What a way to cap off a career.
When it comes to all-time great career performances in California high school football history, you won’t find many better than the four years put together by Modesto Christian’s Isaiah Burse.
Isaiah Burse, Modesto Christian
Photo by Todd Shurtleff
He began his career as a freshman quarterback leading Calvary Temple to a Sac Joaquin Section championship. After Calvary Temple closed its doors, Burse moved over to Modesto Christian and earned all-league honors as a sophomore and junior while leading the Crusaders to a 16-7 record over that span.
But Burse and the Crusaders put it all together during the 2009 season. Besides helping Modesto Christian score 735 points and post a 15-0 record, Burse engineered the come-from-behind 44-40 win over Parker in the CIF Small Schools State Championship Game
Burse had an outstanding game for the Crusaders, completing 8 of 10 passes for 95 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing 21 times for 135 yards and a score. He also had eight tackles on defense and ran in a two-point conversion that forced Parker to go for the touchdown in the waning seconds of the game.
For his efforts in leading Modesto Christian to the state championship, Burse has been named the MaxPreps Small School State Player of the Year.
Burse finished the season with 1,813 yards rushing on 190 carries with 26 touchdowns. He also completed 77 of 130 passes for 1,765 yards and 27 scores.
For his career, Burse rushed 545 times for 4,003 yards and 61 touchdowns. He completed 363 of 637 passes for 6,890 yards and 87 touchdowns.
The Small Schools Coach of the Year is also from Modesto Christian, as Mike Parsons led the Crusaders to a 15-0 record and a state championship.
Consider what Parsons and the Crusaders (enrollment 313) had to do in order to win the title. First, they had to win the Trans Valley League, in which most of the schools are either double or triple the size of Modesto Christian. Then the Crusaders had to get past perennial playoff powerhouses like Colfax (enrollment 926), Escalon (997), Central Catholic (420) and Placer (1,379) just to reach the state championship.
In the state finals, the Crusaders held off a talented Parker team, a team that had defeated the 2008 small schools state champion St. Margaret's earlier in the season, 44-40.
Following is the rest of the Small Schools All-State first and second teams, chosen from the teams that played within the CIF Small Schools State Championship Game enrollment divisions.
MAXPREPS SMALL SCHOOLS ALL-STATE FOOTBALL TEAM
First Team Offense
Alex Lee, Brookside Christian (Stockton), 5-8, 169, WR, Sr.
One of the leading receivers in Northern California with 47 catches for 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns. Lee also ran 34 times for 481 yards and six scores and had six interceptions on defense. Named the MVP of the Harvest Christian League.
Paul Roberson, Capital Christian (Sacramento), 5-10, 150, WR, Sr.
The favorite target of quarterback James Lee, Roberson caught 55 passes for 879 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Jack Gilliland, Grace Brethren (Simi Valley), 5-9, 144, WR, So.
The sophomore received All-East Valley Division honors after catching 66 passes for 1,232 yards and 11 touchdowns for Grace Brethren.
Zach Scurich, St. Francis (Watsonville), 6-2, 230, TE, Sr.
The defensive player of the year in the county by the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Scurich was also an all-county tight end after catching 18 passes for 332 yards and five touchdowns. As a linebacker he had 132 tackles and finished his career with 396.
Evan Schwartz, Modesto Christian (Modesto), 5-11, 205, OL, Sr.
Named the Lineman of the Year in the Trans-Valley League.
Dustin Walters, Ferndale, 6-6, 280, OL, Sr.
Helped the Wildcats post a 10-0 regular season record and a league championship. Selected as the Offensive MVP of the Humboldt-Del Norte Little 5.
Wes Gavin, Parker (San Diego), 6-6, 285, OL, Sr.
Named to the All-Coastal League team and the lead blocker for the Lancers.
Kris Mora, Modesto Christian (Modesto), 5-11, 185, OL, Sr.
An All-Trans-Valley League Selection for the Crusaders.
Jeff Askin, St. Margaret's (San Juan Capistrano), 5-10, 210, OL, Sr.
Landed a spot on the All-East Valley Division Team after helping the Tartans to a Southern Section division championship.
Max Leffler, Grace Brethren (Simi Valley), 6-2, 195, QB, Jr.
