Daily Pilot Football Dream Team: Edison’s Parker Awad stayed calm under pressure
Edison High senior Parker Awad is a firm believer in preparation.
His grandfather Ed, who lives down the street from the high school, has always stressed to him that taking school seriously was important. It’s not an accident that Parker has a 3.8 weighted grade-point average.
As the quarterback for the Edison football team, he also knew that preparation in the sport he loves is important. Typically, getting ready for a game started much earlier than Friday night.
Parker called himself a film junkie. During the football season, he would watch two to three hours of tape per day.
“It helped me so much once the game would come,” he said. “Any little tell the defense gave, I’d be able to recognize it and pick them apart.”
Awad did a lot of that this season, helping the Chargers (9-2) earn their best start since 2009, second place in the rugged Sunset League and a berth in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
For his efforts, Awad is the 2022 Daily Pilot Football Dream Team Player of the Year.
The Sunset League Offensive Back of the Year had a season to remember, completing 202 of 287 passes for 3,082 yards, 34 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Awad also rushed for 177 yards and five scores.
He completed 70 percent of his passes. That was a statistic that Edison coach Jeff Grady, himself the former Chargers quarterback and a college quarterback at Fresno State, could appreciate.
“That’s just who he is,” Grady said. “He’s super-efficient, as efficient as I’ve ever coached. As mentally sharp and just smart as I’ve ever coached. He’s a pretty special guy, to say the least.
“There’s just an immense amount of trust. It’s a beautiful feeling when you go into a game and you don’t necessarily have nerves. You’re not concerned with how a guy’s going to play. You know what you’re going to get, each and every day. He treated Monday just like he treated Friday nights.”
Awad, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 185 pounds, developed a deep bond with receivers like seniors Ashton Hurley and Tucker Tripp and junior Mason York. He spread the ball around; the three receivers, as well as senior running back Carter Hogue, all had between 39 and 52 catches.
This season, which saw Edison start 7-0, was the end of a satisfying journey for Awad. He was Mater Dei’s freshman quarterback but lost a quarterback battle to Elijah Brown at the start of his sophomore year, which was abbreviated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Awad transferred to Edison and became the Chargers’ starter, though he split time with Tyler Gioia late last season after he was exposed to COVID-19. As a senior, the reins were all his, and he delivered time and again for Edison. He said he was more comfortable on the field, and it paid off for the team.
Though the season ended in heartbreak, a 38-37 loss to Orange Lutheran in the first round of the Division 1 playoffs, Awad was appreciative.
“I felt like it was a great year,” said Awad, an All-CIF selection. “Games like that San Clemente game, where it came down to the last drive, having our defense step up and win that game for us. That first OLu game was just one of my favorite games of all time in my career, and even that last OLu game was something I’ll remember my whole life, back and forth, back and forth. It’s one of those games that if you’re a fan, you love it. If you’re a player, you wish it would have gone the other way, but it is what it is.
“My teammates will be my friends for the rest of my life. I had a great year with them.”
Awad said he wants to play football in college, though he’s waiting for his first offer.
If and when it comes, he will be prepared for it.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Guess has been coaching with the Lobos since 2011, but he had the choice of job offers two years ago. Would he take the Los Amigos head coaching position, or a lower level job coaching football at powerhouse Mater Dei? The comparison was almost comical — Guess said Los Amigos had just 13 players after former coach Maopu Tuato resigned following the 2020 season — but the walk-on coach stayed true to the Lobos. That decision paid off with a memorable 2022 season. Los Amigos went 8-3 overall and 4-1 in the Garden Grove League for a share of the league title, their first in 14 years. Los Amigos made its first CIF appearance in six years, and though the Lobos lost to Arrowhead Christian in a Division 13 opener, Guess considered it a good building block. Also importantly, he said he had 65 kids in the program now, with close to 75 expected next year.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
QB | Laguna Beach | So.
Kollock, a transfer from Santa Margarita, returned home and stepped up when the Breakers needed him most after becoming eligible for the Segerstrom game in late September. With senior Sam Garwal recovering from a broken collarbone suffered in the season opener, Kollock helped the team amass an eight-game winning streak. The last game in the run was a 36-28 win at Diamond Bar that helped Laguna Beach net the CIF Southern Section Division 9 championship, the first CIF crown in program history. Along the way, the Breakers (11-4, 3-0 in league) won the Pac 4 League title behind league MVP Kollock, who was also the Division 9 Offensive Player of the Year. Now 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, he completed 173 of 262 passes for 2,202 yards, 32 touchdowns and just three interceptions, and coach John Shanahan said two of the interceptions were just Kollock throwing the ball up for grabs at the end of the half. He also had five rushing touchdowns. Kollock, who Shanahan called the football equivalent of a gym rat, recently received his first college Division I offer from UNLV.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Carson de Avila
DB | Newport Harbor | Sr.
