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January 31, 2023

Aptos’ Caden Prichard named Gabilan Division’s top player | All-PCAL football

APTOS—The Pacific Coast Athletic League Gabilan Division is packed with some of the most talented football players in the area on a yearly basis.

That’s why picking the league’s top player is, at times, the hardest decision to make during the annual coaches meeting. 

Aptos High senior and two-way player Caden Prichard made a big case for himself this season. 

Not only was he a threat on both sides of the field, but he also helped the Mariners to their first-ever Gabilan Division title in the program’s history.  

Along with his skillful play, Prichard’s leadership on and off the field was another key factor why coaches within the league named Prichard the Gabilan Division’s Most Valuable Player for 2022.

“I’m extremely proud and honored to be among the other players that have been named before me,” he said. “There’s a lot of talented players in our league, to be named the most valuable is pretty surreal.”

Aptos coach Randy Blankenship broke the news to Prichard a day prior to their Central Coast Section Division II playoff game against St. Ignatius on Nov. 18.

The longtime Mariners coach got a little choked up when he told Prichard, who then jumped for joy knowing he was the division’s best player this season. 

“I had a smile ear to ear and he gave me a big hug,” Prichard said. 

Prichard walked down to the parking lot where he told some teammates and they began chanting “MVP”.  

According to the MontereyBay Preps website, Prichard had 1,038 yards rushing on 101 carries this season. He was 12 yards shy of Palma senior JC Escutia, who had 1,050 yards on 196 carries for the division rushing title. 

Prichard made up for it with 464 yards receiving and 16 catches, giving him 1,502 total yards on offense this season.

He led the Gabilan Division with 17 total touchdowns– 13 rushing and 4 receiving –this season.

Prichard was also a huge presence on defense, helping the Mariners during crucial situations with the game on the line.

Outside of football, Prichard said he knows to stay humble and having a good head on his shoulders is what makes players great.

But once he hits the football field, Prichard wants to be the best football player out there and will do whatever it takes to prove it.

“Oddly enough, I kind of always feel like I’m the best,” he said. “It’s kind of a mindset that I want to take into every game.” 

Last year, Prichard had a breakout performance with 124 yards rushing on 18 carries and two touchdowns in the CCS D-I first round playoff game against St. Francis.

Blaneknship noticed that his stud running back was playing at a different level than he had that season. 

Blankenship told Prichard to keep playing with the same intensity, as well as setting goals for the team and individually. 

Prichard said they all made it pretty clear that a Gabilan Division championship was on the list. The Mariners achieved that goal by finishing as tri-champion along with Palma and Salinas.

“Personally I wanted to lead the league in rushing and touchdowns, I wanted to become the MVP,” Prichard said. “I made that happen.”

Prichard said being recognized as the top player in the league means a lot, especially because the countless hours he put in is paying off.

He’s hopeful this award opens up some doors because he wants to continue his football career at the next level. 

Before that, he’ll be on the Mariners’ track team competing in the 100-meter, 200, 4×100 and the shot put in the upcoming 2023 spring season. 

“I’m just happy to make the people surrounding me proud and I hope that my dad is, too,” Prichard said. “I was supported by a great cast of people and players and I don’t think I could do it without them.”

Below is a list of All-PCAL players who were given individual awards and named to their respective teams within the four divisions.

Gabilan Division 

Aptos High running back Caden Prichard tries to run past Kyle Nava of Salinas High during the teams’ Gabilan league football game in Aptos on Friday night, October 14, 2022. (Raul Ebio -The Pajaronian)

