The following is a list of featured players from the six area prep football teams.
Matt Lambeth, 6-3, 195, junior, Fernley: It should come as no surprise Lambeth was the Vaqueros' team MVP after rushing for 437 yards and three TDs (two 30-yard-plus scoring runs: a backbreaker against Dayton and the game-winner against Bishop Manogue), in addition to passing for 1,252 yards and 13 TDs. He was an honorable mention all-league QB, first-team all-league defensive back (he played cornerback) and punted for a 38.6-yard average (he took seven fake punts for first-downs during season).
Shane VanZant, 5-11, 190, senior, Dayton: Rushed for 1,006 yards on 176 carries, 5.7-yard average, 13 touchdowns and two 2-point PAT conversions. He caught 12 passes for another 179 yards, a 14.9 yard average and completed two of three passes for 66 yards. This was his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season. Was the Dust Devil Award recipient as the team's best offensive producer. A unanimous first-team all-league.
Josh Carter, 6-2, 205, junior, Carson: Carter broke the 1,000-yard mark rushing with his 76-yards rushing against McQueen in the first round of the zone playoffs. He finished with 1,012 yards on the ground while tying Brooks with 10 rushing touchdowns. He also had a touchdown reception.
Josh Allen, 5-10, 175, senior, Yerington: A deceiving runner, Allen rushed for 800 yards in eight games as the man in motion for the Lions' fly wing offense. Second-team all-league running back. Also played cornerback and was a return threat. The team's co-MVP this season.
Gabe Hatchett, 6-2, 180, senior, Douglas: A deep threat capable of scoring from anywhere on the field, Hatchett led the Northern 4A in receiving with 40 catches for 709 yards (17.73 average) and three touchdowns. Was named first-team all-league and all-region. A repeat All-Carson Country pick who missed half of last season with an ACL injury.
Rob Handley, 5-9, 150, senior, Carson: Earned second-team all-league honors in a season in which he ranked sixth among all Northern 4A receivers with 31 catches for 357 yards and one touchdown. The acrobatic wide receiver, who caught 30 passes for 304 yards in 1999, gained more yards this season on just one more reception despite Carson's run-oriented offense.
T.C. Ghisletta, 6-2, 197, senior, Galena: A first-team all-region pick who was known as an excellent blocker and as the Grizzlies' "go-to guy" in passing situations, including a key touchdown reception in Galena's 14-11 win over Reed. A tough player with good size who loves to catch the ball over middle. A two-way starter (defensive end), Ghisletta played most of the season with a shoulder injury.
Scott Burton, 5-10, 190, senior, Fernley: Played well enough to be named the team's Offensive Player of the Year. "In 25 years of coaching, 21 here at Fernley, I've never had that happen before," coach Dave Hart said of the guard. "When it came down to, 'Who could we not afford to lose?,' he was a guy who came to mind. He did all of our pull and trap blocking, so if he goes out, that takes out 90 percent of our playbook." A third-year starter, Burton was second-team all-league.
Matt Wilcks, 6-0, 220, senior, Douglas: The Tigers surpassed 1,000 yards both rushing and passing this season (one of three Northern 4A teams to do so) and Wilcks was a major reason. A first-team all-league and second-team all-region pick, Wilcks was described as the Tigers' most consistent offensive lineman, the strong side guard who handled much of the pulling guard duties.
Martin Carranza, 5-11, 180, senior, Carson: The Senators ranked third in among Northern 4A rushing teams with 1,949 yards and Carranza was a key part of an offensive line that opened the holes. Second-team all-league.
David Tippitt, 6-2, 280, senior, Carson: Earned honorable mention all-league recognition despite missing three games after tearing the meniscus in his right knee. "He's going to be tough to replace," coach Bob Bateman
Dan Bradshaw, 5-11, 230, senior, Douglas: A second year starter at center, Bradshaw was a mainstay up front who earned honorable mention all-league recognition for the Tigers.
Doug Brooks, 5-9, 155, senior, Carson: Was known as a running back with breakaway speed for the Senators during a season in which he rushed for 843 yards and six touchdowns, and he was a first-team all-region defensive back.
John Hillenbrand, 5-10, 185, senior, Douglas: Despite their 2-7 record, the Tigers either led or were tied in the second half in six of nine games, and the defense was a large reason those games were close. "John was a large part of that," coach Mike Rippee said. "He led the team in tackles behind the line of scrimmage and sacks. He's a relentless type of guy who always took on the lead block and stuff like that." Named first-team all-region and all-league.
James Barnes, 6-2, 200, junior, Fernley: Barnes was named first-team all-league at end and second-team as an offensive tackle. "He might have been the best lineman in our league," coach Dave Hart said. "He only came off the field nine times all season; he was like the Energizer Rabbit. Barnes was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year. Also started as a sophomore for the Vaqueros.