De Avila was a three-year starter for the Sailors, and the safety was a safe bet as a leader of the team on and off the field. Coach Peter Lofthouse called de Avila the heart and soul of the squad, after a year in which he amassed 146 tackles — double that of any other Newport Harbor player. The total included 73 solo tackles, and he also led the team with nine quarterback hurries. The Sunset League Co-Defensive MVP, de Avila had a nose for the ball, also leading the Sailors (8-5, 2-3 in league) with four fumbles caused and two recovered. On offense, he added in a rushing touchdown for good measure. An All-CIF selection, de Avila helped Newport Harbor nearly return to a CIF final for the second straight year, falling to Cypress 17-14 in the Division 4 semifinals. After playing for the South in the Orange County All-Star Game, he is bound for Navy.
ALL-PURPOSE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
WR-DB | Laguna Beach | Sr.
Rodriguez grew into a confident and explosive receiver as a senior, improving his route running and hands, and he played cornerback and safety on defense. But he also helped the Breakers in a number of other different aspects of the game, including as a kickoff and punt returner, kicker and punter. He had two kickoff returns for a touchdown, including a key one to start the second half as Laguna Beach beat Westminster 21-14 to clinch at least a share of the Pac 4 League title. In the Division 9 title game, he had another big-time return that set up Laguna with a first-and-goal. As a receiver, Rodriguez, a first-team All-Pac 4 League selection, tallied 56 catches for 879 yards and 15 touchdowns; all three numbers were team-best totals.
QB | Corona del Mar | Sr.
In his third season as the starting quarterback for Corona del Mar, Rasor took the Sea Kings to the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the second time in as many seasons. The other, of course, did not have a postseason in the coronavirus pandemic-shortened spring campaign. Rasor threw for 2,040 yards and 30 touchdowns, adding 228 rushing yards and two more scores on the ground. The UC Davis commit missed time due to injury, but he returned to lead CdM to the Division 3 semifinals. He was an All-CIF and Sunset League first-team selection.
RB-SS | Laguna Beach | Jr.
Rogers shouldered the vast majority of the running opportunities for Laguna Beach, accounting for 68.7 percent of the team’s carries. The junior rushed 211 times for 1,259 yards and 12 touchdowns. The All-CIF Division 9 and Pac 4 League first-team honoree averaged 6 yards per carry and topped 100 rushing yards in a game on six occasions. Rogers was also a threat in the screen game, turning 49 receptions into 471 yards and five scores.
RB-SS | Edison | Sr.
Hogue rumbled through defenses to the tune of 6.7 yards per carry, racking up more than 100 yards of total offense per game. The Arizona Christian commit rushed for 794 yards and 15 touchdowns, adding 413 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver out of the backfield. The Sunset League first-team honoree and Orange County All-Star also had 62 tackles and a team-best four interceptions as a member of the Chargers’ defensive secondary.
WR | Newport Harbor | Sr.
Once across midfield, it seemed no fourth down was too long for the Sailors to give it a shot. Henjum’s ability to make catches in traffic was a big reason why. The All-CIF Division 4 and Sunset League first-team selection paced Newport Harbor with 77 catches for 1,308 yards and 15 touchdowns. Henjum also caught five passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns to lead the South roster to a 24-7 win in the Orange County North-South All-Star Classic football game on the Sailors’ home field.
WR | Corona del Mar | Sr.
They’re not saying “boo,” they’re saying “Coo-per.” Hoch’s name was called often in the passing game, as the San Jose State commit wound up with 101 catches for 1,434 yards and 21 touchdowns. The senior standout notched three-touchdown games against Downey, Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach. An All-CIF Division 3 and Sunset League first-team selection, Hoch also made 15 catches for 208 yards (both season-high marks) and two touchdowns in a 27-22 win over San Juan Hills.
WR-CB | Edison | Sr.
