OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER: DYLAN RUSCONI
** School: Central
** Grade/position: Senior/forward
** He's qualified because: With explosive speed, solid size and powerful legs, Rusconi helped power Grizzlies to a share of their third straight Tri-River Athletic Conference title and third consecutive No. 1 seed in the Central Section Division I playoffs. The TRAC's Most Valuable Player finished with 28 goals and 10 assists as the team reached the semifinals. "Coaches had to try and find a way to stop Dylan," coach Raul Martin said. "But he still came through in big games when we needed him. He's a great finisher." Rusconi's biggest goal came with 2 minutes left in a late-season showdown against Clovis North that lifted the Grizzlies to a 2-1 victory and allowed them to gain a share of the TRAC title.
** Delayed start: Broken collarbone that required preseason surgery caused Rusconi to miss Central's first five games. But he scored a hat trick in a 6-1 rout of McLane in his first game back Dec. 17. "That was a relief for the team," Martin said. "We knew that without Dylan, we wouldn't have the same type of goal scorer. As soon as he came back, we felt his impact and that changed things for us." The Grizzlies were 2-1-2 in Rusconi's absence, 14-4-1 after his return.
** What a career: Rusconi joined the varsity as a sophomore and started for a team that went 25-4 and reached D-I semis. He blossomed into the TRAC's Offensive Player of the Year as a junior while scoring 21 goals and making 10 assists for a 15-7-3 team that made it to the D-I final, losing in a penalty kicks against Clovis West. Two-time team captain will play at Fresno Pacific next season, leaving Central as the school's career-leading goal scorer with 58.
** He said it: "He has a different gear. Some people don't recognize that. For teams we don't face that often, excluding those in the TRAC, he surprises a lot of people because of that extra gear. He's always in the right place at the right time, and when he's not able to score, he helps the others around him. Dylan just has that knack for the goal, that's what separates him from others." -- Martin.
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