Ten Eagles on all-SVC football teamBy: Matt Long, Sports Editor
Vista del Lago placed 10 players on the Sierra Valley Conference all-league football team, a reward for the league champion that won all six league games.
Matt Jimison was honored as the league’s offensive Most Valuable Player. Jimison, a sophomore in his first varsity season, completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,592 yards and 37 touchdowns in 11 games as a starter. Jimison led a dynamic offense which averaged 43 points per game.
“Matt’s as good as anyone that I’ve coach at his position and that goes back to some great guys,” Vista coach Chris Jones said. “He’s further along at his age. He has so much ability that he’s just scratching the surface. The future is bright for him. I see him improving because he has that ability level and work ethic.”
Led by Jimison, Vista’s offense was so prolific that the Eagles had five of their 11 starters on offense make the all-league team and all are underclassmen. Juniors Josh Pfeffer (running back), Tyler Kaim (receiver) and Pat Roche (lineman) joined sophomores Jimison and Brad Rittenhouse (receiver) on the team. For the 6’1”, 280-pound Roche, it was the second straight season he made the all-league team.
Pfeffer rushed for 1,159 yards and scored 18 touchdowns, while also catching 24 passes for 208 yards and one score. Kaim hauled in 41 passes for 627 yards and six touchdowns, while Rittenhouse caught 48 balls for 892 yards and 14 touchdowns and was Jimison’s deep-ball threat, as he averaged 18 yards per catch.
Junior linebacker JT Winkler will be one of six all-league players returning next year for the Eagles. Winkler had an outstanding season with 93 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions, one which he returned for a touchdown.
“JT was rock solid all year and made big plays in big games,” Jones said. “He had an interception against Cosumnes Oaks to seal the game and a pick-six against El Camino in the playoffs that was a game-changer.
“With him and the younger guys, it’s always nice when they play well because it sets them up for future success. For Matt, Brad, Pat, Josh, Tyler and JT, those guys are going to come into next season with higher expectations. For Pat, to have him back as a two-year starter and all-league player is great.”
Joining Winkler as all-league players on defense are three seniors, defensive linemen Evan Ewey and Chris Grunsky and linebacker Nick Rametta. Rametta made 125 tackles, had seven sacks and two fumble recoveries. Grunsky was in on 93 tackles, had six sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries, while Ewey made 84 tackles and had eight sacks.
“For guys like Evan and Bear (Grunsky), those guys on the line are the ones who make the rest of the defense go,” Jones said. “Those guys control the line of scrimmage and do the dirty work that allows others to succeed. Nick was one of the leaders of the defense and did a lot of good things on the field. He was critical for us in the playoffs.”
Senior kicker Anderz Mintz also made the all-league team after a 93-point season featuring eight field goals and 69 extra points.
At Vista’s football banquet, the team gave out four awards and all went to all-league players. Jimison was named the team’s Most Valuable Player; Pfeffer was the Offensive Player of the Year, while Ewey earned the Defensive Player of the Year award. Grunsky won the Eagle Award, given to the player that embodies the character of a Vista del Lago football player.