The Cathedral City High School football team may have been left out of the playoffs this year, but the Lions were the headliners of this year’s All-Desert Valley League honor roll, which was released Wednesday.
Further reinforcing the stellar season the Lions had were the 14 slots Cathedral City occupied on the first and second All-DVL teams. The list included 11 different players, with three taking home honors at multiple positions. The two teams were compiled by league head coaches.
“It kind of validates what we put on the field this year,” Cathedral City head coach Richard Lee said. “When people who know football recognize you, that really means something.”
Leading the group was senior middle linebacker Aaron Lomboy, who was named DVL Defensive Player of the Year. Lomboy led the league in tackles per game (12.3) and had nine sacks and three interceptions in nine games.
La Quinta running back Vince Guzman, who led the valley in rushing yards with 1,969, was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year. He also rushed for 23 touchdowns in just nine games at tailback.
“We pretty much all voted for the guy who hurt us the most,” Palm Springs head coach Dan Murphy said. “There were a lot of deserving kids, but the guy who hurt us the most was Guzman. We just couldn’t stop him.”
For the first time in years, league coaches returned to a true voting system to determine the All-DVL teams. For roughly the past 15 seasons, the first and second teams were largely decided by where a school finished in the league standings.
The DVL title winner would be guaranteed eight spots on the First Team, the second place team with seven, and so on. The coaches would then chose which of their own players were most worthy, regardless of position. Every team was provided at least two spots on the First Team.
This year, it didn’t matter where a team finished. No team had any guaranteed spots, and a school theoretically could have had all of them if opposing coaches voted that way.
The head coaches of each school met together on Monday, Nov. 11 and decided on the first and second teams using a simple point system. Coaches nominated players from their own team when it came to certain positions, such as quarterback or defensive line, and opposing coaches then voted by ranking the best players at each position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
The players on this year’s First Team were the ones that received the highest marks from opposing head coaches — which ultimately provides us with perhaps the truest and most classical All-DVL team in more than a decade.
Despite stiff competition, multiple league coaches said Lomboy had quite a bit of support from opposing coaches as the Defensive Player of the Year. Still, it was a close race. Lomboy claimed three votes, with La Quinta’s Darius Griffin earning two and Palm Springs’ Chance Spates snagging one.
“He’s the best guy to the ball in the league,” Lee said of Lomboy. “He has good closing speed and plays sideline to sideline. Some of the other coaches at the meeting were like, ‘It felt like he had 30 tackles against us.’”
Support for Guzman was strong. He was the catalyst behind La Quinta claiming a share of the DVL title for the first time since 2009. Helping him, coaches say, is that opposing coaches were split on Palm Desert’s Trae Riek and Kyle Kabeary. Their collective dominance left coaches without a clear-cut candidate for Palm Desert, the co-league champs. But Guzman still won the vote handily.
Kabeary, however, was voted to the First Team at four different positions: quarterback, defensive back, kicker and punter, making him the best all-around player this year.
Below is the complete All-DVL breakdown:
Offensive Player of the Year: Vince Guzman, RB, La Quinta, sr.
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Lomboy, LB, Cathedral City, sr.
Co-Coach of the Year: Richard Lee, Cathedral City; Pat Blackburn, Palm Desert.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
Offensive Line: Ben Simonds, La Quinta, sr.; Eddie Arizmendi, Palm Springs, sr.; J.D. Armada, Palm Desert, sr.; Ryan Franco, Cathedral City, sr.; Jake Meyer, Palm Desert, sr.
Quarterback: Kyle Kabeary, Palm Desert, sr.
Running backs: Vince Guzman, La Quinta, sr.; Trae Riek, Palm Desert, sr.; Orlando Wallace, Cathedral City, jr..
Receivers/Tight end: James Rodriguez, Cathedral City, sr.; Jacob Castelli, Palm Desert, sr.; Riley Hagar, Palm Springs, jr.; Charles Hays, La Quinta, jr.
Offensive utility: Jason Simmons, Cathedral City, sr.
Kicker: Kyle Kabeary, Palm Desert, sr.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
Defensive line: Dominic Aguirre, La Quinta, sr.; Eddie Arizmendi, Palm Springs, sr.; Garin Mesarch, Palm Desert, sr.; Jamal Holdman, Cathedral City, sr.
Linebackers: Aaron Lomboy, Cathedral City, sr.; Darius Griffin, La Quinta, sr.; Chance Spates, Palm Springs, sr.
Defensive backs: Patrick Lucas, La Quinta, sr.; Kyle Kabeary, Palm Desert, sr.; Trae Riek, Palm Desert, sr.; Justin Dorsey, Cathedral City, sr.; James Rodriguez, Cathedral City, sr.
Defensive utility: Jake Jiannoni, La Quinta, sr.
Punter: Kyle Kabeary, Palm Desert.
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
Offensive line: Bobby Orellano, La Quinta, jr.; Jeffrey Salas, Cathedral City, sr.; Daniel Cain, Palm Springs, sr.; Matt Cantu, Palm Desert, sr.; Angel Gloria, Coachella Valley, sr.
Quarterback: Davin Lile, Cathedral City, jr.
Running backs: Ryan Reyes, Indio, jr.; Izak Ocon, Coachella Valley, sr.; Carlos Medina, Coachella Valley, jr.
Receivers: John Diaz, Indio, jr.; Jason Simmons, Cathedral City, sr.; Randolph Mullen, Palm Springs, jr.; Marcus Sharpe, Palm Desert, sr.
Offensive utility: Noah McGuire, Palm Springs, soph.
Kicker: Luis Castellanos, Cathedral City, sr.
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
Defensive line: Casey Davis, Palm Springs, sr.; Ryan Franco, Cathedral City, sr.; Angel Gloria, Coachella Valley, sr.; Will Emmett, Palm Desert, soph.
Linebackers: Tommy Jacobsson, Palm Desert, soph.; Omar Valenzuela, La Quinta, jr.; Tate Oligney, Palm Desert, sr.
Defensive backs: Noah Torres, Coachella Valley, jr.; Jesus Aguirre, La Quinta, sr.; Joseph Camargo, Palm Springs, sr.; Issaha Nsubuga, Cathedral City, sr.; Ryan Koehler, Palm Springs, jr.
Defensive utility: Rollie Ignacio, Coachella Valley, sr.
Punter: Jose Sandoval, Indio, sr.