Our No. 7 team wasn’t on any of the rankings radar screens to end last season, but with as much talent as they return, look for St. Mary’s to make some noise if and when we have a season
7. St. Mary’s-Stockton (6-5)
After discussing it with Prep2Prep Content Manager and Heritage-Brentwood Athletic Director Nate Smith, who originally suggested tying the Rams with No. 8 Valley Christian, we’re placing the Rams ahead of the No. 2 team from the West Catholic Athletic League despite the fact they were not really on the radar screen in last year’s final Cal-Hi Sports rankings, and a lot of people are overlooking them in the pre-season rankings despite the fact that they have a ton of talent returning.
Plus, a close look at their record from last season looks better than any other 6-5 team in the state. All five of the losses were to teams ranked above them in every ranking, so we decided in fact they do deserve to be behind the Pittsburg team that they stayed with all the way before falling 42-35 to open the season. Three of the other losses were to Serra, Cal-Hi Sports No. 4 Mission Viejo, and De La Salle.
From there, head coach Tony Franks and his boys went 5-0 in the Tri-City Athletic League before a first round 28-21 loss to Monterey Trail in a game they led 14-7 at halftime.
The top returner and a player that is rated as the top prospect in Northern California and No. 3 wide receiver from the Class of 2022 is Jadyn Marshall. The Offensive MVP of the National Preps Collegiate Showcase last month at Vacaville High had 68 receptions for 1,128 yards and nine touchdowns receiving last season, plus 253 yards rushing and five more TDs as a running back.
Marshall, who has offers from Arizona State, Auburn, Cal, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, San Jose State, UCLA, UNLV and USC, also returned two punts for scores.
Besides Marshall, another player returning that makes the recruiting lists is Tim Thomas. The junior may see more action running the ball but Thomas is being recruited as an inside linebacker and has interest from six D1 colleges.
Leading rusher Tyrei Washington (852 yards rushing, 14 TDs) is back for his senior season and is starting to get some offers. On defense the Rams return their two top tacklers, senior linebacker Max Rascon (96 tackles) and senior free safety Nick Murray (88 tackles), who also should see more action at wide receiver. Murray also won individual honors at the National Preps event in Vacaville after being named the MVP for defensive backs.
Franks has three players vying for the quarterback position, senior Nathan Arnaudo who moves over from tight end but played quarterback as a sophomore, Junior transfer Cruz Herrera, who started last year for Linden and passed and ran for over 2,000 yards and 23 TDs combined, and junior Deven Holbert, the JV quarterback last season.
“I like my team. I just hope we get to play,” Franks said in conclusion.
The Rams scheduled opener was with Turlock, but that may very well change if we have a season that at this point could eliminate non-league and playoff competition.