2015 Starbucks/Black Hat Football Player of the Year for The 209: Central Catholic RB Justin Rice

Filed in Uncategorized by on December 13, 2015

RB JUSTIN RICE, Central Catholic Raiders

Sure, we could have waited until Sunday night – after the rest of the team is images-5announced – and stated what is only the most obvious decision in years: Central Catholic senior RB Justin Rice is our 2015 Starnucks/Black Hat Football Player of the Year for The 209!

He was our Starbucks/Black Hat Football Offensive Player of the Year in 2014,  after rushing for 2,000 yards as a junior to lead the Raiders to their third straight state title. He’s done it again: Rice has 2,482 yards rushing and 30TDs on the ground going into Saturday’s State Small School Bowl against 15-0 San Marino, 4 pm at Sacramento State.

He owns the school record for yards in a game (325, set in last weekend’s 49-14 NorCal Open Bowl rout of Marin Catholic, as well as yards in a row.

The Fresno State-commit has also caught 14 passes for 182 yards and was th Valley Oak League Player of the Year. His Raiders are 15-0 and shooting for a fourth straight state crown.

Most impressive thing about Rice — Besides the fact that he’s 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and capable of running through or away from defenders? His biggest games come in the biggest games:

** 28 carris for 285 yards and  3 TDs in a rout of Manteca;

** 30 carries for 288 yards and 3 TDs in the regular-season win over Oakdale;

** 22 carries for 304 yards and 5 TDs in a 48-12 semifinal rout of Placer;

** 28 carries for 168 yards and 2 TDs in a 21-7 title-game win over Oakdale.

** 35 carries for 325 yards and 5 TDs against Marin Catholic.

He’ll be joining his brother Jared Rice at Fresno State.

To see all of the 2015 Starbucks/Black Hat Football Team, click this link.

About the Author ()

Richard T. Estrada has been covering high school football in The 209 area code for more than 30 years and is the voice of authority on the game in California's Central Valley. He oversaw The Modesto Bee's high school sports coverage for a couple of decades, and also was a national award-winning business and agriculture writer. Black Hat Football not only covers the game, but emphasizes education and the need for The 209's student-athletes to prepare for college.

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