NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are defensive standouts Alex Atkins from Serra of San Mateo (left) and Andy Devine from Mission Hills of San Marcos. Photos:

Once again this week we fulfill the object of this feature which also is meant to track potential entries in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book and find hidden talent that doesn’t always find the spotlight other than on a local level. This week we visit San Mateo, Salinas and Sacramento in Northern California, and in Southern California our stops are in San Marcos & Spring Valley in San Diego County and finally at San Bernardino.

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Notes: We have a new twist to this feature that gives more flexibility to one of the honorees by expanding the Special Teams category to now be Multi-Purpose/Special Teams. Multi-Purpose is already a category for All State honors. For these honors, we also consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate anyone, email

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Defensive Player of the Week

Alexander Atkins (Serra, San Mateo) Sr.

It’s not often that we land at one of the state’s top-ranked teams to choose an honoree, and that’s usually because the stars on those teams are players that get a lot of time in the spotlight already.

At Serra of San Mateo, the top-ranked team in Northern California and No. 4 ranked team in the state in the most recent Cal-Hi Sports state rankings, we honor a player that hasn’t gotten a lot of props and although he can be found on, in the College List section it says “there are no interests.” Maybe that will change after the most recent performance of the senior defensive back who is also a backup quarterback.

Atkins has never been able to get a chance to star as the Padres’ signal-caller, and has only been used on rare occasions and for a two-point conversion in a West Catholic Athletic League win over St. Francis of Mountain View. Instead, he has been a part of the Serra secondary.

It was on defense in his most recent performance that gets Atkins not only into the spotlight, but also earns him the Northern California Defensive Player of the Week award.

Last week, in a 21-7 victory over St. Ignatius of San Francisco, Atkins had three interceptions, the last of which he took 44 yards to the house for a pick six to give Serra a 21-0 late third quarter lead.

According to a tweet by head coach Patrick Walsh, Atkins tied a school record for interceptions in a game that was held by former MLB all-star Gregg Jefferies. He did that in a football game for the Padres in 1982.

It really would be a shame if Peyton Hatten and 8-2 team at Rancho San Juan doesn’t get into the CCS playoffs. Photo:

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

Peyton Hatten (Rancho San Juan, Salinas) Sr.

To find our Northern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week, we head to Salinas, around 60 miles south of San Jose and he northern entrance to a Salinas Valley area made famous as the setting for the novels of Nobel Prize winning writer and Salinas native John Steinbeck.

At Rancho San Juan, a new school in only its third year of varsity football, we take our hats off to Hatten, a senior running tailback who also plays on the defensive line.

His most recent exploits come in just under the radar for this award’s category that was expanded for this season, but the regular season for the 8-2 Trailblazers has concluded, and under the point system of the CIF Central Coast Section, Rancho San Juan might not make the playoffs, so we decided to honor the senior star. We might not be able to later.

Last week, in a 56-7 shellacking of Watsonville, Peyton had a payday on both offense and defense.

On offense Hatten rushed for a season-high 251 yards and five touchdowns. On defense, he registered a team-high seven tackles with two for losses.

So far this season, Hatten has rushed for 200-plus yards five times and has 1,874 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns. With his one TD receiving, the 29 combined TDs for 176 points is the No. 8 reported mark in the state and is tops in the CCS.

Hatten is a notch higher in rushing yardage where his 1,874 yards is No. 1 reported mark in the CCS and No. 7 in the state. It would be a shame if Rancho San Juan doesn’t make the CCS playoffs with an 8-2 record, but we’ll find out over the next weekend.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Marino Fragata (Hiram Johnson, Sacramento) Jr.

Our Northern California Offensive Player of the Week comes from the metro Sacramento area portion of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section for the second straight week. For this week’s stop we land a stone’s throw slightly southeast of downtown Sacramento at Hiram Johnson.

At Johnson, we honor the Warriors’ junior quarterback who has had a major hand in getting the team to 8-3 heading into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs and a date with Elk Grove on the road this Friday.