Pat Blair, 6-2, 235, junior, Galena: A rock in the middle of the Grizzlies' defensive line, Blair used his quickness to earn second-team all-region and first-team all-league recognition. Blair played varsity as a sophomore after his family moved from Incline last year. Now Pat and twin brother Phil stands as one of the leaders of a Galena team that expects to challenge the Northern 4A upper echelon in 2001.
Pat Binder, 5-11, 170, senior, Carson: The Senators allowed 1,157 yards rushing in nine games, fourth best in the Northern 4A and Binder was one of the main reasons for that success. Given his size for a defensive tackle, Binder showed he is one of the area's toughest players by earning first-team all-league and all-region honors.
Jed Abowd, 6-0, 222, senior, Carson: An inside linebacker, Abowd was one of Carson Country's best defensive players - if not one of the best players, period - for the playoff-bound Senators this fall. With his size and ability to pursue, he is regarded as a potential Division I player.
Mike Sampang, 5-9, 189, senior, Dayton: Second-team all-league linebacker, received Block of Granite Award as the team's best offensive lineman. Received Sticker of the Year award as the team's best defensive player. Had 95 tackles, 28 assists, six tackles for losses, four quarterback sacks and four fumble recoveries from his strongside linebacker spot. "Mike Sampang is the consummate high school football player," coach Butch Cattanach said. "As our strongside linebacker, he had to take on those big tackles and tight ends blocking down on us, and he always did a great job.
Tom Sceirine, senior, Yerington: The Lions' co-MVP was in on 85 tackles from his outside linebacker position in a 5-2 defense this season. "He's just a great linebacker, extremely coachable and intelligent, he was the focal point of our defense and tough as nails," Yerington coach Cody Neville said. Earned honorable mention all-league recognition for the 1-8 Lions. "He was equally important on offense, a lead blocker who absolutely KO'd people in the open field," Neville said. "He was never out of game, never asked to leave. He knew his place was on the field and he always wanted to be there."
James Porterfield, 5-10, 192, senior, Douglas: Touted as the Tigers' main man on defense in the preseason, Porterfield moved a new role as inside linebacker and played his way to honorable mention all-league honors. A4.0 student in the classroom, Porterfield was named to the academic all-state team.
Dan Jones, 6-0, 180, senior, Carson: A second-team all-league selection, Jones played well in big games, as was evident on Sept. 30 when he forced a fumble and recovered another fumble against Wooster, a game the Senators lost to the eventual Sierra League champs and state runner-ups, 14-6.
Luke Penrose, 5-11, 160, senior, Galena: A free safety who was known for his ability to play run defense (he logged a half dozen tackles for losses this season). As one coach observed: "He could really lay the wood on a guy." Penrose was a first-team all-region pick, an academic all-state pick (a 4.0 student) who helped Galena to its first football playoff appearance.
Javier Vega, 5-10, 160, junior, Carson: A consistent performer who produced many clutch plays late in the season, including some big interceptions, that helped Carson advance to the playoffs. In the end, he picked off second-team all-league honors.
Justin Sarnowski, 5-8, 145, senior, Carson: A talented athlete who won a Northern 4A zone wrestling championship last February, Sarnowski received second-team all-league honors as a DB and one of the reasons Carson only allowed 980 yards passing as a team this season.
Quarterback: Jared Kenison, Douglas; Marques Giron, Carson.
Running back: Doug Brooks, Carson; Damian Rivadeneyra, Galena; Joey Fennessey, Fernley; Monte McCann, Douglas; Kolt Clore, Douglas; Drew Hall, Douglas.
Wide receiver: Sam Greenstein, Carson; Jordan Ovard, Douglas; Adam Schwab, Fernley; Jeff Miller, Dayton.
Tight end: Zach Roots, Yerington
Offensive line: Phil Blair, Galena; Scott Groves, Galena; Mike Sampang, Dayton; Mike Hudgins, Mike Pinkerton, Yerington.
Defensive line: Phil Blair, Galena; Luke Chavez, Carson; Brandyn Feole, Yerington; Bill Ghiglieri, Carson; Josh Hurt, Dayton.
More Carson Country coming
The All-Carson Country fall sports teams were selected by Nevada Appeal sports editor Charles Whisnand and Appeal sportswriters Dave Price and Jeremy Evans.
In today's edition, the All-Carson Country football team is featured.
Coming on Tuesday, the All-Carson Country volleyball team will be announced.
Coming on Wednesday: The All-Carson Country boys and girls soccer teams.
Linebacker: Scott Gillespie, Fernley; Kyle Davis, Fernley; Josh May, Dayton.
Matt Lambeth, Fernley; Jory Eley, Dayton; Rocky Snooks Yerington; Doug Payne, Yerington; Robbie Lund, Galena; Bob DeVencenzi, Galena.
Kicker: Tom Evans, Carson.
Return: Garrett Watkins, Dayton.