NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

After two running backs last week, both of this week’s offensive honorees are quarterbacks — Matt MacLeod (left) of Menlo-Atherton and Shea Kuykendall of Long Beach Poly. Photos: & @LBPoly_Football /

For this week honors, we visit Atherton, Folsom and Redding for our Northern California award winners. Our Southern California stops are in Long Beach, Temecula and finally we end up in Camarillo. One thing a bit out of the ordinary is we have weekly winners from two consecutive weeks that faced off against each other, and next week in a real bit of a twist, two of this week’s winners will play each other.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate anyone, email We are picking the winners on Monday nights for the rest of the spring season.


Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Matt MacLeod (Menlo-Atherton, Atherton) Sr.

Down on the Peninsula around 35 miles south of downtown San Francisco and just north of Stanford University is our destination and in Atherton is where we find our Northern California Offensive Player of the Week and a quarterback who has had an outstanding career at Menlo-Atherton.

Last week, in a 35-31 CIF Central Coast Section Division I victory on the road at No. 4 seed Salinas in what locals call The Pit, MacLeod did some pitching with the pigskin in leading the fifth-seeded Bears to victory in a game they trailed 14-0 early. The 6-foot, 184-pound MacLeod finished with 390 yards passing with four TDs on 24 completions in 32 attempts. He also rushed for 32 yards. Salinas dearly wanted to win not just for being at home but also since the Cowboys were 8-0.

MacLeod now has 3,019 yards passing with 34 TDs and only three interceptions this season, one of which he had last week. It still translates into an outstanding 146.0 quarterback rating.

For his career, and heading into a showdown for the new state No. 38 and 9-2 Bears with top-seed and state No. 6 St. Francis, MacLeod has passed for 5,743 yards and 61 TDs with only five interceptions, and that translates into a pretty solid 141.7 quarterback rating.

On a final note, we’re sure Matt would want to give a shout out to one of his favorite targets, Cal-bound senior wide receiver Jeremiah Earby. He had seven receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Jahari Johnson returns kicks, catches passes and does so much more for Enterprise of Redding. Photo:

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

Jahari Johnson (Enterprise, Redding) Sr.

For our Northern California Special Teams Player of the Week choice, we head to the far north to the CIF Northern Section and a city of just under 100,000 in the shadows of majestic Mt. Shasta around 60 miles to the north.

In Redding at Enterprise we find one of the top all-around players in the Northern Section who is mostly known for his offense as a wide receiver, but as the funnel narrows in the playoffs making it a little harder to uncover our honorees, it was the special teams prowess of Johnson that caught our eye.

Last week, in a Northern Section Division 2 rout by third-seeded Enterprise over Oroville Las Plumas, Johnson returned a punt 62 yards to the house for a score.

Jahari also had an interception and a batted pass on defense, and on offense he had one reception but it went for a touchdown, plus a 2-point conversion.

Earlier this season, Johnson returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown. Going into a semifinal matchup with No. 2 seed Chico, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Johnson has 893 yards receiving and 16 TDs with three 2-point conversions on offense, and on defense he has 49 tackles (45 solo) and four interceptions.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Slade Wilson (Folsom) Jr.

Just about all Northern California prep football fans and most every high school football aficionado in the state knows about the Sacramento suburb of Folsom due to the Bulldogs’ success over the past decade plus, but it’s usually the offense that gets all the props. This week, we visit Folsom to find our Northern California Defensive Player of the Week.

After a bye as the No. 3 seed in the first round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs that was preceded by a Sierra Foothill League loss to Granite Bay, the Bulldogs needed a few sparkplugs to get them re-ignited.

Wilson, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound defensive back, provided the firepower on defense with three interceptions and a batted pass in a 38-14 victory of Lincoln of Stockton. One of Slade’s picks went for a 40-yard pick six to close out the scoring.