With a quarterback that could provide precision while showing a willingness to take shots down the field, Hurley thrived as Parker Awad’s top receiver. He ripped off 19 yards per catch, making 52 grabs for 988 yards and 12 touchdowns. An Orange County All-Star and Sunset League first-teamer, Hurley also had 17 tackles, six passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on defense.
TE-DE | Laguna Beach | Jr.
The leading receiver and favorite target of Jackson Kollock, the big-bodied Swanson produced 83 catches for 952 yards and 12 touchdowns. Swanson would not be denied once the playoffs began. He scored in all five postseason contests for the Breakers, including a two-touchdown performance in a 42-35 win over Riverside Norte Vista in the Division 9 semifinals.
OL | Edison | Sr.
It takes time to make the big play happen, and the Chargers often had it thanks to their offensive line. Gruwell, a co-Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Sunset League, helped lead a group up front that saw quarterback Parker Awad complete 70.4 percent of his 287 passes, which he turned into 15.3 yards per completion and a 3,000-yard season through the air. Gruwell saw starts at center and guard.
OL | Los Amigos | Sr.
The Lobos leaned on the offensive line, led by Hermosillo, in running the ball on 63 percent of their offensive plays. The formula worked, as Los Amigos won the Garden Grove League title, the first for the program since 2008. Hermosillo, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound right guard, was the Lineman of the Year in the Garden Grove League.
OL | Corona del Mar | Sr.
The Sea Kings continued to find ways to be competitive despite injuries at key positions. Quarterback David Rasor missed three regular season games, and CdM stayed afloat, going 2-1 in that stretch with wins over Palos Verdes and San Juan Hills. Horton was a co-Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Sunset League and an All-CIF Division 3 selection. New Sea Kings head coach Kevin Hettig said the senior center “had unique ability to redirect and find leverage on the move.”
OL | Edison | Jr.
The Chargers produced 386 yards and 37.4 points per game, making them a tough out in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Edison lost to Orange Lutheran, 38-37, in the first round, a strong showing in the top division. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Sagiao was a first-team all-league performer in the Sunset League, in which the Chargers finished second behind Division 1 semifinalist Los Alamitos. “Like Zach [Gruwell], Makai moved around and played multiple offensive line positions and did so with consistency and in dominant fashion,” Edison coach Jeff Grady said.
OL | Huntington Beach | Jr.
A 6-foot-6, 280-pound left tackle, Tauanuu protected the blind side of quarterbacks Daunte Bell and Vaughn Popp. Huntington Beach coach Brett Brown called Tauanuu a “freak athlete.” Brown added that Tauanuu, a co-Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Sunset League, has 17 offers from Division 1 programs before his senior season.
AP-WR-KR | Newport Harbor | Jr.
Lamarque remains one of the most elusive receivers in the area, flashing his big-play ability in both the receiving and the return game. The repeat Dream Team first-team honoree at the all-purpose spot, he teamed up with Kashton Henjum to give quarterback Colton Joseph two explosive receivers to work with. Lamarque made 69 catches for 989 yards and 11 touchdowns, adding one kickoff return for a score.
PK | Edison | Sr.
Preston reclaimed the honor of top kicker in the Sunset League after a busy senior campaign. He converted six of seven field goals, while also splitting the uprights on 42 of 45 extra-point attempts. When called upon, he was able to make the tackle on two occasions to prevent kicks from being run back.
DT | Laguna Beach | Sr.
A key cog in an opportunistic defense for Laguna Beach, Chavez finished second on the team with three fumble recoveries, and he also had a forced fumble. Chavez was recognized as the CIF Division 9 and Pac 4 League Defensive Player of the Year after helping the Breakers secure their first section title since 1946.
DE-WR | Edison | Sr.
Irwin could wreck a game on the defensive end, supplying 60 tackles (nine tackles for a loss). The senior defensive end finished second on the team with 6½ sacks. He led the team with four forced fumbles, making one fumble recovery. The Sunset League Defensive Lineman of the Year blocked two field-goal attempts and one punt. Irwin also stepped in as a receiver against Palos Verdes, when he turned three catches into 59 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-7 victory.
OL-DE | Ocean View | Jr.
The Seahawks had their struggles offensively, leaving the defense to keep Ocean View in games. The 6-foot-1, 280-pound Trujillo provided a spark up front on the defensive end, supplying 45 tackles and a team-leading 10½ tackles for a loss. Trujillo, who shared Pac 4 League Lineman of the Year honors with Westminster’s Kiso Logoleo, was second on the team with 5½ sacks.
