Blue Jays go 20-6 en route to the state quarterfinals.

Mohammed averaged 23.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest while shooting 52 percent from the field.

After transferring from Washington, D.C., Mohammed spent his final three seasons at Greenwood, setting the all-time Springfield area record with 2,709 career points. He finished No. 13 on the all-time scoring list in state history.

Committed to Georgetown, Mohammed is regarded as the No. 19 prospect in the Class of 2021 overall according to 247Sports. The five-star guard also received offers from Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas State, Louisville, Maryland and Oklahoma State among others.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team, which is scheduled to be released April 13.
Aminu Mohammed in action at the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions during his junior season.
Photo by Randy Kemp
Aminu Mohammed in action at the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions during his junior season.