P2P SJS Football Honors
Stone Ridge Christian quarterback Jacob Tanori is the SJS Freshman of the Year. (Twitter @JacobTanori2)

SJS Freshman of the Year

It’s not uncommon for freshmen to make an impact at the small school level, though it is less common with highly successful programs such as Merced’s Stone Ridge Christian, which won back-to-back section titles in 2014 and 2015, following that up with a nine-win season this year.

When that freshman has the all-around ability of a Jacob Tanori, however, there is no stopping him from being an immediate impact player. Tanori took the reins of the Knights’ offense at the quarterback position this season, but also had a huge season in the defensive secondary. With the freshman starting on both sides of the ball, Stone Ridge Christian surged to another strong season, and a first-round playoff win over Delta, despite having just six seniors on the roster.

Twenty of the Knights’ players this season were either freshmen or sophomores, yet with Tanori as a standout on both sides of the ball, the winning tradition continued. Offensively, he completed 52 percent of his passes and threw for 15 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He added another four scores on the ground, and averaged nearly five yards per carry.

Defensively, Tanori registered 58 total tackles at defensive back, with an interception and a forced fumble. That forced fumble came in a 13-tackle effort against Big Valley Christian in the regular-season finale. In that same game, he threw for a season-high 164 yards and three touchdowns.

With three years remaining, and with a bulk of his teammates returning next season, Tanori is definitely a player to watch for 2017 and beyond. He is also the Prep2Prep 2016 Sac-Joaquin Section Freshman of the Year.