Canyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal drops back to pass during a recent… (David Estrada )
It's the midway point in the high school football regular season, which means it's time to see who's living up to preseason hype.
Quarterback: Jonathan Jerozal of Canyon Country Canyon hasn't faced the toughest of foes, but all he can do is perform to the best of his ability, and that's what he has done, passing for 1,259 yards and 16 touchdowns with two interceptions for the 5-0 Cowboys.
Juniors Johnny Stanton of Santa Margarita and Justin Moore of Westlake Village Westlake are running the ball as well as any quarterbacks around. Stanton set a school quarterback record with 161 yards rushing against Los Alamitos. Moore gained 222 yards against Westlake Village Oaks Christian.
Eric Richardson of Cerritos Gahr has passed for 1,560 yards and 19 touchdowns. Justin Gheorghe of Riverside North has 1,332 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Tyler Stewart of Chatsworth Sierra Canyon has thrown 18 touchdown passes with one interception.
Kenny Potter of San Pedro has 13 touchdown passes and two interceptions. Troy Williams of Harbor City Narbonne keeps finding ways to make big plays. He had 364 yards passing and four touchdowns against Culver City on Friday. Chad Kanoff of Studio City Harvard-Westlake has 1,365 yards passing and 21 TDs.
Running back: Robert Lewis of unbeaten South Gate South East has had six touchdowns called back because of penalties. He has rushed for 786 yards and 12 touchdowns. Donta Abron Jr. of Upland has led his team to a 5-0 record with 795 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns.
Kawan Rally of Woodland Hills El Camino Real keeps punishing defenders. He has rushed for 1,159 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. Dejon Coleman of Arleta has 20 rushing touchdowns. Terrell Newby of West Hills Chaminade and Khalfani Muhammad of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame are juniors headed for 1,500-yard status and more.
Receiver: Darreus Rogers of Carson started with a bang, catching 24 passes against Santa Ana Mater Dei and Long Beach Poly. Then teams started devoting lots of defenders trying to stop him. Junior Steven Mitchell of Mission Hills Alemany has 28 receptions and nine touchdown catches.
Camarillo's Jake Maulhardt set a state record with 28 receptions against Canyon. Bryce Treggs of Bellflower St. John Bosco, Kenny Lawler of Upland and Chris Harper of Encino Crespi are playing at a high level every game.
Then there's Gabriel Marks of Venice. He has five touchdown receptions, two scores on kickoff returns, one score on an interception return and two touchdown runs, including an 89-yarder. That makes him Mr. Versatility.
Offensive line: Kyle Murphy of San Clemente and Max Tuerk of Santa Margarita are playing like the all-Americans they are. Corey Whitaker of Vista Murrieta is earning himself a scholarship with strong games week after week.
This is a position of strength for such unbeaten teams as Orange Lutheran, Westlake, Villa Park, Upland, Vista Murrieta and Santa Margarita.
Defensive line: Chris Frost of Santa Margarita has eight sacks. Justin Solis of Westlake has been smothering anyone with the ball. Deion Williams of Orange Lutheran has been causing havoc rushing quarterbacks. Kylie Fitts, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound junior at Redlands East Valley, has contributed seven sacks for a team that has given up 19 points in five games.
Linebacker: Here's the surprise position of excellence. Butch Pauu of Anaheim Servite, Aaron Porter of La Habra, Jeremiah Allison of Los Angeles Dorsey, Matthew Rowe of Long Beach Poly and Su'a Cravens of Vista Murrieta are putting licks on lots of running backs and quarterbacks. They're all going to be big-time players at the next level. And junior Marcus Stamps of unbeaten Los Angeles Jefferson is averaging nine tackles a game.
Defensive back: Eamon McOsker of Los Angeles Loyola, Ishmael Adams of Oaks Christian and Darion Williams of Vista Murrieta are having an impact covering receivers and making tackles.
Kicker: Alex Ball of Westlake has made 12 field goals. Ericson Penate of El Camino Real has twice won games with a field goal in the final seconds.
Garrett Owens of Arroyo Grande has a 57-yard field goal. Bret Miller of Santa Clemente is six for six on field goals. Conrad Ukropina of Loyola has looked like a college punter. Osborn Umeh of Lakewood Mayfair is averaging 47 yards a punt.