Anthony White leads his Santa Ana College football team onto the field. (Photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).
The Southern California Football Association announced its 2021 post season awards and Santa Ana College’s squad was well represented.
Santa Ana College (7-4) won the American Division/Metro League title for the first time since 2017, and for only the second time in 22 years. The Dons placed three players on the first team offense and four players on the first team defense.
In addition, SAC’s first-year head coach Anthony White was named Coach of the Year and quarterback Ceasar Ayala, who threw for 2,487 yards and 33 touchdown passes, received the offensive player of the Year award.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE:
OL, EJ Jones, 6-5/335 (anchored offensive line that led the California Community College Athletic Association in most passing TDs (45), most points per game (48.3)
WR, Tyler Shimomura, 5-11/175 (41 receptions, 546 yards and 7 TDs)
WR, Arthur Shaw WR, 5-10/175, (56 receptions, 798 yards, 9 TDs, 1,235 all-purpose yards)
“Each of these guys were such playmakers and leaders on and off the field,” said White. “They’ve also excelled in the classroom and were great teammates.
“EJ Jones did a great job on the offensive line and was one of the main reasons why our rushing and passing game was so successful. Because of his age, 29, he is considering playing professionally in Europe.
“Tyler Shimomura was an unbelievable utility player. He did everything for us. He probably had the hands on the team. He caught passes, he ran the ball, he threw a TD pass this season, he returned kicks and held for PATs and was our punter. He has multiple offers and options but has not committed yet. He will probably make a decision after Christmas.
“Arthur Shaw was the guy we knew the other teams feared because of his blazing speed. They had to game plan for him and he was outstanding catching passes and returning kicks.”
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DT, Tim Gomez, DT, 6-3, 305, (22 tackles and led SACs defense that held opponents to 18 points per game)
OLB, Matthew Galvan, 6-1, 205, (third leading SAC tackler)
CB, Bryce Phillips, 6-1, 185, (25 tackles, 2 Interceptions, one TD)
S, Devyon Benton, 6-1, 190, (six interceptions, 2 TDs, 8 pass breakups)
“Tim (Gomez) was a leader on our defense in stopping the run,” White said. “He has multiple offers to play next season.
“Matthew Galvan surprised us. He came out of Fullerton High School with not a lot of fanfare and stars, but he started every game for us and stopped the run. He played with tremendous effort and a big heart.
“Bryce Phillips is a Division 1 kid and he will be announcing around December 15 where he’ll be playing next season. He is considering Washington State, Weber State and Colorado State.
“Devyon Benton raised the bar for our defense. He led the team in interceptions, and returned two picks for TDs and helped our defense lead the CCAA in defensive touchdowns (7).”
Ceasar Ayala, Offensive Player of the Year: “Caesar Ayala was our backup quarterback to start the season and, after Luke Wilson went out with an ACL injury, he came in and did a phenomenal job,” White said. “He’s a great talent and he used the playmakers around him and worked well with our offensive coordinator and was successful. He’s has offers and he’ll have options where he’ll want to play next.”
Coach of the Year, Anthony White: “I attribute this award to my amazing staff,” White said. “This is a staff award as I see it and I congratulate all of them. We handled adversity after getting shut down cold turkey at the beginning of the season for two weeks, due to COVID, but we overcame it and we picked it up. Right now, we have a big job to recruit players from Orange County and help place our outgoing players into good schools.
“College football is a different animal. There’s a learning curve to it. There’s a lot of little things. The game is longer, you need players in top notch condition. We have guys on the team who have been in the military and who are fathers and others who have jobs. It’s different from high school because they’re not always on campus, where at high school, you can go get them from their class.”
Before coming to SAC, White was the head coach at Temple City High School for one year before taking the Buena Park High School head coaching job where he stayed for seven years.
“It’s been a dream of mine to be a college head coach by the time I was 40,” said White, a former player at the University of Utah, who also turned 40-years old this year.
—Courtesy Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone