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The rest of the best on defense for the Herald’s All-County football team:
Robert Brown, Carmel >> A beast on the Padres’ interior line, the 285-pound Brown had seven sacks and 42 tackles this past fall. He also broke up eight passes and recovered a fumble.
The junior defensive linemen forced opponents to double-team him. Running in his direction wasn’t a wise move as Brown clogged the lanes.
Noah Habes, Salinas >> A beast on one end of the defensive line, Habes finished with eight sacks, including one in the CCS title game against Milpitas.
The Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division’s Defensive Lineman of the Year, the senior was a demon on defense that flew around the field with a motor that never stopped.
Sione Kamitoni, Seaside >> The 315-pound lineman was a disruptive force in the middle of the Spartans’ defensive front, recording 65 tackles and three sacks.
Athletic for a big man, Kamitoni also intercepted two passes for the Spartans, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
Hunter Mason, Salinas >> The linebacker ran back two interceptions for touchdowns for Salinas, finishing among the team leaders in tackles.
An all-MBL-G selection, Mason gave Salinas a devastating linebacker core, one that held four league opponents scoreless in the first half when games were still in doubt.
Jacob Olivas, Soledad >> The sophomore linebacker had a breakout year for the Misstion Trail Athletic League Mission Division-champion Aztecs, leading the team with 125 tackles.
Olivas had 10 or more tackles in five games, including 17 in a playoff loss to Scotts Valley. He also intercepted two passes, compiled three sacks and recovered a fumble.
Drew Schuler, Salinas >> The MBL-G Defensive Player of the Year, Schuler was a three-year starter for the Cowboys, finishing as the team leader in tackles.
Schuler had a game-winning interception in Salinas’ playoff win over Palo Alto. The heartbeat of the team’s defense, his presence at linebacker influenced opponents’ gameplans.
PJ Schlegel, Palma >> An all-MBL-G selection, the linebacker finished among the team leaders in sacks and tackles.
The senior emerged as a leader on a revamped Chieftains defense, igniting a unit that shut down opponents during a five-game winning streak that vaulted them into the postseason.
Zach DeZee, Carmel >> Just a junior, the defensive back intercepted seven passes for Carmel while coming up from his safety position to record 50 tackles and recover a fumble.
A two-year starter for the Padres, DeZee had his best games against big opponents, intercepting three passes against King City and recording 10 tackles against Scotts Valley. He also had three two-point conversations.
Daniel Sayre, Seaside >> A repeat selection on the All-County team, the Spartans defensive back picked off five passes this year, returning two for touchdowns.
In two seasons at Seaside, Sayre had 12 interceptions, returning seven for touchdowns. The senior also finished with 65 tackles and caught five touchdown passes on offense.
Tim Hunter, North Salinas >> A bright spot in a somber season for the Vikings, Hunter earned all-league honors in the MBL-G, finishing among the team leaders in tackles.
A two-way starter for North Salinas, Hunter was a shutdown cornerback, with a dozen pass breakups. He also led the team in rushing and kickoff returns.
Kelly McDermott, Salinas >> The junior defensive back came up with clutch interceptions in the Cowboys’ league title clinching win over Aptos and in their CCS title game against Milpitas.
McDermott was often asked to defend the opponent’s best receiver. He was among the team leaders in tackles and caught 31 passes as a receiver on offense.
Michael Ramirez, Alvarez >> Snubbed from the MBL-G first team, the two-way starter was a bright spot for the Eagles, leading them in tackles, interceptions and rushing yards.
Chosen to the All-County team as a utility player, Ramirez finished with 114 tackles and four picks for Alvarez. He also rushed for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns last fall.
Robbie Santa Ana, Soledad >> Selected as a utility player, Santa Ana intercepted four passes and had eight pass breakups and 50 tackles.
Offensively, he quarterbacked Soledad to a league title, setting a school record for touchdown passes with 19, while throwing for nearly 1,700 yards. He also rushed for two touchdowns.
Coach of the year
Steve Zenk, Salinas >> In his first season as the Cowboys head coach, Zenk took the team to the MBL-G title and its first CCS title in 16 years.
Salinas was undefeated in league, rattling off a school record 10 straight wins to reach the CIF NorCAl Division 4-AA bowl game.