Zach Claiborne was a force on the Oak Ridge High football team’s defense this season. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive end had a state-leading and all-time Sacramento area-best 25-and-a-half sacks to lead a Trojan defense that held opponents to an average of 16. 5 points per game.
His contributions on the field earned him the All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year. Claiborne, a senior, is one of 13 El Dorado County players named on offense or defense to either the first team, second team or honorable mention squad.
Claiborne was one of three players sharing top honors along with Folsom quarterback Jake Browning (Offensive Player of the Year) and Del Oro running back Brandon Monroe (Player of the Year).
A two-sport athlete in football and wrestling, Claiborne had 90 tackles for the Trojans, including 65 solo. He also recovered two fumbles and caused two fumbles, according to MaxPreps.com.
“He’s an exceptional athlete,” Oak Ridge head coach Eric Cavaliere said. “Zack played his best in the bigger games. That’s what great players do is have their biggest games against bigger opponents.”
Oak Ridge quarterback Jason Samuels was named to the first team offense. Samuels, also a senior, completed 192 of 326 passes for 2,595 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Ponderosa inside linebacker Jeff Camilli was named to the first team defense. He led the Bruins in tackles with 123, including 86 solo. He also had two interceptions for a combined 50 yards and caused three fumbles.
Camilli, who according to his Twitter profile has committed to play for Fresno State, was a double threat on offense. Playing fullback and tight end, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound senior had 35 carries for 271 yards, averaging 7.7 yards per carry and hauled in eight passes for 87 yards and a combined nine touchdowns.
Named to the second team offense was Oak Ridge lineman Jacob Proul, and second team defense was Trojans linebacker Nick Gordon, both seniors.
County players selected to honorable mention on offense were Ponderosa quarterback Jacob Bist, Union Mine running back Sean Tow, Oak Ridge wide receiver Bryon Spain, El Dorado wide receiver Clayton Van Duyn and Oak Ridge lineman Jason Chapman.
Earning honorable mention honors on defense were Ponderosa lineman Curtis Catron, Golden Sierra linebacker Daniel Lesher and Oak Ridge linebacker Thomas Mahlman.
Granite Bay head coach Ernie Cooper was named the Coach of the Year. After starting the season with a 1-3 record, Cooper watched his squad rattle off a 12-game winning streak that included beating Oak Ridge in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game and edging Poly of Long Beach, 21-20, in the CIF State Bowl Division I championship game last month.