There's no place Ramon Abreu would rather be than on the football field. The last two seasons, particularly this past season, he spent more time on the field arguably than anyone. And Abreu's time was more than just quantity. It was quality.
The Tempe Marcos de Niza senior linebacker-running back is the 2009 Tribune player of the year. His body of work certainly justifies the honor.
"Never, never did I want to come out of games," Abreu said. "I always want to be on the field."
Abreu's defense is his trademark. He participated in 141 tackles this season - 106 were solo. He also intercepted four passes, recovered two fumbles and had three sacks. Add in a couple of blocked kicks. He leaves football as the school's all-time leading tackler as well.
His marquee game might well have been in this year's 5A-II semifinals against three-time defending champ and Goliath Peoria Centennial. Abreu registered 17 tackles in that game - 13 unassisted - and was a huge reason why Anthony Hughes didn't erupt for a game-breaking run or even score in the game.
Offensively, Abreu rushed for 898 yards and 16 touchdowns. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry. He also found time to catch 33 passes for 500 yards and two more scores. Abreu also punted (39.5 average) and returned punts and kickoffs.
"We definitely had a challenging season," Abreu said. "Some big games. Getting to the championship game this season put Marcos de Niza on the map. We were on the big stage. It's where we want to be all the time."
Besides the title game was a last-second win over Glendale Deer Valley, a regular-season-ending loss to Phoenix Mountain Pointe that grounded the Padres and the magnitude of beating Centennial.
And of course the breast-cancer awareness game against Perry in early October.
"That's a game I won't forget, the pink game," Abreu said. "It was special to be a part of that. Wearing pink for the cause and what it did for the cause."
Abreu will spend the next couple of weeks lining up more visits to colleges. He already has made trips to San Diego State, Colorado and ASU. Playing in the secondary is likely in his collegiate future.
All-Tribune first-team offense
Name, School, Yr. Pos. Comment
Brett Hundley, Chandler, Jr. QB Gatorade POY; 1,800 yards passing, 1,300 yards rushing
Davon Jones, Mtn. Pointe, Sr. RB Rushed for 1,791 yards, scored 30 touchdowns
Dwayne Garrett, Chaparral, Sr. RB Led title team with 1,800 rushing yds, 37 total TDs
Justin Rodriguez, Marcos de Niza, Sr. WR 50 receptions for 839 yards and 16 TDs
Jesse Brantley, Gilbert, Sr. WR School-record 69 rec. for 1,222 yards, 13 TDs
Danny Trittler, Chaparral, Sr. WR Big-play guy with 861 yards, 12 TDs
Christian Westerman, Hamilton, Jr. OL Has more than a dozen D-I colleges salivating
Kody Innes, Saguaro, Sr. OL Anchor on Cats' line is UCLA-bound
William Poehls, Chandler, Sr. OL Second-best OL in city was on every All-State team
Alex Lewis, Mtn. Pointe, Sr. OL Helped pave the way for two 1,700-yard rushers
Tyeler Davison, Desert Mtn., Sr. OL Two-way horse the anchor for Wolves' playoff run
Joey Artigue, Arcadia, Sr. RS 38-yard kick return average, 2 TDs
Alex Garoutte, Brophy, Sr. K Had 12 FG and 50-yard range; 70 tackles on 'D'
All-Tribune first-team defense
Name, School Yr. Pos. Comment
Tevin Hood, Hamilton, Sr. DL Best lineman in state had 106 total tackles and 19 sacks
Cy Maughmer, Apache Junction, Sr. DL Solid run-stopper, had 55 tackles, 3 forced fumbles
Jordan McDonald, Saguaro, Sr. DL Quickness around end led to 14 sacks
Ramon Abreu, Marcos de Niza, Sr. LB Recorded 141 tackles, 106 by himself
Ben Peters, Hamilton, Sr. LB Fiesta Region defensive player of the year
Rob Dalton, Mesquite, Sr. LB 137 tackles, 14 sacks and 2 int, 1 for TD
Hayden Tippett, McClintock, Sr. LB Smart, tough player had 95 tackles, 2.5 sacks
Devon Carrington, Hamilton, Sr. DB Stanford signee had 9 picks; MVP of 5A-I title game
Kyle Tokasey, Desert Mtn., Sr. DB Improved tackler and two of 10 interceptions were game-clinchers
Tommy Murphy, Cactus Shadows, Sr. DB His 11 interceptions was tops in state
Jordan Morgan, Valley Christian, Jr. DB Also record-breaker at QB and P for 2A champs
Jordan Hinton, Mtn. View, Sr. P Averaged 43 yards per boot for Toros
Player of the year: Ramon Abreu, Marcos de Niza
Coach of the year: Norris Vaughan, Mtn. Pointe: Turned Pride from 2-8 to 12-1 and school's first semifinals appearance in his first season.
