Outstanding Defensive Player: Kody Beckering
Qualifications: Two-time North Yosemite League Player of the Year and repeat Bee All-Star closed one of the most dominant careers for a linebacker in Central Section history with 168 tackles, including 38 for a loss, 14 sacks, seven fumble recoveries and seven forced fumbles. Headed to Eastern Washington, he played four years with the Wildcats, who went 29-17, including a 17-3 NYL mark with three titles. "He's leaving with over 500 career tackles," says Sunnyside coach Jason Murray, "and that's a disgusting amount of putting guys on the ground."
All that matters: Tucked away in the North Yosemite League, Beckering was hardly on the public radar. But he was highly regarded by those who matter — opposing coaches and his own. Says Sanger's Chuck Shidan: "He's one of the best linebackers I've seen; just a phenomenal player with a natural read and an amazing way to get to the ball." From El Diamante's Mark Rogers: "What a stud, unbelievable. He's one of the best linebackers I've ever seen, a rocket." And Murray, who's coached in the area for 17 years: "Kody's the best linebacker I've seen in the section."
Breaking down his game: Murray likens Beckering to a combination of former area star linebackers Marquise Cooper of Edison and Travis Brown of Clovis West — speed and strength. "Kody had the speed, would react and go; he sees things happen faster than the rest. And, like Travis, he'd get there with bad intentions, you are tackled and the play is over. And there's more, says Murray: "He's a zealot in the weight room, homecoming king, a popular jock — the whole nine yards. He was unbelievable."