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It might as well be unanimous. Apple Valley’s Dustin Reynolds is the Daily Press’ 2021 Football Player of the Year.
It was clear as day watching Reynolds wreak havoc while on the gridiron that many were a fan of his style of play. Just not playing against him.
One local head coach described Reynolds as “one of the most gifted linebackers I ever coached against.”
Another said Reynolds was “one of best defensive players I have ever seen around here.”
Prior to the start of the season, the star linebacker was passionate in describing his tenacity of play.
“I’m not one of those players that doesn’t care about getting reps and starting on defense. I am 110% ready for this season ahead and I’m coming back for that all-state and defense player of the year award,” Reynolds said after a summer practice. “When you watch me, remember that I am gonna put everything on the line because that is how I was taught as a kid.”
He literally left everything on the field after the final whistle signaled the end of Apple Valley’s season with a 31-3 loss in the title game of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.
His number was called after injuries forced running back Kaleb Most to miss much of the Sun Devils’ postseason run.
Sticking true to his self-description over the summer, Reynolds stepped up and played running back, which he hadn’t done much of since his freshman season.
Reynolds wound up taking 77 carries for 498 yards and five touchdowns over five games at running back.
He finished with 137 yards on 17 carries in the second round against Glendora, and again led the ground game in the semifinals with 17 carries for 135 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown where he broke multiple tackles to tie the game 28-28.
Defensively, he just missed out on claiming the Mojave River League’s Defensive Player of the Year after racking up 133 total tackles, including 28 solo and 19 for a loss. He also logged 10 sacks on the season and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
“He is an old-school linebacker…