Leffler was one of the state leaders in passing, completing 213 of 442 passes for 3,312 yards and 24 touchdowns while leading Grace Brethren to the third round of the playoffs. Made the All-East Valley Division Team.
James Lee, Capital Christian (Sacramento), 6-3, 175, QB, Sr.
The Most Valuable Player in the Golden Empire League, Lee completed 162 of 263 passes for 2,609 yards and 30 touchdowns while leading the Cougars to the Sac Joaquin Section Division 5 championship.
Austin Maranville, Linfield Christian (Temecula), 5-9, 172, RB, Sr.
The Northeast Division Offensive Player of the Year, Maranville helped lead Linfield Christian to a 14-0 record and a division championship. He rushed for 2,123 yards on 301 carries with 31 touchdowns.
John Muryama, St. Margaret's (San Juan Capistrano), 5-5, 145, RB, Sr.
Named the offensive MVP of the Eastern Division after rushing for 1,720 yards on 220 carries with 29 touchdowns.
Kris Farinha, St. Vincent's (Petaluma), 5-10, 195, RB, Sr.
A standout on both sides of the ball for the Mustangs, Farinha carried 212 times for 1,898 yards and 20 touchdowns and also led the team in tackles with 123. A three-time all-league choice, Farinha was the offensive co-MVP of the North Central I South League.
Isaiah Burse, Modesto Christian (Modesto), 6-0, 180, AP, Sr.
The Trans-Valley League offensive and defensive player of the year, Burse was also the Modesto Bee’s All-District Player of the Year.
Matt Wile, Parker (San Diego), 6-1, 200, K, Jr.
Wile was one of the best on kickoffs as he had 90 touchbacks on the season. He also booted eight field goals and had 77 extra points for 101 total kicking points.
First Team Defense
Kurt Luedtke, Santa Fe Christian (Solano Beach), 6-1, 180, DL, Sr.
The defensive MVP of the Coastal League, Luedtke made the All-San Diego Section second team and had 60 tackles and seven sacks for the Eagles.
Uche Amajoyi, Aquinas (San Bernardino), 6-2, 225, DL, Sr.
Made the All-East Valley Division Team after making 95 tackles for the Falcons.
Ray Nelson, Modesto Christian (Modesto), 6-5, 215, DL, Jr.
The Lineman of the Year in the Trans-Valley League and an all-district pick by the Modesto Bee, Nelson had 64 tackles and eight sacks for the Crusaders.
Silas Sarvinski, Ferndale, 6-0, 230, DL, Sr.
Led a defense that gave up less than 10 points a game during a 10-1 season. Named the Defensive MVP of the Humboldt-Del Norte Little 5 League.
Kenny Brookins, Parker (San Diego), 5-9, 170, LB, Jr.
Besides rushing for 1,108 yards and 18 touchdowns on 155 carries, Brookins was also a force on defense with 110 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Named to the All-Coastal League team.
Cody Cowell, Rio Hondo Prep (Arcadia), 6-1, 225, LB, Sr.
The Northeast Division Defensive Most Valuable Player led Rio Hondo Prep to a 13-1 record and a spot in the Northeast Division championship game. Cowell had 100 tackles and five interceptions on the season.
Steven Pitts, Christian (El Cajon), 6-1, 205, LB, Sr.
Pitts was an all-around standout for Christian, earning a spot on the All-East County Team. He had 75 tackles, three sacks and four interceptions on defense and also rushed for 806 yards on 115 carries with nine touchdowns on offense.
Michael Schmall, St. Margaret's (San Juan Capistrano), 6-0, 195, LB, Jr.
Selected as the All-East Valley Division Defensive Player of the Year after leading St. Margaret’s on defense. Paced a defense that posted six shutouts.
Jake Henderson, Aquinas (San Bernardino), 6-1, 200, LB, Sr.
Led the Falcons in tackles with 145 and was named to the All-East Valley Division honor squad.
Dalante Dunklin, Parker (San Diego), 5-10, 180, DB, So.
Dunklin came up big in the state finals against Modesto Christian with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. For the season, Dunklin had 104 tackles and four interceptions. He also recovered nine fumbles and forced seven others.
