By Mark Tennis
Full Article from Cal-Hi Sports
Photo Credit: Mike Ortiz
STATE SOPHOMORE OF THE YEAR:
NOAH FIFITA (SERVITE, ANAHEIM)
For having a breakout season in leading the Friars to a final state top 10 ranking, quarterback Noah Fifita has been selected as the 2019 State Sophomore Player of the Year. He’s a bit different than the previous Trinity League QBs who’ve nabbed this honor — D.J. Uigalelei of St. John Bosco for 2017 and J.T. Daniels of Mater Dei for 2016 (he later re-classified to senior status after 2017 season) — in that he doesn’t have the size at 5-foot-10 that the college recruiting rankings love, but clearly benefitted from going up against Trinity League competition.
Servite was coming off of a 4-5 season in which it was expected to contend for third-place in the league and perhaps get closer to the monsters at the top. With Fifita at the controls, those goals were met. The Friars beat JSerra of San Juan Capistrano and only lost by one point to St. John Bosco (although they were blown out by Mater Dei). Fifita hit on 15 of 27 passes for 227 yards and three TDs in the 27-26 loss to the Braves and he went for 272 yards and four TDs in the win against the Lions. His last Trinity League outing against Orange Lutheran wasn’t too shabby, either: 19 of 21 for 251 yards and five TDs.
For the season, Fifita passed for 2,892 yards and 37 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He didn’t have the rushing stats of other quarterbacks in the league, but his 37 TDs easily topped the Servite school record of 30 set in 1996 by Greg Cicero.
Those league games, plus a non-league win over Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, pushed the Friars into the CIFSS D1 playoffs with a No. 5 seed, which forced a matchup with unbeaten Mission Viejo in the first round. The Diablos won that game, 38-35, but Fifita had his moments with 21 completions in 34 attempts for 339 yards and four TDs.
Prior to JT Daniels in 2016, the last player from Orange County to be State Sophomore of the Year also was the last one from Servite, which would be two-way standout Dennis Shoemate in 2005. The only other from Orange County since 2000 was Jeremy Childs of Los Alamitos in 2002.
Fifita adds this prestigious honor to an already impressive list of accolades earned following his sophomore campaign including 1st Team All-Trinity League Offense, 2nd Team All-Orange County Offense and 2nd Team MaxPreps Sophomore All-American.