The 23 players who make up the All-Glendale football team are culled from 12 schools that play in eight leagues and seven divisions.
The team, which features three juniors and one sophomore, was selected by Times sportswriters based on ballots from area coaches.
In the past, the area’s diversity and the success of many of the teams in their respective divisions often made choosing a back, lineman and coach of the year difficult.
Not this year.
In a clean sweep for Glendale High, Pathon Rucker was selected back of the year, guard Albert Ocon was selected lineman of the year and Don Shoemaker was selected coach of the year.
Rucker, Ocon and Shoemaker will be honored with the backs, linemen and coaches of the year from 10 other areas at an awards breakfast Sunday at 8:30 a.m. at the Anaheim Hilton.
Glendale won its first 10 games, including impressive victories over Muir, Pasadena and Arcadia, before losing to Camarillo in the first round of the Southern Section Division II playoffs.
Glendale won its first Pacific League championship--its first title since 1980 when the Dynamiters played in the Foothill League--and defeated defending Division II co-champion Muir for the first time in 25 years.
The Dynamiters outscored their opponents, 320-81. They averaged 355 yards a game and limited opponents to 173, recording shutouts against Bell-Jeff and Burbank.
“When you have some athletes, it sure makes you look like a great coach,” Shoemaker said. “A lot of people overlook the fact that these kids worked hard in the off-season.”
Shoemaker also credits a staff that has been intact for his three seasons as head coach. It includes John Brinton (defensive coordinator), Dennis Ennis (defensive line), Kevin Grist (wide receivers and defensive backs), Peter Escalante (running backs and linebackers) and Richard Thomassian (offensive line).
“The staff knows what we’re trying to shoot for and the communication that creates is a definite plus,” Shoemaker said.
Rucker, who rushed for 901 yards and made the All-Glendale team last season as a sophomore, was one of the Southern Section’s most dominant players.
Rucker, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior, gained 1,878 yards and scored 29 touchdowns. “What Pathon did didn’t surprise me,” Shoemaker said. “He was much stronger and faster this season and ran with so much more confidence. What surpassed our expectations was the offensive line, which allowed him to do so much more.”
The cornerstone of the Dynamiters’ offensive front was Ocon, a three-time All-Pacific League guard who trimmed down from 280 to 260 pounds this season.
“Losing the 20 pounds significantly increased his effectiveness,” Shoemaker said. “Albert was like a quarterback on the line of scrimmage. If the center or someone else missed his block, Albert was going to let him know about it.”
The good news for Glendale opponents is that Ocon is graduating. The bad news is that he’s the only lineman the Dynamiters lose.
“We have some excellent athletes at the skill and linemen positions coming up,” Shoemaker said. “We’re as excited about next year as we were about this year, maybe more.”