Here’s a look at five L.A. City Section players to keep an eye on as we get ready to kick off the 2019 high school football season.
PJ Garcia – Garfield RB
Garcia was one of the top players on a Garfield team that advanced to section and state championships in 2018. He finished third in the LA City Section in rushing yards with 1,778. He also scored 22 touchdowns. Garcia was named an All-City Open Division first team member following his big junior season.
After EJ Gable’s transfer to Sierra Canyon before the 2018 season, there were questions about who would fill the void in the backfield for Arleta. Enter James Ochoa. The rising senior ran for a whopping 1,962 yards and 25 touchdowns a year ago. Only Santee’s Joseph Todd finished 2018 with more rushing yards and scores in the City Section.
Josh Ward – San Pedro RB/LB
Ward led San Pedro to the Division I City Championship in 2018 and he did a little bit of everything along the way. The senior rushed for 1,361 yards and 18 touchdowns. He caught three touchdown passes too. Defensively, he made 70 tackles including six for loss. He also recovered three fumbles and returned a kickoff for a score. That body of work earned Ward the Division I player of the year award.
Carlos Leal – Bell OT
Leal was named the Eastern League’s offensive lineman of the year in 2018. He helped lead Bell to the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs. The Eagles return a very strong offensive line for the upcoming season. Led by Leal, that unit should anchor another deep playoff run.
Syaire Riley – Palisades LB
How about some love for a defensive player? Riley made 110 tackles a season ago, 21.5 of them were for loss. He also intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles. Riley is the most intimidating linebacker in the Western League and will be one of the top players at his position in the City Section in 2019.