Aaron Brown, Modesto Christian (Modesto), 5-10, 165, DB, Sr.
The Defensive Back of the Year in the Trans-Valley League, Brown had six interceptions and 140 tackles on the season.
Alberto Pena, Portola, 5-7, 155, DB, Sr.
Named the MVP of the Mid-Valley League and made the All-Northern Section Team. Rushed 141 times for 1,302 yards and 13 touchdowns and also had 60 tackles and three interceptions on defense. Also kicked four field goals and 60 extra points for the undefeated Tigers (12-0).
Deon Randall, Parker (San Diego), 5-9, 180, DB, Sr.
A strong candidate for small schools state player of the year honors, Randall completed 100 of 159 passes for 1,481 yards and 16 touchdowns and also ran 193 times for 1,983 yards and 26 scores. He also had 130 tackles and five interceptions on defense. Selected as the Coastal League MVP.
Brandon Greenly, Capital Christian (Sacramento), 6-3, 175, P, Sr.
Greely made the All-Metro Team by the Sacramento Bee after averaging 43.2 yards per kick and landing six punts inside the 20-yard line.
Second Team Offense
Steven Perry, Maxwell, 6-0, 165, WR, Jr.
An All-Northern Section player in baseball, Perry earned similar honors in football this year after catching 50 passes for 851 yards and eight touchdowns for the 8-4 Panthers.
Tim Miller, Fresno Christian (Fresno), 6-3, 180, WR, Sr.
Miller helped the Eagles reach the playoffs by catching 51 passes for 798 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Micah Shirley, Bellarmine-Jefferson (Burbank), 6-0, 185, WR, Jr.
Named to the All-Northeast Division Team, Shirley rushed for 1,000 yards on 87 carries with 14 touchdowns and also caught 46 passes for 676 yards and eight scores. Also a defensive standout with 58 tackles and six interceptions.
Mical Bailey, La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla), 6-2, 205, TE, Jr.
The all-league junior had 34 catches for 657 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Torreys and also had a big year on defense with 100 tackles and 8.5 sacks.
Connor McClure, St. Margaret's (San Juan Capistrano), 6-0, 220, OL, Sr.
McClure helped the St. Margaret’s Tartans compile a 13-1 record and score 611 points while winning the East Valley Division champions. McClure found a spot on the All-East Valley Division Team.
Shawn Fanney, St. Elizabeth (Oakland), 6-2, 285, OL, Sr.
Fanney was a captain for St. Elizabeth’s and an all-league lineman for the North Coast Section Division V champions.
Miles Chorley, Central Valley Christian (Visalia), 6-0, 270, OL, Sr.
Chorley was an all-league pick on both sides of the line for Central Valley Christian and was named to the all-county team by the Visalia Times Delta.
Duncan Laliberte, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth), 6-4, 250, OL, Sr.
Helped Sierra Canyon post an 8-3 record and was named to the All-East Valley Division Team.
Tyler Wood, Modoc (Alturas), 5-11, 195, OL, Sr.
The Lineman of the Year in the Shasta Cascade League, Wood made the All-Northern Section Team and helped the Braves post a 10-1 record.
Taylor Sloat, Fall River (McArthur), 6-3, 185, QB, Sr.
Led Fall River to three straight Northern Section Division III championships and was named to the All-Northern Section Second Team. Completed 108 of 185 passes for 1,751 yards and 19 touchdowns while rushing 81 times for 459 yards and seven scores. Also a standout on defense where he had 43 tackles and five sacks at defensive end.
Mike Morgan, Frazier Mountain (Lebec), 6-3, 200, QB, Sr.
Earned a spot on the All-East Valley Division Team after completing 129 of 293 passes for 2,121 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Omar Diaz, Hamilton (Hamilton City), 5-9, 160, RB, Sr.
Diaz led the Northern Section in rushing with 1,925 yards on 200 carries with 24 touchdowns. He scored a total of 26 TDs and was named to the All-Northern Section Second Team.
Tyler Takahashi, Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento), 5-7, 180, RB, Sr.
The Pride won the Sac Joaquin Section Division VI championship for the second year in a row with Takahashi leading the team with 1,814 yards rushing on 161 attempts with 21 touchdowns. He also had 97 tackles on defense.