All-Tribune second-team offense
Name, School Yr. Pos. Comment
Mike Benjamin, Basha, Sr. QB Passed for 2,243 yds, ran for 1,162 yds, 27 TDs
Zach Bauman, Hamilton, Sr. RB 1,800 rushing/receiving yards and 30 TDs
De'Andre Currie, Mtn. Pointe, Sr. RB Posted 1,717 yards rushing and 21 TDs
Tyree Parker, Paradise Valley, Sr. RB Leading rusher and receiver for Trojans
Alex Zemezonak, Pinnacle, Jr. WR 44 catches for 976 yards and 9 TDs; excellent kicker
Ricky Astrain, McClintock, Sr. TE All-State with 32 catches, and 10 went for TDs
Cyrus Hobbi, Saguaro, Jr. OL Emerged as one of state's best as a junior
Hank Jenkins, Brophy, Sr. OL All-State anchor at center past two years
Justin Gardner, Basha, Sr. OL Leader of Bears' O-line that paved way for Benjamin
Tyler Souva, Cactus Shadows, Sr. OL Led front that paved way for 4,520 yards of offense
Andrew Gustafson, Chaparral, Sr. OL Emotional season ends with title; Fresno State-bound
Jaymen Green, Mesa, Sr. RS Scored 11 TDs, had 101 tackles and 28-yard return avg.
Yannick Mets, Hamilton, Sr. K 46 touchbacks; 2nd-team All-Fiesta; 72 PAT, 10 FG
All-Tribune second-team defense
Name, School Yr. Pos. Comment
Chris Fox, Chaparral, Jr. DL 94 tackles, 13.5 sacks and was huge in 5A-II title game
Sergio Arocha, Coronado, Sr. DL 9 sacks and 6 forced fumbles for defensive menace
Shaq Jenkins, Hamilton, Jr. DL 71 tackles, 11 sacks, four forced fumbles next to Hood
Roy Garcia, Marcos de Niza, Sr. DL 2-way lineman notched 114 tackles, 10.5 sacks
Andrew Hurley, Pinnacle, Jr. LB Desert Valley Region defensive player of the year
Maka Taufa, Mesquite, Sr. LB 88 tackles, Central defensive player of the year
Joey Leal, Mtn. Pointe, Sr. LB Consistent all year, 81 tackles, EVR def. POY
Nate Scola, Apache Jct., Sr. LB Two-way star was prolific tackler (91).
Devontae Kellybrew, Mesa, Sr. DB 50 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 int; 900 yards, 12 TD on 'O'
Cedric Parker, Hamilton, Jr. DB 56 tackles and 3 int; 5A All-State selection
R.J. McGill, St. Mary's, Sr. DB 2,000 total yards, 13 TDs; 4 int
Tyler Ryan, Mesa, Sr. P Averaged 40 yards per punt
HONORABLE MENTION — APACHE JUNCTION: Kyrel Parker, Sr., DB; Derek Hoffman, Sr., DB; Tanner Morgan, Jr., P. ARCADIA: Colby Kirkegaard, Sr., QB; Jordan Firman, Sr., DB; Jake Hirschi, Sr., RB; Dalton Kaye, Jr., OL; Freddie Gomez, Sr., TE. BASHA: Richard Parker, Sr., WR; Terry Perkins, Sr., DB; John Dillon, Sr., DL; Jared Jones, Sr., LB; John Tanguay, Jr. BROPHY: Edmund Hubbard, Sr., OL; A.J. Steimal, Sr., TE; Max Leonesio, Sr., RB; Brok Kloeber, Sr., DL; Tommy Woodward, Sr., LB; Ross Luther, Sr., DB; CACTUS SHADOWS: Dillon Classen, Sr., QB/P; Brady Dombrowski, Sr., WR; Jake Krum, Sr., DL. CHANDLER: Andrew Muscara, Sr., LB; Ammon Samia, Sr., DL; Declan Wall, Sr., LB; Jeremy Morris, Sr., DB; CHAPARRAL: Andre Yreretagoyena, Jr., OL; Joe Zurek, Sr., DB; Cole Tyree, Sr., RB; Brendan Murphy, Sr., DB; CORONADO: Shawn Martin, Sr., RB; Sergio