So far this season for 8-3 and state No. 20 Folsom and heading into a semifinal match-up with a second-seeded Jesuit (Carmichael) team the Bulldogs defeated 56-7 in the regular season, Slade has more than made the grade on defense. Wilson leads Folsom with six interceptions, three of which he’s taken to the house for scores.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Shea Kuykendall (Long Beach Poly) Sr.

It’s been a while since we visited what used to be the high school with the largest enrollment in the state, but at just under 4,500 students it’s still No. 3. This week, the Jackrabbits claim the spotlight by landing Kuykendall as the Southern California Offensive Player of the Week award winner.

Last week, in a 49-3 win on the road at Upland in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs, Shea led the way after he was 21 of 30 passing for 381 yards and five touchdowns. It was the second-straight 300-yard performance after the 6-foot-2, 202-pound 3-star pro style quarterback with a couple of offers was a pinpoint 20 of 24 for 384 yards and four TDs in an opening round 56-28 victory over Trabuco Hills of Mission Viejo.

Heading into a semifinal matchup with Cypress for the top seed and new state No. 30 Jackrabbits, Kuykendall has thrown the ball to the tune of 2,375 yards and 30 TDs with a mere two interceptions and a 71-percent completion rate. That translates into a 146.9 quarterback rating and it’s hard to get much higher than that.

Temecula Valley’s Samuel Gbatu is one of those players who’s all over the field on both sides of the ball. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Samuel Gbatu Jr.
(Temecula Valley, Temecula) Sr.

We head to the farthest southeasterly portion of the Inland Empire to find our Southern California Defensive Player of the Week.

It doesn’t happen often, but in a bit of a twist it’s happened before. That is that the performance by Gbatu last week came against a team that had a Player of the Week honoree the previous week.

In a 27-14 victory over previously unbeaten Norte Vista of Riverside in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 quarterfinals, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Gbatu had nine tackles, an interception, a batted pass and a fumble recovery he returned for a touchdown.

Gbatu is also the Golden Bears’ leading receiver. Against Norte Vista, he had seven catches for 169 yards and one touchdown.

Heading into a semifinal on the road at Camarillo, Gbatu has six interceptions and that’s a top 10 reported mark in the Southern Section, plus 27 tackles. On offense, Samuel has 42 catches for 814 yards receiving with four touchdowns. Gbatu also returns kickoffs and occasionally punts as well.

On a final note, if you’re wondering what Norte Vista’s Eddie Allain did, last week’s SoCal offensive honoree, he rushed for 128 yards. Gbatu and the Golden Bears’ defense, however, kept him out of the end zone.

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

Colton Schlimgen (Camarillo) Sr.

Ventura County and a town that still has traces of the agriculture that dominated the area in the past is where we land in search of our Southern California Special Teams Player of the Week.

In Camarillo we find a kicker named Schlimgen, but there is nothing slim about Colton when he puts his foot to the pigskin.

Last week, in a 23-21 victory over host Culver City in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 quarterfinals, Schlimgen got the Scorpions the win when he booted home a 27-yard field goal with 1:46 left to play, and from there the defense sealed the deal. It was the third field goal of the night for the 6-foot, 200-pound senior.

Schlimgen also had a 70-yard punt in the game as well, and on six kickoffs he had three touchbacks.

So far this season, Colton has been even better at kickoffs and punting than he has been at kicking field goals and extra points. On 55 kickoffs he has 27 touchbacks, and on 31 punts he has three of over 60-yards and put 13 inside the 20.

We’re sure Colton would want to give a shout out to his offense. Both junior quarterback Brody Meyer and junior wide receiver Brandon Contreras had outstanding games vs. Culver City. Meyer passed for 356 yards and a TD and ran for a second score. Contreras had the TD reception and 208 yards receiving.

We mentioned in the write-up for this week’s defensive honoree that Players of the Week from consecutive weeks rarely meet in a game. Well, next week in a real twist, two of this week’s honorees will square off in the same game when the Scorpions host Temecula Valley in the Division 6 semis. Schlimgen better get those kickoffs into the end zone because Samuel Gbatu may be back there to bring it back.

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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