Cheyenne didn’t make it to the Sunset Region football final this fall. But the Desert Shields still made strong impressions on the other teams in the Sunset Region.
Cheyenne had the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year as coaches announced their all-region teams.
Senior linebacker Damien Proby took the Defensive Player of the Year award, and senior running back Marcus Sullivan was the Offensive Player of the Year.
“Proby, he’s just been a pillar for us as far as his attitude and leadership and work ethic,” Cheyenne coach Charles Anthony said.
“As far as his ability and attitude and football knowledge, it’s unparalleled to any other kid I’ve coached.”
Proby led a defense that allowed an average of 8.1 points and posted five shutouts. Sixty-two of the 97 points Cheyenne allowed came in its two losses.
“Every team always put two guys on him,” Anthony said. “They knew he was all over the field and makes all the tackles. If you don’t put two or three bodies on him, he’s going to slip through and make the tackles.”
Sullivan broke his leg in the second game of the season as a junior but bounced back to become one of the area’s most explosive players this fall.
He rushed for 1,643 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging 11.8 yards per carry. Sullivan also caught 12 passes for 411 yards and seven TDs, and he threw two TD passes in the Sunset semifinals.
“He always had that in him; we just didn’t have him last year because of that injury,” Anthony said. “He came back and worked real hard. He’s always been a track guy, so he’s always been fast and lightning quick.”
Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost, whose team is set to play in the Class 4A state title game Saturday, was named Sunset Coach of the Year.
Silverado had a disappointing season, missing the playoffs, but that didn’t stop the Skyhawks from taking one of the top Sunrise Region awards.
Senior defensive end Keenan Graham was named the Sunrise Defensive Player of the Year.
Graham, who has committed to UCLA, led the team in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss.
“He turned out to be a pretty good role model and leader for our younger kids,” Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza said. “I don’t coach many kids like him with over 30 scholarship offers. You don’t get those in your career.”
The 6-foot-3-inch, 231-pound Graham had an electronic time of 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a combine, and he used that speed to finish with 10 sacks this fall. It also helped him make plays downfield and on the other side of the line.
“This year he developed into a better, well-rounded player as far as finding the ball a lot better,” Ostolaza said. “I think that’s why he made so many plays, especially plays away from him. With his speed, he’s able to get down the line quickly.”
Rancho senior quarterback James Cammack, who led the area with 3,359 passing yards and 37 passing touchdowns, was named the Sunrise Region Offensive Player of the Year.
The shifty Cammack also rushed for 359 yards and seven scores.
First-year Rancho coach Elvin Dick said Cammack was a much more polished quarterback by the end of the season.
“If you were to watch Week 1 against Liberty and then watch Week 11, you would see a kid that just grew immensely in playing the quarterback position,” Dick said.
Cammack also used his quickness and speed to keep plays alive as the pocket collapsed around him.
“You don’t want to tell a guy not to use his feet when he’s that gifted,” Dick said. “There were times when they just couldn’t tackle him. That’s just from his God-given ability.”
First-year Basic coach Jeff Cahill was named Sunrise Coach of the Year.