Kainoa Granstrom certainly wasn’t the most imposing linebacker in town.
But the Coronado senior put together one of the most impressive defensive seasons in the area, and the Southeast League’s coaches rewarded him by naming him the league’s Defensive Most Valuable Player.
“He’s a hammer,” Coronado coach Brad Talich said. “He’s a kid that’s not afraid of contact. He’s not afraid of teams running the ball downhill. He’s very good in pass coverage; he’s good against the run. He by far is the best player in the Sunrise (Region).”
The 5-foot-11-inch, 185-pound Granstrom finished with 143 tackles, best in the area. He keyed a Coronado defense that was among the best in Southern Nevada, allowing an average of 14.6 points, to help the Cougars advance to the Division I Sunrise Region semifinals.
“You better know where he’s at, or he’s going to be a pain for the offense,” Talich said. “If you don’t get a body on him, he’s going to make a play.”
Granstrom also had two sacks and intercepted a pass.
“He’s got a nose for the ball,” Talich said. “He enjoys contact. He looks forward to it. He’s a kid that’s determined and worked extremely hard this last year. Because he missed his junior year, he wanted to make sure his senior year was a good one.”
Green Valley running back Albert Lake, who rushed for 1,258 yards and 14 touchdowns before suffering a broken leg in the regular-season finale, was named the league’s Offensive MVP. Foothill’s Marty Redmond was Coach of the Year.
Las Vegas High swept the top player awards in the Northeast League. Wildcats quarterback Trevor Swenson, who passed for 2,009 yards and 23 TDs, was the Offensive MVP. Jacob Littlefield, who led Las Vegas with 83 tackles, was the Defensive MVP. Canyon Springs’ Hunkie Cooper was Coach of the Year.
Arbor View’s Herman Gray was the Northwest League’s Offensive MVP. Gray has rushed for an area-best 1,646 yards to go with 21 touchdowns in leading the Aggies into Friday’s Sunset Region title game. Cimarron-Memorial’s John Nelson, who had 109 tackles, was the Northwest’s Defensive MVP, and Arbor View’s Dan Barnson was Coach of the Year.
Not surprisingly, Bishop Gorman swept the top awards in the Southwest League. The Gaels, ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today, had linebacker Nela Otukolo (93 tackles) take the Defensive MVP, and running back Russell Booze (1,406 rushing yards) was the Offensive MVP. Gorman coach Tony Sanchez was Coach of the Year.
In Division I-A, Moapa Valley junior R.J. Hubert was named the Sunrise League’s Most Valuable Player. Going into Saturday’s state title game, Hubert has 42 catches for 807 yards and 13 touchdowns as well as six interceptions on defense.
His teammate, Zach Hymas (1,766 passing yards), was the Sunrise Offensive MVP, and the Pirates’ Andrew Huerta (92 tackles) shared the league’s Defensive MVP award with Desert Pines’ Anthony Smith (16 sacks).
Del Sol’s Jesus Olivas was the Lineman of the Year, and Moapa Valley’s Brent Lewis was Coach of the Year.
Mojave’s Ty Flanagan, who rushed for 1,266 yards and 16 touchdowns, was named the Sunset League MVP.
Faith Lutheran’s Mark Rubalcaba, with 64 catches for 1,084 yards and 13 touchdowns, was the league’s Offensive MVP, and teammate John Molchon was Lineman of the Year.
Spring Valley’s Michael Bianco (107 tackles, six interceptions) took the Sunset Defensive MVP honor, and Clark’s Don Willis was Coach of the Year.
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at email@example.com or 702-380-4587. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters.