Steve Hendrickson, a 1985 Napa High graduate who is in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, was recognized by CalHiSports.com as one of the top players in California over the last 40 years.
The running back-linebacker is not on the website’s list of the “Top 50 Football Players We’ve Seen” but is among “50 More Top Players We Saw in Person.”
“With Cal-Hi Sports having a history of more than 40 years and with these types of lists gaining in popularity during the current COVID-19 sports shutdown, we thought it would be fun to do it for our own years of covering California high school football,” Mark Tennis, the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com, wrote on Aug. 18. “Before that, we also went to games in the Sacramento area with family and friends that included the great 1975 Cordova of Rancho Cordova squad.
“Obviously, this is a ranking list of the best players we’ve seen in person during a game or an all-star game. If a player isn’t listed, it’s likely just because we didn’t get to see that player in a game.”
Hendrickson, one of the top players in NHS history, started as a freshman in the 1981 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section championship game. He went on to have an illustrious career for Napa.
As a junior in 1983, he was a team captain and was named Monticello Empire League Player of the Year, All-MEL on both offense and defense, All-Region and All-Northern California.
As a senior in 1984, he was again a team captain and was selected All-NorCal and All-State linebacker, MEL Player of the Year, All-MEL both on offense and defense, and All-Region.
He was the first football player in NHS history to have his jersey number retired. He wore No. 30 and played for head coach Les Franco.
Hendrickson was inducted into the NHS Hall of Fame in 2000.
His bio on the NHS Hall of Fame website, napahighhof.org, reads:
“While Hendrickson received many accolades for his wrestling abilities, which included being ranked by The Sacramento Bee as a junior, being named captain of the Napa team and earning MEL heavyweight champ as a senior, it is the tremendous impact Hendrickson’s football ability made on the Napa High athletic program that earned him Hall of Fame honors.”
Hendrickson went on to play for UC Berkeley as a linebacker and on special teams. He earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors in 1988. He was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the Blue-Gray Football Classic, an all-star game, in Montgomery, Alabama in 1988. He graduated from Cal with a degree in history.
He was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the sixth round of the 1989 NFL Draft and played in the NFL for seven years. He played on the 49ers’ Super Bowl-winning team in 1990.
Hendrickson also played for Dallas, San Diego, Houston and Philadelphia. He played H-Back, running back, tight end and linebacker and on special teams. He played in the 1994 Super Bowl with the Chargers.
John Boyett (No. 12) and Jake Croxdale (No. 11) are the only other players to have their jersey numbers retired by Napa High. Boyett and Croxdale are 2008 graduates who led Napa High to its only section football title in 2007.
Bowers headed to Georgia
Napa High tight end Brock Bowers, who announced his commitment to the University of Georgia via Twitter on Aug. 10, was mentioned by the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald at onlineathens.com and DawgPost.com.
“Bowers checks all the boxes at tight end,” the newspaper said of the senior, who was named to the 2020 Preseason High School All-American Football Team by MaxPreps.com and as a 4-star tight end by 247sports.com. “He is excellent in the passing game moving and running routes like a receiver. He has big, strong, reliable hands, and he’s tough to bring down once he’s got the ball downfield. He runs well for his size and has the ability to split out and play on the outside in certain situations.
“As a blocker, Bowers shows he can be nasty and physical with opposing defensive lineman. He plays with great hand placement and drives his opponent backwards. He’s a tough, physical kid who plays until the whistle.
“He doesn’t regularly play against great competition, and he still needs to add more mass. But the athleticism is easy to see as he catches the ball well on the run, he breaks tackles and can be used in multiple ways on offense. He can line up as a traditional tight end, play some H-back, fullback, or even flex out wide and play receiver. He’s a true offensive weapon with his versatility and athleticism to make a real impact in UGA offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s offense.
“Overall, there’s a lot to like about Bowers’ game. He can help both in the passing and running game, and he’s only going to get better once he gets to Athens.”
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Bowers was the Player of the Year on the Napa Valley Register’s All-Napa County team and the Vine Valley Athletic League’s Most Valuable Player during the 2019 season.
He caught 39 passes for 1,098 yards with 14 touchdowns last year for Napa.
He was named to the MaxPreps.com Preseason California All-State high school football team and the 2020 Cal-Hi Sports Preseason All-State Team.
The Cal-Hi Sports Hot 100 state player rankings has Bowers at No. 12 in the Class of 2021.
He is No. 1 in the country for Top 10 H-Tight Ends in the Class of 2021, SI All-American reported at si.com.
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