Most Valuable Player: Caden Prichard, Aptos

Co-Offensive Player of the Year: Adam Shaffer, Salinas

Co-Offensive Player of the Year: Logan Saldate, Palma

First team

Adam Shaffer, Salinas, QB

Matt Hood, Aptos, QB

Caden Prichard, Aptos, RB

Dante Aranda, Aptos, RB

JC Escutia, Palma, RB

Nyziah Hunter, Salinas, WR

Emmerson Menjivar Cortez, Salinas, WR

Isaiah Molina, Hollister, WR

Logan Saldate, Palma, WR

Jose Escutia, Palma, OL

Michael Curto, Hollister, OL

Ben Bruno, Aptos, OL

Alex Campbell, Aptos, OL

Jake Freitas, Salinas, OL

Second team

Thomas Nunes, Palma, QB

Abel Galindo, Hollister, RB

Diego Chaidez, Alisal, RB

Lawrence Ingram IV, Aptos, RB

Dayven Marquez, Salinas, RB

Myles Reber, Santa Cruz, WR

Zach Ball, Salinas, WR

Kain Holly, Alvarez, WR

Jesus Maciel, Alisal, WR

Gael Garcia, Alvarez, OL

Anthony Saldana, Salinas, OL

Matthew Villareal, Hollister, OL

Thomas Ducker, Palma, OL

Mander Miller, Aptos, OL

First team defense

Aidan Flynn, Salinas, LB

Collin Mennie, Aptos, LB

Alex Valencia, Hollister, LB

Noah Orozco, Palma, LB

Alex Sewell, Salinas, LB

Emmerson Menjivar Cortez, Salinas, DB

Gabriel Sanchez, Hollister, DB

Blake Byers, Aptos, DB

Drew Molinari, Palma, DB

Asher Kearns, Hollister, DL

Chance Brown, Hollister, DL

Jordi Martinez, Aptos, DL

Thomas Ducker, Palma, DL

Malakai Ross-Graves, Santa Cruz, DL

Second team defense

Owen Sargenti, Palma, LB

Isaiah Romero, Salinas, LB

Maliki Harrison, Hollister, LB

Jacob Peinado, Alvarez, LB

Damion Gonzales, Alisal, DB

Angel David Mandujano, Alisal, DB

Myles Reber, Santa Cruz, DB

Josiah Garnica, Salinas, DB

Dominic Chaidez, Palma, DB

Diego Chaidez, Alisal, DL

Franz Pohlmann, Santa Cruz, DL

Quinn Kerko, Aptos, DL

Ashton Ballesteros, Salinas, DL

Josh Na, Salinas, DL

Richard Chamberlin All-Sportsmanship Team

Anthony Enriquez, Alisal

Devon Gonzales, Alvarez

Alex Bjorn, Aptos

Diego Villalpando, Hollister

Bradley Collins, Palma

Chris Carreon, Salinas

Franz Pohlmann, Santa Cruz

Elgie Bellizio Sportsmanship team: None chosen.

Mission Division

Monte Vista Christian senior Jamie Ledesma, No. 7, was named to the All-PCAL First Team offense by coaches within the league. (Tha Pajaronian file photo)

Co-Most Valuable Player: Jeter Olivares, Seaside

Co-Most Valuable Player: Jordan McCord, Soquel

Defensive Player of the Year: Justice Grauel, Soquel.

