Among other things, 2015 was a throwback of sorts.
Schools such as San Marino and Calabasas proved a bunch of neighborhood friends can come together and win a CIF-Southern Section titles. For the Titans it was their first title since 1988 … 1996 was the last time Camarillo stood at the top of the CIF-SS mountain.
You could also call it the Year of the Hail Mary as La Habra quarterback, Eric Barriere, completed not one, but two to guide the Highlanders to a 13-1 record and its first sectional title in five years. It was also the season in which the nation had its eyes on the CIF-SS with one of the most highly anticipated finals in section history at Angel Stadium. St. John Bosco and Corona Centennial were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in various polls entering the game and the team’s combined to score 114 points as the Huskies took home the heralded PAC-5 title for the second year in a row.
With a bow put on the 2015 season, here’s a look at some of the top performers.
Offensive Player of the Year: WR Michael Pittman Jr., Oaks Christian
Is he a linebacker? Is he a safety? Those were questions that surrounded Michael Pittman Jr. entering the 2015 season. No doubt, a slight to his skills as a wide receiver. While any of the aforementioned positions could very well be in his future at the next level, Pittman proved he’s every bit the WR. In the Year of the Wide Receiver, Pittman stood taller than the rest in stature and production. The 6-foot-4 wideout nearly doubled his production in all receiving categories from a season ago and was a major reason the Lions improved from a five-win team that missed the playoffs in 2014 to a PAC-5 quarterfinalist that ran the table in the 2015 regular season and won the first PAC-5 playoff game in program history.
Game is never over with the ball in his hands; second Hail Mary TD of season won 7th CIF-SS crown in program history for the Highlanders.
K Manny Berz, Citrus Hill, Jr.
Made 11 straight FG to end the season; 53 touchbacks and also had 14 punts inside the 20 for Inland Division champs.
Defensive Player of the Year: Oluwole Betiku, Serra
Unblockable. Dominant. Sack master. Fill in the blank for any adjective to best describe a defensive end imposing his will on opposing offenses. Betiku was schemed against as opposing offensive coordinators designed ways to run plays away from him. The two-time Mission League lineman of the year still found himself in the backfield creating havoc with the strength to bulldoze his way through blockers and the speed to rush past them. The Nigeria native was willing to do whatever it took to make it to America for the chance to play football in 2013. Two years later, it’s safe to say he’s making the most of his opportunity.
DL Oluwole Betiku, Serra, Sr.
Led PAC-5 in sacks (17) and TFL (28); scary part is FOX Sports West/Prime Ticket Defensive POY is still learning the game.