SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of those who rose above the competition last week as SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week were Miguel Padilla of Hilmar (left) and Akili Arnold of Mission Viejo. Those are our two honorees for special teams. Photos: James Burns / &

For all he’s done this season at Mission Viejo in all three phases of the game, we knew we’d probably be featuring Akili Arnold as a player of the week at some point and that just had to be for special teams after what he did in last week’s come-from-behind win against Orange Lutheran. Two of our honorees also have played in CIF state finals in vastly different situations — one for the Open Division and the other for the smallest division (D-6A). The complete lineup represents Spring Valley, Santa Ana, Mission Viejo, Rio Linda, San Francisco and Hilmar.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate someone by 12 noon on most Mondays, email

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Jahmon McClendon
(Monte Vista, Spring Valley) Sr.

The local folks in San Diego County were disappointed when McClendon flipped his commitment recently from San Diego State to UCLA but they were pretty happy out in the East County last week with the performance of the big, strong and quick 6-foot-2, 210-pound running back.

Jahmon was certainly on as McClendon rambled for 365 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-26 victory over Bishop’s of La Jolla. This was not his only big game this season. In week two in a win over San Diego University City, he rushed for six TDs and 273 yards.

Last season, McClendon helped lead the Monarchs to the CIF San Diego Section Division IV title in a 71-48 upset of San Diego High in which he tied the section record with eight touchdown runs.

On a side note, the win was No. 221 in the career of veteran San Diego Section head coach Ron Hamamoto. That gets him closer to Troy Starr who retired in 2015 from nearby Helix of La Mesa but is now coaching again at Mt. Miguel.

Steele Dubar didn’t steal the ball during Mater Dei’s big national matchup with IMG Academy but he was a rock solid tackler. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Steele Dubar
(Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Sr.

Yes, we know the Monarchs are loaded with big-time college prospects who get a ton of attention. But one of their keys to success also has been a few unsung hero types, guys who’ve been in the program all four years, get bigger, stronger and better each year and shine as seniors. Like graduated standouts Jack Genova and Nathan Logoleo from last year, Dubar is that type of player for this season.

In a game between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation it was Dubar who was one of the best players on defense, and he had to be against a Florida IMG Academy team that ran the ball 49 times against the Monarchs.

Not too many running backs got away from the 6-foot, 205-pound linebacker since they only scored two TDs rushing and Steele was the real deal with game-high 15 tackles with 10 solo and one for loss.

His previous best game this season wasn’t too shabby with six tackles against Nevada Bishop Gorman and with 27 tackles this season he’s tied for the team lead and is second on the team with seven for loss.

Last season, Dubar was a solid contributor as well after finishing with 45 tackles with 11.5 for loss, four sacks and three forced fumbles.

Logoleo, the Orange County Register Defensive Player of the Year, eventually signed with UTEP. Dubar has an offer from Nevada, but more may be on the way.

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

Akili Arnold
(Mission Viejo) Jr.

There’s a new Johnson at the helm of the Diablos after former head coach Bob Johnson retired last year as the No. 3 all-time winningest coach with 342 career victories, and while his replacement Chad Johnson is no relation, the winning ways continue and Arnold has been a big part of getting Mission Viejo to 6-0 this season.

Last week, in a game at Orange Coast College, and with the Diablos sitting at No. 8 in the state rankings and Orange Lutheran No. 7, Arnold was key not only on special teams, but on offense and defense in helping Mission Viejo erase a 14-0 first quarter deficit en route to a thrilling 37-35 victory.

On special teams Arnold had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 72-yard punt return that set up a TD that gave the Diablos their first lead.

On offense, the 6-foot, 175-pound wide receiver had five catches for 103 yards including a 53-yard TD reception. On defense, where he has offers from Boston College, Colorado State and Wyoming, Arnold had four tackles and a pass deflection.

On the season, Akili leads the team with 30 receptions for 502 yards and six touchdowns and on defense he leads the team with five interceptions.

A twist to this game is had not Orange Lutheran missed a 30-yard field goal with two seconds left, Orange Lutheran linebacker Jackson Cloyd would have had a shot at being the SoCal defensive winner after his 100-yard interception return gave the Lancers a 28-17 lead midway through the third quarter.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Jimmie Edwards
(Galileo, San Francisco) Sr.

After going to the public schools of San Jose last week for our NorCal Defensive Player of the Week we come to the City by the Bay and a school that launched the famous football career of O.J. Simpson before he became a bit infamous.

Last week, in a 54-0 romp on the road in San Lorenzo, the Lions’ 5-foot-8, 165-pound senior linebacker, running back and kick returner did it all in more than one area but it’s his 10 tackles, three sacks and an interception he returned 44 yards for a touchdown that gets Edwards the NorCal defensive award.

On offense, Edwards rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns and he had a 31-yard pass reception.

So far this season, Edwards has 48 tackles with 16 for loss for the 3-1 Lions, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles, an interception, and a fumble recovery he returned 62 yards for a touchdown. He also has 384 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.

Last season, on a Galileo team that went 11-2 and went to Calexico and came home with a CIF Division 6-A state bowl game 38-20 victory over Vincent Memorial, Edwards led the team with 139 tackles with 19.5 for loss, 14 sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles. He had 12 tackles, six sacks, a forced fumble, and ran for a TD in the Vincent Memorial win.

Rio Linda’s Cameron Skattebo was a second team All-Metro RB by the Sacramento Bee as a sophomore. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Cameron Skattebo
(Rio Linda) Jr.

We go to the northern Sacramento suburbs not far from the airport to honor a young man some consider one of the top juniors in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.

Last week, in a wild 70-50 victory over Foothill of Sacramento, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound running back ran over tacklers to go for 276 yards in only 15 carries with three touchdowns. He also returned a kickoff 95 yards for a fourth score. He also plays linebacker and had five tackles against Foothill.

With the rushing performance, Skattebo has already gone over 1,000 yards in five games for the 4-1 Knights. He now has 1,020 yards and 13 touchdowns in only 76 carries. That’s a whopping 13.4 yards per carry and a TD in less than every six times he rushes the football.

Last season, Skattebo skated his way to 992 yards rushing with nine touchdowns and was second team on the Sacramento Bee’s All-Metro selections.

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

Miguel Padilla
(Hilmar) Jr.

Talk about coming through under pressure.

Padilla had seen a small amount of time doing some kicking in blowouts earlier this season, but the 5-foot-7, 160-pound undersized backup kicker and lineman was never in a situation like he was last Friday against Trans Valley League arch rival Escalon.

With Hilmar starting kicker Bryan Millan on the sidelines injured after already making a 22-yard field goal and two point after touchdowns, head coach Frank Marques had no choice but to ask Miguel to try and drill the game winner in overtime.

Padilla wouldn’t be the special teams honoree if the boot went awry, and it didn’t, as Miguel split the uprights from 33 yards out for the game winner in a 20-17 victory. called it “one of the biggest kicks in the rivalry’s rich history.”

Harold Abend is the associate editor of and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend

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