The 49ers High School Player of the Week Award for week nine goes to Chris Denning of Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville, CA.
The Monte Vista Christian Mustangs are officially playoff bound after a strong 30-20 week nine win over the Salinas Cowboys. The run game of MVC was a large contributor in the Mustangs home conference win, and has continued to be throughout the season. Behind, or rather, in front of, any successful running game is a strong, dominant offensive line, and the players and coaches of MVC will be the first to tell you that.
Senior lineman, Chris Denning, is the commander of this dominant line and spearheads this group each week on both the offensive side of the ball, and defensive side as well. At offensive tackle and defensive tackle, he is paramount on both lines.
The Mustangs had their highest rushing total on the year in Friday night's outing against Salinas. Their freshman running back also recorded his personal career-high rushing total, running for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Both his teammates and his coaches credit Denning for a large majority of this success.
"I mean it was the highest rushing total for us this year, and it obviously helps to have good blocking to allow that to happen and Chris is a large part of that. We played a really good team, and the blocking was big for us," said MVC Head Coach David Reese.
"He is our best lineman by far. Chris is our only returner this year, and returning as our all-league lineman last year. He is lead on both lines. He's the catalyst on both sides of the ball for us and he does a great job of doing that," insisted Coach Reese.
Denning's leadership and what he means to this team is undeniable. He does a great job of simply doing things the right way and embodying the quiet, modest characteristics of a successful leader.
"Chris is one of our captains and that is something the players pick, which tells you how his teammates feel about him. He's not real vocal, but more of a combination of when it needs to be said, he will; but otherwise he's more of your lead by example type of player," explained Coach.
He is believed to have such an honest pulse of the team and his thoughts and opinions are so highly regarded, that he is an integral part of the MVC Football Leadership Council. Coach Reese personally assembles this group composed of select players from each grade. This council will meet with Coach regularly to discuss any pertinent topics and check-in on all aspects of the team. Whether it be to discuss how things go at practice, necessary adjustments to team rules, or simply to check-in on the pulse of the team, Coach relies on the players that comprise the Football Leadership Council to be leaders both on and off the field for the rest of the team.
Denning's leadership transfers naturally from the football field to the classroom. In addition to being on the Football Leadership Council, he is also part of the Mustang Leadership Team. He has been part of this academic leadership team all four years.
"Chris has worked really hard this year both in the classroom and on the field. He is well-liked by his teammates, coaches, peers and all the staff of the school. He really just does a good job of leading by example," said Coach Reese.
As the home school of the 49ers High School Player of the Week, Monte Vista Christian School will receive a $500 grant for their football program from the 49ers Foundation. As part of this award, Chris will receive two tickets to a 49ers home game where he will be recognized on the field. At the end of the season, Chris will be invited to the SAP Performance Facility to watch a closed practice where 49ers head coach, Chip Kelly, will officially present him with his award.
Congratulations, Chris, and keep up the great work both on and off the football field!