Sam Hoekstra, Santa Fe Christian (Solano Beach), 5-10, 170, RB, Sr.
Hoekstra was an All-Coastal League first team pick after rushing for 1,611 yards on just 117 carries with 16 touchdowns. He also scored six touchdowns receiving on only 11 receptions with 301 yards. On defense, he had four interceptions. He scored 24 touchdowns total on the season.
Kevin Laird, Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo), 6-2, 185, AP, Sr.
The MVP of the East Sierra League, Laird led the Royals to an 8-4 record by completing 58 of 122 passes for 827 yards and rushing 163 times for 1,171 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had 49 tackles and 10 interceptions on defense and made the all-county team of the San Luis Obispo County Tribune.
Jordan Brown, Linfield Christian (Temecula), 6-0, 170, K, Sr.
Brown earned All-Northeast Division honors after booting eight field goals and 56 extra points on the season.
Second Team Defense
Eric Davis, Brookside Christian (Stockton), 5-11, 170, DL, Sr.
Davis was the defensive leader for Brookside Christian as he had 10 sacks and 50 tackles at his spot on the defensive line.
Vincent Sharp, Trinity (Weaverville), 6-3, 205, DL, Sr.
Sharp made the All-Northern Section Team after helping lead the Wolves to a Northern Section Division III championship. He had 99 tackles on the season with nine sacks.
Nick Preciado, Rio Hondo Prep (Arcadia), 5-9, 196, DL, Jr.
Named to the All-Northeast Division Team and the All-San Gabriel Valley Tribune second team, Preciado had 88 tackles and three sacks for the Prep League champs.
Carlos Soto, Boron, 6-1, 190, DL, Jr.
Soto had 87 tackles and six sacks for the Bobcats while earning All-Northeast Division honors.
Tyrone Sauls, Christian (El Cajon), 6-2, 225, LB, Jr.
Led the Patriots with 144 tackles on the season and was named to the All-East County second team on defense.
Zac Starrett, Linfield Christian (Temecula), 6-0, 205, LB, Sr.
Starrett was the leading tackler for the Lions, accumulating 149 to go along with 4.5 sacks. Named to the All-Northeast Division Team.
Matt Mayes, Modoc (Alturas), 6-0, 195, LB, Sr.
Besides rushing for 1,498 yards and 22 touchdowns on 163 carries, Mayes also had 139 tackles and three interceptions on defense while earning MVP honors in the Shasta Cascade League.
Sam Schwab, Calvary Murrieta (Murrieta), 6-1, 235, LB, Jr.
One of the state leaders with 172 tackles on the season, Schwab averaged 15.6 tackles per game. He also had 3.5 sacks and was named to the All-Northeast Division Team.
Montel Allen, La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla), 6-1, 210, LB, Sr.
The Torreys finished 10-2 thanks to the play of Allen, who rushed for 1,166 yards on 146 carries with 14 touchdowns and had 124 tackles on defense. Named the Pacific League Defensive Player of the Year.
Kevin Roya, Modesto Christian (Modesto), 5-9, 194, DB, Sr.
Roya was an all-district selection by the Modesto Bee and excelled on both sides of the line for the Crusaders as a defensive back and a receiver. He had 46 tackles on defense and 21 catches for 581 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Brandon Blake, Linfield Christian (Temecula), 5-8, 160, DB, Sr.
Blake was an All-Northeast Division Team pick after leading the Lions in interceptions with seven. He also had 29 tackles and caught 29 passes for 614 yards and seven scores.
Fernando Almejo, St. Margaret's (San Juan Capistrano), 5-11, 170, DB, Sr.
Almejo landed on the All-East Valley Division Team after leading the Tartans with 10 interceptions.
Scott Goodrich, Vacaville Christian (Vacaville), DB, Sr.
Picked off 13 passes on the season including four in one game against Woodland Christian. He added 67 tackles and rushed for 970 yards on 88 carries with 10 touchdowns.
Joel Alesi, Christian (El Cajon), 6-1, 260, P, Sr.
The All-Coastal League punter averaged 44.05 yards per kick with a long of 70 yards.