Arocha, Sr., DL; Colton Anderson, Sr., DB.; T.J. Brown, Sr., LB. CORONA DEL SOL: Sione Letio, Sr., DB; Todd Peat, Jr., DL; Kyle Benson, Sr., LB; Billy Johnson, Sr., WR; Kyle Homewood, Sr., OL. DESERT MOUNTAIN: Russ Estabrooks, Sr., OL; Alex Lehman, Sr., OL; Kevin Radcliffe, Sr., RB; Shane Williams, Sr., LB; DESERT RIDGE: Kevin Pantastico, Sr., QB; Jared Weverstad, Sr., OL; Jordan Becerra, So., WR; Paris Clark, Jr., WR; Sam Papa, Jr., LB. DESERT VISTA: Ryne Rezac, Sr., WR; Anders Battle, Sr., DB; Mike Ingrassia, Sr., DB. DOBSON: Terrance Martin, Sr., RB. FOUNTAIN HILLS: Alex Forehand, Sr., DL; Beau Hilgemann, Sr., RB; Tyler Bode, Jr., OL. HAMILTON: Michael Allen, Sr., RB; Travis Dean, Sr., QB; Tyler Rutt, Sr., LB; Tyler Johnstone, Jr., OL; Kendyl Taylor, So., WR; Gerald Ingallina, Sr., OL; Steven Hanson, Sr., WR. HIGLEY: Kelvin Fisher, Jr., DB. MARCOS DE NIZA: Collin Martinez, Sr., LB; Kyle Becerra, Sr.; DB. McCLINTOCK: Dominique Sordia, Sr., OL; Marshall Dirksen, Jr., K. MESA: Kyler Fackrell, Sr., WR/LB; Javier Gonzalez, Sr., DL; Tony Vaitafa, Jr., LB. MESQUITE: Jake Bamrick, Sr., DB; Fine Itaaehau, Sr., DL; McKay Howell, Jr.; OL; R.J. Rickert, Sr., TE. MOUNTAIN POINTE: Jeremy Espindola, Sr., OL; Ben DeMarr, Sr., TE; Jon Mora, Sr., K; J.R. Plote, Jr., DL; O.J. Quinones, Sr., DB. MOUNTAIN VIEW: Matt Gulbrandsen, Sr., K; D.J. Geroux, Sr., DB; Sam Kamp, Jr., DL; Colton Winward, Sr., LB; Jarrett Bunnin, Sr., OL; Jacom Brimhall, Sr., RB. NOTRE DAME: Will King, Sr., QB; Jack York, So., OL; Ian Montague, Jr., OL; Devon Villarreal, Sr., LB; Skyler McCurdy, Sr., WR. PARADISE VALLEY: Jake Brown, Sr., RB; Joe Wyzelik, Sr., OL; Cyrus Way, Sr., OL; Austen Salazar, Jr., DL; Kevin Spain, Sr., DB. PERRY: Mo Latu, Jr., DL; Andrew Jimenez, Jr., DB. PINNACLE: Alex Cappellini, Sr., QB; Jordan Soteros, Sr., DB; Alex Smith, Sr., OL; Dillon Luther, Sr., WR. QUEEN CREEK: Adam Brzeczek, Jr., QB; Jeff Black, Jr., WR; Chim Nga, Sr., LB. RED MOUNTAIN: Derek Molina, Sr., RB; Elizha Cordova, Jr., WR; Jacob Tune, Sr., DB. SAGUARO: Teddy Ruben, Jr., QB; D.J. Foster, So., DB. SCOTTSDALE CHRISTIAN: Jensen Cruse, Sr., RB; Chauncey Wright, Jr., RB; Brett Miller, Sr., WR; Luke Siwek, Jr., OL; Thomas Rice, Jr., DB; Josh O’Neill, Jr., LB; K.J. Gould, Jr., DL; SETON CATHOLIC: Justin Sieczkowski, Sr., QB; Trevor Gleisner, Sr., WR; Michael Chavez, Sr., K. SKYLINE: Tyler Sinsabaugh, Sr., DB. ST. MARY’S: Josh Fulton, Sr., TE/DL; Mike Jajou, Jr., LB; TEMPE: O’Shea Primous, Sr., DB. TEMPE PREP: Matt Rines, Sr., LB; Matt Rich, Sr., DL; Rocky Brittain, Jr., LB; VALLEY CHRISTIAN: James Fitzgerald, Sr., DB; Colton Udall, Jr., DL; Kyle O’Brien, Sr., OL/WR; Chris Carruth, Jr., OL; Clint Sanniec, Sr., K. WESTWOOD: John Holtz, Sr., OL; Billy Sueing, Jr., WR; Maika Papalii, Sr., DL; Valencio Gray, Jr., DB. WILLIAMS FIELD: Larry Sandrolini, Sr., DL; Dylon Koch, Sr., LB; Andre Midence, Sr., OL; Aaron Hill, Sr., WR; Riley Koubeck, Sr., DB.