Hoover High quarterback John Alaimo, who led the Tornadoes to an 8-2 record this past season, was named The Times' Glendale back of the year Sunday at ceremonies honoring the top high school football players in Southern California.
Rene Williams of Franklin was named the lineman of the year, while La Canada's Steve Silberman was selected as the coach of the year at a brunch at the Anaheim Hilton, in which the first teams of the all-star squads in 10 Times circulation areas received plaques and certificates.
"John Alaimo is probably the best football player I've ever had in high school," Hoover Coach Fred Cuccia said. "He's a winner, a great athlete. When the game in on the line, that's when he plays his best."
Alaimo, a 6-2, 170-pound senior, threw for 1,066 yards and 8 touchdowns this season. He also ran for 452 yards and 8 scores.
He was also one of the top defensive backs in Hoover history. He finished his career with 22 interceptions, a school record. This past season he had 7 thefts.
Alaimo, a three-year starter at defensive back, started at quarterback the last two seasons. He would have led the team to another Southern Section playoff berth this season had not the Tornadoes been forced to forfeit all their victories for using an ineligible player.
Alaimo is also a starter for the Hoover basketball team and an all-league pitcher for the baseball team.
In college, Alaimo will probably play football and baseball.
"He could play either quarterback or defensive back in college," Cuccia said.
When Williams of Franklin was growing up he wasn't allowed to play football.
"He was too big for Pop Warner football," Franklin Coach Rick Gamboa said.
This season, the 6-5 1/2, 275-pound senior was too big for most of his opponents, earning first-team All-Freeway League honors.
"He enjoys going downfield and really nailing somebody," Gamboa said of his offensive tackle. "And for somebody his size, he's got really good feet."
Williams has been playing football for only two seasons, but Gamboa is convinced that he is major-college material.
"He hasn't even touched his potential," Gamboa said.
Silberman, in his second year as the La Canada coach, led the Spartans to their first playoff appearance since 1980.
In 1979, La Canada won the Southern Section's Northwestern Conference championship. The Spartans returned to the playoffs in 1980, but won only four games in the next three seasons.
Silberman took over in 1984 and compiled a 4-6 record. This year, the Spartans went 7-4, finishing third in the Rio Hondo League and qualifying for the Eastern Conference playoffs.
A 24-14 loss to El Rancho in the first round ended La Canada's season.