First team offense

Preston White, Monterey, QB

Niko Iles, Scotts Valley, RB

Jamie Ledesma, Monte Vista Christian, RB

Enobong Wirth, Monterey, RB

Jordan McCord, Soquel, WR

Kavon Collins, Monterey, WR

Jeter Olivares, Seaside, WR

Levi Elmore, Monterey, WR

Luke Akiyama, Soquel, OL

Jackson Lloyd, Carmel, OL

Nick Klaric, Soquel, OL

Raul Robles, Seaside, OL

Marshall Dodge, Scotts Valley, OL

Luke Lange, Monte Vista, TE

Second team offense

Cole Johnson, Soquel, QB

Simeon Brown, Carmel, WR

Quinn Turoski, Scotts Valley, WR

Ty Arnold, Carmel, WR

Nico Downie, Monte Vista Christian, WR

Jake Sporleder, Soquel, OL

Dakota Smith, Seaside, OL

Isaac Crivello, Monterey, OL

Jesus DeAlfaro, North Salinas, OL

River Deschenes, Monterey, OL

Defensive first team

Nathan Schwener, Seaside, LB

Nate Cruz, Monterey, LB

Jess Ringel, Scotts Valley, LB

Justice Grauel, Soquel, LB

Soakai Funaki, Monterey, LB

Jeter Olivares, Seaside, DB

Brady Seichen, Scotts Valley, DB

Ashton Rees, Carmel, DB

Demajae Roberson, North Salinas, DB

Erik Lualemana, Seaside, DL

Roland Foliaki, Seaside, DL

Chesser Keegan, Scotts Valley, DL

Tanner Towbridge, Soquel, DL

Cade Petersen, Soquel, DL

Second team defense

Jason Martorella, Soquel, LB

Kevin Zarazua, Carmel, LB

Kyle Recotta, Monte Vista Christian, LB

Christian Campos, North Salinas, LB

Colton Dureson, Scotts Valley, DB

Ryken Resurrection, Monte Vista, DB

Jose Chavez, Soquel, DL

Toby Strawser, Carmel, DL

Javier Moran, North Salinas, DL

Richard Chamberlin All-Sportsmanship Team

Kevin Zarazua, Carmel

Ryan Santillian, Monterey

Reagen Rivera, Monte Vista

Javier Moran, North Salinas

Nick Arcangeli, Scotts Valley

Dakota Smith, Seaside

Tyler Smith, Soquel

Elgie Bellizio Sportsmanship team: Carmel

Cypress Division 

Saint Francis Diego Wolfe tries to elude Rancho San Juan’s Isaiah Tapia after catching a pass during a football game in Watsonville on Saturday, Oct. 15. (Raul Ebio – The Pajaronian)

Offensive Player of the Year: Peyton Hatten, Rancho San Juan

Defensive Player of the Year: Andy Valdez, Soledad

Lineman of the Year: Miguel Orozco, St. Francis

First team offense

Jjey Martinez, King City, QB

Dominic Chavez, Soledad, QB

Peyton Hatten, Rancho San Juan, RB

Diego Wolfe, St. Francis, RB

Adrian Garcia, King City, WR

Daniel Raso, Soledad, WR

Christian Magana, St. Francis, WR

Christian Abdoo, St. Francis, TE

Noah Pacheco, King City, OL

Richard Fuentes, Rancho San Juan, OL

Anthony Trevino, Soledad, OL

Miguel Orozco, St. Francis, OL

Joel Salas, Watsonville, OL

Ivan Salcido, Soledad, Utility

Second team offense

Nolan Tompkins, Rancho San Juan, QB

Kyle Dyer, St. Francis, QB

Chris Rasmussen, North County, RB

Francisco Ballestero, Soledad, RB

Adan Garcia-Loa, King City, WR

Julian Pineda, Rancho San Juan, WR

Victor Ruano, Soledad, WR

Raul Garcia, King City, TE

Ethan Yates, North County, OL

Pete Gamecho, Pacific Grove, OL

Jacob Ruiz, Rancho San Juan, OL

Erick Parra, Soledad, OL

Steven LaGrange, St. Francis, OL

Ryan Ruiz, North County, Utility

First team defense

Adrian Garcia, King City, DB

Ian Rey, Rancho San Juan, DB

Jaiden Blanco, Soledad, DB

Diego Ramirez, St. Francis, DB

Isaac Benavides, King City, LB

Noah Garry, Pacific Grove, LB

Anthony Abarca, Rancho San Juan, LB

Andy Valdez, Soledad, LB

Nehthaniel Madrigal-Hernandez, St. Francis, LB

Raul Garcia, King City, DL

Evan Woods, Pacific Grove, DL

Jacobo Ruelas, Soledad, DL

Damien Matos, Soledad, DL

Nicolas Ibarra, St. Francis DL

Second team defense

Branden Villasenor, King City, DB

Julian Pineda, Rancho San Juan, DB

Dominic Chavez, Soledad, DB

Pedro Ibarra, St. Francis, CB

Alex Guzman, North County, LB

John Wood, Rancho San Juan, LB

Adam Velarde, Soledad, LB

Christian Abdoo, St. Francis, LB

Gavin Valencia, St. Francis, LB

Max Morales, King City, DL

Isaiah Garife, North County, DL

Ryan Bell, Pacific Grove, DL

Peyton Hatten, Rancho San Juan, DL

Manny Sanchez Vega, Soledad, DL

Richard Chamberlin All-Sportsmanship Team

Jace Espino, King City

Steven Poudrier, North County

Kai Hatton, Pacific Grove

Nolan Tompkins, Rancho San Juan

James Lara, Soledad

Reece Borrmann, St. Francis

Vicente Baltazar, Watsonville

Elgie Bellizio Sportsmanship team award: St. Francis

Santa Lucia Division 

Pajaro Valley High senior Juan Macias, No. 24, was named to the All-PCAL second team offense by coaches within the league. (The Pajaronian file photo)

Most Valuable Player: Trent Toole, Stevenson

Offensive Player of the Year: Champ Flores, Gonzales

Defensive Player of the Year: Tony Fuiava, Marina

First team offense

Charlie Conner, Stevenson, QB

Christian Zavala, Greenfield, QB

Champ Flores, Gonzales, RB

JJ Guevara, Marina, RB

Alonso Barsenas, Greenfield, RB

Ferris Vitali, Harbor, WR

Adrian Perez, Gonzales, WR

Tomas Vargas, Greenfield, WR

Trent Toole, Stevenson, WR

Nathaniel Olivas, Greenfield, OL

Omar David, Marina, OL

Hugo Soto, Gonzales, OL

Noah Persal, Stevenson, OL

Amani Wilson, Stevenson, OL

Second team offense

Ray Blanco, Gonzales, QB

Nico Edeler, Harbor, QB

Juan Macias, Pajaro Valley, RB

Jeo Linares, Harbor, RB

JJ Willis, Marina, RB

Isaac Garcia, Gonzales, WR

Eric Andrew Hernandez, Greenfield, WR

Noah Heath, Marina, WR

Thomas Lansbury, Stevenson, WR

Carlos Alvarez, Gonzales, OL

Alfonso Morelos, Marina, OL

Misael Silva, Greenfield, OL

Alex Carroll, Stevenson, OL

Robert Federico, Pajaro Valley, OL

First team defense

Harrison Fung, Stevenson, DL

Jose Viorato-Castillo, Gonzales, DL

Jonathan Anaya, Greenfield, DL

Michael Thomas, Marina, DL

Eric Viveros, Pajaro Valley, DL

Nathan Cox, Greenfield, LB

Tony Fuiava, Marina, LB

Ely Cisneros, Gonzales, LB

Kai Kobrak, Stevenson, LB

Damian Torres, Pajaro Valley, LB

Ferris Vitali, Harbor, DB

Trent Toole, Stevenson, DB

Jorge Carriedo, Marina, DB

Naythen Hernandez, Greenfield, DB

Second team defense

Aiden Higgens, Harbor, DL

Nico Montes, Gonzales, DL

Marco Silva, Greenfield, DL

Miguel Cano, Marina, DL

Christian Henry, Stevenson, DL

Tommy Dayton, Stevenson, LB

Audon Forgus, Stevenson, LB

Carlos Gonzalez, Greenfield, LB

Jeo Linares, Harbor, LB

Abel Villegas, Gonzales, LB

Sean Ishii, Stevenson, DB

Champ Flores, Gonzales, DB

Tomas Vargas, Greenfield, DB

Gabriel Nolasco-Shah, Pajaro Valley, DB

Richard Chamberlin Sportsmanship team

Alex Gianola Cook, Stevenson

Jovanni Vasquez, Greenfield

Shahel Singh, Marina

Dylan Uribe, Gonzales

Alberto Fernandez, Harbor

Franky Gomez, Pajaro Valley

Elgie Bellizio Team Sportsmanship Award: Harbor

Juan Reyes
A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.

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