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Loren Kopff’s Fall Area Teams – Valley Christian football, girls volleyball, La Mirada spikers grab top honors

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

It was an unpredictable football season for some of the area teams with Valley Christian High getting into the playoffs with a fifth place finish in the Ironwood League and a three-win regular season and La Mirada High not making it to the postseason in over four decades. Cerritos High continued its dominance in the 605 League while on the indoor court, La Mirada and Norwalk High took advantage of the new Mid-Cities League. Here are the newest members of the 2022 HMG-Community News Fall All-Area Teams.



QB-Joe DeYoung (Valley Christian)

RB-David Herrera (Norwalk)

RB-Michael Mueller (Norwalk) 

WR-Casey Bouma (Valley Christian)

WR-Xavier Hicks (La Mirada)

UTL-JoJo Apisala (Valley Christian)

LT-Tupu Toloai (Valley Christian)

LG-Angel Lima Guerra (Norwalk)

C-Jonathan Ortega (Norwalk)

RG-Nolan Molina (La Mirada)

RT-Mikel Udengwu (John Glenn)


DL-Jeremiah Bagaygay (Cerritos)                 

DL-Nathaniel Crawford (Cerritos)                  

DL-Tuini Maetele (Gahr)                                

DB-Casey Bouma (Valley Christian)              

DB-Pablo Cruz (Artesia)                                 

DB-Gabe Gaudi (Cerritos)                             

DB-Denver Stillman (La Mirada)                    

LB-JoJo Apisala (Valley Christian)                 

LB-Daniel Castillo (Norwalk)                          

LB-Jesse Lopez (Norwalk)                             

LB-Kingston Mutu (Valley Christian)              


QB-Nehuel Garcia (La Mirada)

RB-Kalib Moran (Cerritos)

RB-C.J. Zackery (La Mirada)

WR-Isaiah Jordan (Valley Christian)

WR-Micah Maurer (Valley Christian)

UTL-Kalen Montgomery (Gahr)

LT-Troy Hancock (La Mirada)

LG- Noah Klistoff (Valley Christian)

C-Jack VanHofwegen (Valley Christian)

RG-William Patterson (Cerritos)

RT-Grant Hefner (Valley Christian)


DL-Trevor Cook (La Mirada)                          

DL-Anthony Martinez (Norwalk)

DL-Tupu Toloai (Valley Christian)                  

DB-Alex Martinez (Cerritos)                           

DB-Michael Mueller (Norwalk)                       

DB-Luis Sanchez (Cerritos)                           

DB-Markell Slaughter (Gahr)                         

LB-Daniel Aguilar (Artesia)                            

LB-Amaree Davis (Artesia)                            

LB-Cole Hefner (Valley Christian)                  

LB-Micah Maurer (Valley Christian)               


QB-Jake Bautista (Cerritos)

RB-Tuiono Tuifua (John Glenn)

RB-Kamari Westley (Artesia)

WR-Nick Bozanic (Valley Christian)

WR-Evan Spurlin-Renfroe (Gahr)

UTL-Josh Park (Cerritos)

LT-Kyshara McLaine (Cerritos)

LG- Emanuel Rebollar (John Glenn)

C-Chase Adams (Artesia)

RG-Tyler Hayes (Valley Christian)

RT-Anthony Lemus (Norwalk)


DL-Tristen Contreras (Gahr)

DL-Bailey Crawford (Cerritos)

DL-DaJuan Turner (Artesia)

DB-Major Brown (Valley Christian)

DB-Jordan McGruder (Artesia)

DB-Dylan Sawai (Valley Christian)

DB-Manny Sigala (John Glenn)

LB-Gavin McQuarie (La Mirada)

LB-Isaiah Portillo (Gahr)

LB-Noah Taylor (Gahr)

LB-Kimani Tuitasi (La Mirada)            

Offensive Player of the Year-No area running back was as explosive as Norwalk senior Michael Mueller was, who rushed for 1,609 yards and scored 23 touchdowns. He was one of two Norwalk running backs with over 1,000 yards on the ground with the other being senior David Herrera, who had 341 fewer yards but played in two fewer games. Mueller had nine games of over 100 yards and averaged over 146 yards a game and caught three of the four completions from senior quarterback Caden Barnhill.

Norwalk senior running back Michael Mueller.

Defensive Player of the Year-Valley Christian sophomore Jojo Apisala played both ways for the Defenders and did not disappoint on either side. Not only was he the leader of the rushing attack, Apisala was just as dominant as a linebacker, covering all areas of the field to the tune of 141 tackles, eight sacks and three fumble recoveries.

Valley Christian sophomore Jojo Apisala.

Coach of the Year-As a first-year head coach, you hope that you can have a successful season and maybe reach the playoffs. When Valley Christian began its season with a 35-0 loss to El Dorado High, then lost six of its first eight games, not a lot of people thought the team would reach the CIF-Southern Section playoffs. But somehow, Nick Walker did that as the Defenders not only got into the playoffs with a 3-7 record but were rewarded with the second seed in Division 12. V.C. reached the championship game, falling a two-point conversion short of sending its game with top-seeded Lancaster High into overtime.

Valley Christian Head Coach Nick Walker.



S-Carissa Kamstra (Valley Christian)

OH-Bailey Mahan (La Mirada)

OH-Ariana Schmidt (Valley Christian)

OH-Leila Tolentino (Cerritos)

MB-Abby McGuyre (Valley Christian)

MB-Samantha Munoz (Norwalk)

OPP-Simone Johnson (Gahr)

DS-Margaret Norton (La Mirada)

LIB-Francie Leffler (Valley Christian)


S-Kiersten Mahan (La Mirada) 

OH-Alyssa Meraz (La Mirada)

OH-Kaylani Moncada (John Glenn)

OH-Kendall Nakano (Norwalk)

MB-Isa Cilloniz (Cerritos)

MB-Milan Nimeh (La Mirada)

OPP-Samantha Van Duyn (Valley Christian)

DS-Anneke Dekraker (Valley Christian)

LIB-Jasmine Kastner (Cerritos)


S-Alyssa Dorado (Norwalk)

OH-Marisol Roseboro (Norwalk)

OH-Nicole Sales (Cerritos) 

OH-Chloe Westra (Valley Christian) 

MB-Natalie Ojeisekhoba (La Mirada)

MB-Lauren Thorpe (Valley Christian)

OPP-Brooke Hayne (La Mirada)

DS-Tatianna Navarro (Norwalk)

LIB-Heaven Lee (John Glenn)


S-Chloe Cruz (Cerritos)

OH-Itsmenia Alvarado (Whitney)

OH-Sugey Mancilla (John Glenn)

OH-Leslie Solorzano (Gahr)

MB-Isabella Dantzler (Cerritos)

MB-Janessa Leal (John Glenn)

OPP-Joey Abugotal (John Glenn)

DS-Kimberly Lopez (Norwalk)

LIB-Danielle Ramos (Artesia)

Player of the Year-Season after season, Valley Christian produces some of the best hitters in the area, possibly the Southland, and this season is no different. Senior outside hitter Ariana Schmidt was a vital force in the V.C. attack, leading area players with 173 kills in 566 attempts. Schmidt also had 175 digs, tied for second on the team.

Coach of the Year-Who knows where La Mirada would have been if it was still in the old Suburban League. But now that the Matadores are in the new Mid-Cities League, head coach Kimberly Mahan can breathe a little easier. Mahan guided La Mirada to a 17-10 record and a league championship, sweeping nine of the 10 league matches. The Matadores won five more matches than last season and had a winning mark for the first time since 2014 when that team went 23-4.