Dyer closer to Rudy Award

PLACER HIGH FOOTBALL WRAP-UP: Running back is among 30 semifinalists for honor
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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Dalton Dyer was overshadowed by fellow Placer High senior Asher Gotzmer for much of the recently concluded football season.
But the running back’s dynamic play and constant displays of sportsmanship only bolstered his resume for the Rudy Award. He was one of 396 high school athletes nominated for the award earlier this year.
On Thursday, Dyer was named one of 30 semifinalists.
The Rudy Award, named after famous Notre Dame walk-on Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, is given annually to a high school football player who, “demonstrates the exemplary values of (Ruettiger).”
Dyer’s inspirational story is well-documented. He won a landmark case in court last year that eventually altered the California Interscholastic Federation’s bylaws regarding the transfers of foster students who participate in athletics. The court case also led to state legislation further protecting the rights of foster children.
The court case also overturned three Placer forfeits and set the stage for the Hillmen’s run to the 2008 section title game.
Dyer became a hero again this year, this time on the football field rather than off of it. His halfback pass to Cameron Southward in Placer’s semifinal victory over Sonora will go down as the season’s signature moment.
Dyer was one of three players in California named a semifinalist for the Rudy Award. Three finalists will be announced in February and the winner will be honored later next spring. The winner will receive a $10,000 college scholarship while the two other finalists will receive $5,000 scholarships.
To learn more about the Rudy Awards and cast your vote for Placer’s candidate, visit
After a stellar 2009 season, the Placer High defense was crushed after giving up 61 points to Modesto Christian Friday night. The Hillmen were put in tough situations several times following turnovers by the offense.
One bright spot for Placer was the play of Caleb Mitchell, who emerged as perhaps the most vicious tackler on the 2009 squad. The good news for Hillmen fans is Mitchell will be back next season.
“I learned a lot from Josh Klem,” Mitchell said, referring to Placer’s defensive captain. “Coach (Rick) Lopez and coach (Bob) Wallace really helped me out and I had a lot of fun this season.”
The senior-laden Placer squad will be decimated by graduation next spring. But the Hillmen return a trio of cornerstones with Mitchell, all-Pioneer Valley League quarterback Collin Burnett and fullback Josh Turney — and they’re hungry.
“We came up last year as sophomores for the playoffs, so we’ve lost in the championship twice now,” Mitchell said. “It just makes us want to get back here and win it next year.”
Isaiah Burse wasn’t the only Modesto Christian player with a future in NCAA Division I football on the field Friday night in Stockton. Raymond Nelson, who came up with three big catches and a pair of fumble recoveries, will also get plenty of offers.
Nelson, whose brother Reeves is a freshman on the UCLA basketball team, recently visited his brother’s school and the Bruins are reportedly very interested in the 6-foot-6, 240-pound junior.
As for his position in college?
“Tight end, definitely,” Nelson said.
Burse’s position at the college level is also an interesting query. Coach Mike Parson said Arizona offered him a scholarship as a defensive back. But Burse would like to play offense and he’s got several schools pursuing him either as a quarterback or a receiver.