NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week's honorees are Kuron Nelson of Long Beach Wilson and Ryan Robards of Elk Grove. Nelson has had five interceptions in two weeks. Robards could have been chosen for offense, defense or special teams. Photos: &

Two of this week’s honorees are Kuron Nelson of Long Beach Wilson and Ryan Robards of Elk Grove. Nelson has had five interceptions in two weeks. Robards could have been chosen for offense, defense or special teams. Photos: &

Once again for this season, only one is named from each region for offense, defense and special teams and we’re going to do our best to spread it around as much as possible. This week’s honors go to players from Anderson, Hanford, Elk Grove, Simi Valley, Long Beach and Brawley.

Note: For purposes of this feature, we are considering the CIF Central Section to be in the north.

To nominate a player for next week, email by Monday at 12 noon and be sure to include a photo that we can use (which means it’s not from the local newspaper or from another web site).

It’s also a great time to sign up for our Gold Club to see all of our great content. The yearly rate is going up possibly as early as next week. For details, CLICK HERE.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Grant Kingston (Anderson) Sr.

Nearly becoming the new king of the CIF Northern Section record book, Kingston tied a single-game section record with seven rushing touchdowns while gaining 302 yards on 17 carries during a 57-29 win over Red Bluff. Kingston’s touchdown runs came on carries of 3, 88, 11, 26, 50, 1 and 44 yards.

Named as a preseason player of the year candidate (he also plays DB) by the Redding Record-Searchlight, Kingston also has been been chosen to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl on Jan. 9 in Tampa, Fla.

For video highlights of the performance by the Record-Searchlight, CLICK HERE
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Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Hunter Cabral (Sierra Pacific, Hanford) Sr.

They’re calling Sierra Pacific’s game vs. nearby Riverdale the Neighbor Bowl, but Cabral wasn’t very neighborly to the opposing quarterbacks during the Bears’ 41-14 triumph last Thursday.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior linebacker did get to know the Riverdale quarterbacks very well, however, as he charged up through the gaps in the Cowboys’ spread offense and posted a single-game state record 10 sacks.

Cabral’s total was witnessed by Hanford Sentinal reporter Josh Butters, who e-mailed us early Friday morning wondering about the state record. It did indeed break the previous record of 8.5 set two years ago by Clayton Hanly of Santa Ynez. We haven’t had a total above that from either last year or so far this season.

There was a hint that Cabral might be able to have a game like this last year since he had 22.5 sacks for the season. He’s also one of Sierra Pacific’s leading tacklers and top offensive linemen.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Special Teams Player of the Week

Ryan Robards (Elk Grove) Sr.

In the Thundering Herd’s convincing 41-14 win over Lincoln of Stockton that helped them become the No. 25 team in our new State Top 25 rankings, Robards pretty much starred in every way possible.

To get this honor, he nailed a pair of field goals, including one from 51 yards out. In the same game, though, Robards also rushed for 278 yards and four touchdowns and intercepted a pass on defense.

Most of Robards’ athletic honors so far have come in baseball. In helping Elk Grove win the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title, he batted .337 and was an outstanding defensive outfielder.
Players to Watch 120
Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Tanner Darling (Simi Valley) Sr.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior had to play in a back-up role last year to graduated standout Davis Pinkston, but is quickly making a name for himself this season.

In a 42-27 victory last week against Righetti of Santa Maria, Darling tied a reported Ventura County record with 41 completions in 49 attempts and had 459 yards and three TDs. He also had zero interceptions and one rushing touchdown after throwing two interceptions in season-opening losses to Saugus and Buena of Ventura.

For the season, Darling also has already surpassed 1,000 yards passing and has nine TD passes. According to his Twitter page, he recently received his first offer from Western New Mexico University. Perhaps some others may be coming if he keeps having games like the one against Righetti.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Kuron Nelson (Wilson, Long Beach) Sr.

With the Bruins’ lead cut down to just two points entering the fourth quarter of a shootout game last week against St. Anthony of Long Beach, Nelson shut down the momentum by coming up with his third interception of the night. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior also had four tackles as Wilson prevailed 54-39.

It was the second straight week in which Nelson had an eye-opening defensive outing. The first one came during a 26-11 triumph vs. Fountain Valley when he came up with two interceptions and ran one of them back for a touchdown.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Special Teams Player of the Week

David Quintero (Brawley) Sr.

A senior playing in his first year of football, Quintero lined up on the final play of a game last week against Shadow Hills of Indio and boomed a 59-yard field goal to give Brawley a 24-21 victory.

“As soon as I kicked it I knew it was going to be good,” he told the Imperial Valley Desert Review. “Even before, I had it in my mind, I’m gonna make it, and I did.”

Quintero’s distance is of course good enough for inclusion into the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book. It is the longest in the state since Garrett Swanson of Riverside M.L. King made a 60-yarder in 2011. It also broke the previous CIF San Diego Section record of 58 first set in 1995 by Nate Tandberg of Rancho Bernardo and tied in 1997 by Hayden Epstein of Torrey Pines.

For video of the historic field goal, CLICK HERE.

Thanks to Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens for contributions to this post. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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One Trackback

  1. By Helmet Stickers: Week 2 | TJ Holmes on September 16, 2015 at 10:32 am

    […] Kingston, Anderson The Cubs’ senior running back was named the Cal-Hi Sports NorCal offensive player of the week for tying the Northern Section single game record of seven touchdowns in a 57-29 win over Red […]

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