For every previous season in which there has been a Mr. Football State Player of the Year chosen, the selection was based on what happened during a 14-week season that included no CIF state bowl games. This year, of course, all that changed with the first CIF state championship tripleheader and one of the major impacts of those games turned out to be on the state player of the year vote.
Because of what he did in that extra game and based on what he and his team accomplished against an extremely difficult schedule, we're pleased to announce that quarterback Aaron Corp from Orange Lutheran (Calif.) has been named the 2006 Mr. Football State Player of the Year by CalHiSports.com.
Corp led Lutheran to a 42-28 victory over Palo Alto in the CIF Div. II state title bowl game. A 6-4, 175-pounder who committed to USC last summer, Corp ran the ball 11 times against Palo Alto for 155 yards and one touchdown. He also completed 16 of 32 passes for 208 more yards and four scores.
For the season, Corp did the unusual double by rushing for more than 1,000 yards (1,135 to be exact) and passing for more than 2,000 yards (2,750 to be exact). He had 12 TDs running with 21 throwing and led the Lancers to a 14-1 record. They were No. 2 overall in the final state rankings, although admittedly there are many in the media and on message boards who think they should have been No. 1.
"You guys did a great job letting the suspense build for this, but we're thrilled and this is a huge honor for him and us," said Chris Corp, Aaron's father, who was contacted by cell phone on Wednesday night in Florida where Aaron is preparing for the first Offense-Defense All-American Game that will be held on Thursday night.
"They just had the banquet for that game and Aaron was named the best quarterback," Chris Corp added. "He's taking some hardware up to his room right now and we're happy about that, but (being named Mr. Football State Player of the Year) will be something that is even bigger. He's been asking me the last few days, 'Is it there yet?'"
It was certainly a different ending to a season than what Corp experienced as a junior when he was injured and had to watch his Lancer teammates get bounced out in the first-round of the CIF Southern Section Div. VI playoffs. This year, with Corp healthy and operating at peak efficiency every week, head coach Jim Kunau's team not only won the state bowl game but also outlasted Long Beach Poly and Edison of Huntington Beach to win the first-ever CIF Southern Section Pac-Five Division title. That division was a virtual super grouping including most of the very best leagues in Southern California.
Corp won the award after the list was paired down to six finalist- Oaks Christian, Westlake Village teammates Jimmy Clausen (QB) and Marc Tyler (RB), Salesian, Richmond running back Jahvid Best, Canyon, Canyon Country running back J.J. DiLuigi and West Bakersfield running back Ryan Mathews.