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Sparks easy choice for CCC MVP

Some decisions don't take much thought.

In a move that surprised no one, the Central California Conference coaches named Merced's gifted receiver Jarrett Sparks as the CCC Most Valuable Player for 2007

Sparks was an easy choice, having caught 42 passes for 949 yards and 14 touchdowns to help lead Merced to a second straight perfect run through the conference.

"He's definitely Division I material," said Buhach Colony coach Kevin Swartwood.

"He's got the size, speed, athleticism. He's got everything."

After dominating the CCC, Merced predictably cleaned up on the postseason awards.

Safety Bernard Bolden was named the Defensive Player of the Year and Kameron Huddleston was picked as the Lineman of the Year.

"Many felt Bernard could have been the league MVP," said Merced coach Rob Scheidt, who was named Coach of the Year.

"He could have, but in our evaluation of the best player on the field, we felt Jarrett deserved it.

"With Bernard getting Defensive Player and Kameron getting Lineman of the Year, we felt our guys were rewarded.

"I thought one of them could have been edged out because it's hard to give three supremacy awards to one team. I thought our guys deserved it."

Los Banos running back Casey Cotta earned the other top award when he was named the Offensive Player of the Year.

Cotta finished with 1,410 yards and 13 touchdowns.

To go along with three of the top awards, Merced also landed seven other players on the All-CCC first team -- which meant the league coaches felt 10 of Merced's players were the tops at their position in the conference.

"That goes to show you how good they were," Swartwood said. "I don't remember hearing of a team with (10) all-league guys.

"Not even when I was back at Merced."

Merced's Ricky Sotelo (OL), Stephon Mathis (RB), Kenny Cooper (TE), George Gutierrez (K), Leon Jackson (DL), David DeLaTorre (LB) and Jamichael Turner (CB) all earned first-team honors.

Los Banos had five players earn first-team spots: Damon Bragner (OL), Julio Cortez (QB), Ruble Sangha (WR), Doug Fuentes (DL) and Andrew Vander Poel (DE).

They were joined on the team by Golden Valley's Nathan Saefong (DE) and Jeremy Jacobo (DB), along with Atwater's Vincent Flores (DB).

"We played pretty well this year and the voting reflected that," Scheidt said. "We felt we never played that perfect game, but our guys were recognized for their effort."

For a complete list of the All-CCC first and second teams, check turn The Fine Print on page D7.

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at