DE-WR | Costa Mesa | Sr.
A hulking target at 6-foot-8, 245 pounds, Weinstein enjoyed one of his proudest moments as a Mustang when he recorded the first pick-six of his career against Saddleback. He also had 43 tackles on defense. An Orange Coast League first-team honoree and Orange County All-Star, Weinstein also made 40 catches for 790 yards and six touchdowns, accounting for roughly half of Costa Mesa’s production in the passing game.
OLB-RB | Estancia | Sr.
The heart and soul of the Eagles for several seasons, Aires had a reputation for being an electrifying player as a running back. He showed that his speed played on defense, too, delivering back-to-back sacks for Estancia that proved critical in a 38-17 win over rival Costa Mesa in the Battle for the Bell game. Aires accrued 62 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for a touchdown. Offensively, the first-team Orange Coast League selection added 862 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns.
MLB | Corona del Mar | Jr.
The Sea Kings possessed a dynamic duo at the second level of their defense. Along with Mason Kubichek, Brooks finished with 102 tackles to give CdM two players who surpassed the century mark in that category. Brooks, who was co-Linebacker of the Year in the Sunset League, added 2½ sacks, five passes defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
MLB-WR | Corona del Mar | Sr.
A two-way contributor, Kubichek earned his stripes as the leading tackler for the Sea Kings. The All-CIF Division 3 and Sunset League first-team player was in on 116 defensive stops, including a team-leading 58 solo tackles. Kubichek also forced two fumbles and made an interception. Offensively, Kubichek made 20 catches for 336 yards and three touchdowns.
LB-R | Edison | Sr.
A two-year starter on defense for the Chargers, Lopez paced the team with 104 tackles, including six tackles for a loss and two sacks. Lopez shared Sunset League Linebacker of the Year honors with CdM’s Christian Brooks. The senior also helped Edison earn extra possessions, securing three interceptions to go with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Lopez added one receiving and one rushing touchdown to his ledger.
CB | Corona del Mar | Sr.
A cornerback that took on tough matchups on the outside, Ayala successfully defended 10 passes. The senior made 33 tackles (two for lost yardage) and recovered one fumble. Ayala earned Sunset League Defensive Back of the Year honors.
CB-WR | Los Amigos | So.
For a Los Amigos team that won by keeping the ball on the ground and limiting possessions, every defensive takeaway counted. Ramirez made five interceptions and recorded 54 tackles at cornerback. A first-team selection in the Garden Grove League, Ramirez led the Lobos with 572 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
FS-WR | Huntington Beach | Sr.
Vandermade had an all-access pass to the field for Huntington Beach, making an impact on offense, defense and special teams. The senior safety made 26 tackles, forced two fumbles and made one fumble recovery. The Sunset League first-team selection had 43 catches for 869 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Position, Name, School, Year
QB Colton Joseph, Newport Harbor, Sr.
RB Pedro Hernandez, Los Amigos, Jr.
RB Colin Pene, Corona del Mar, Jr.
WR Mason York, Edison, Jr.
WR Russell Weir, Corona del Mar, Jr.
WR Tucker Tripp, Edison, Sr.
TE Zach Giuliano, Corona del Mar, So.
OL JJ Hernandez, Los Amigos, Sr.
OL Nathan Gates, Edison, Sr.
OL Luke Jones, Edison, Sr.
OL Brady Sarkisian, Corona del Mar, Sr.
OL Noah Vaafuti, Marina, Sr.
AP Nolan Olivares, Fountain Valley, So.
K Ethan Smithlin, Costa Mesa, Sr.
Position, Name, School, Year
DE Brock Donaldson, Laguna Beach, Jr.
DT Ryan Nielsen, Corona del Mar, Sr.
DE Iofi Silao, Ocean View, Sr.
DL-MLB Nathan Tauanuu, Huntington Beach, Sr.
LB Logan Gregory, Edison, Sr.
MLB Jeremy Kanter, Laguna Beach, Sr.
OLB Nicholas Loboda, Huntington Beach, Sr.
MLB Caine Elroy, Fountain Valley, Sr.
MLB Oswaldo Sanchez, Estancia, Sr.
CB Malachi Pierce, Edison, Sr.
DB Sam Garwal, Laguna Beach, Sr.
FS Myles Freeman, Laguna Beach, Sr.
CB Luke Lastra, Marina, Sr.
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