Last Friday, in a 48-46 victory over Natomas that lit up the scoreboard, Fragata was not frugal with his contributions in a game that almost saw Johnson blow a 48-20 lead.

All the Warriors’ junior signal-caller did was complete 17 of 30 passes for 440 yards with five of the tosses going for touchdowns.

In a bit of a twist, we could have made Marino our NorCal numero uno on several previous occasions this past season.

While the 447 yards passing this past week or the 464 yards he had in week one don’t make the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book on the Most Yards (Game) list in the passing section, two previous performances do, including the 516 yards passing in a September win over Galt, and a career-high 520 yards in the air two weeks ago in a victory against Galt.

So far this season, and including only four yards passing in a loss to Roseville Woodcreek where he got dinged up and also had to miss the next game, Fragata has passed for 3,295 yards and 45 TDs with only eight interceptions.

If he hadn’t missed almost two games, Fragata would likely be the state’s reported passing leader, but even so the yards is No.3 in the state and the top mark in the Sac-Joaquin Section.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Defense Player of the Week

Andy Devine Jr. (Mission Hills, San Marcos) Sr.

We head to the CIF San Diego Section to cover both sides of the ball in an offensive/defensive sweep this week by the southernmost section in the state.

For our Southern California Defensive Player of the Week honor, it’s the North County portion of the CIFSDS to San Marcos and just north of Cal State-San Marcos on the other side of Highway 78 from the college.

At Mission Hills we find Andy Devine, and not the character actor who played the sidekick of Roy Rogers in several feature films, but a 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker and running back with an offer from Air Force.

The reported stats for Devine do not reflect the feats for which he is being honored, but were uncovered on Twitter by Cal-Hi Sports co-founder and executive editor Mark Tennis, who even watched his Hudl film for verification.

Last week, in a 45-0 rout of crosstown arch rival San Marcos, where Andy was handily the MVP of what is known as the Discovery Cup Game, Devine had two interceptions, one of which he returned to the house for a pick six, plus he registered 14 tackles.

We could have made him a Multi-Purpose /Special Teams winner since Devine was just as divine on offense after he pounded his way into the end zone twice to give him three TDs in the game combined on defense and offense.

We’ll have to wait a week to see what Devine and the 7-3 Grizzlies do in the CIFSDS playoffs since as the No. 1 seed in Division 1 they drew a bye. He hails from a school with a strong tradition of linebackers, led by Fred Warner of the San Francisco 49ers.

Major Givens has put up major totals during his career as a running back at Steele Canyon (Spring Valley). Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Offensive Player of the Week

Major Givens (Steele Canyon, Spring Valley) Sr.

Around 15 miles east of the heart of San Diego on the Campo road in Spring Valley is where we land to honor the Southern California Offensive Player of the Week.

At Steele Canyon we find a Cougars team that has suffered through a 2-8 season, but not only did they end it on a high note, their star running back made a little history.

The history by Givens, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior, was made last week in a season ending 31-10 victory over Grossmont of neighboring El Cajon. That’s when Major brought everyone to attention by rushing for a school record 454 yards and three touchdowns.

Not only is the 454 rushing yards a school record, it’s the second highest reported mark in the state this season, it makes the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book on the Most Yards (Game) list in the rushing section, and last but not least it’s the No. 4 all-time mark according to the Record Book in the history of the CIF San Diego Section.

The Grossmont game has not been added to his reported totals, but some basic arithmetic tells us Major has marched to the tune of 1,534 yards and 12 touchdowns to end his senior year. The math for Major’s three-year varsity career totals stand at 3,742 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns. There’s nothing minor about Major’s career for the Cougars.

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

George Jones (San Bernardino) Sr.

The heart of the Inland Empire is our destination and we land at San Bernardino High to honor this week’s Southern California Multi-Purpose/Special Teams Player of the Week. It’s there that we find Jones, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior cornerback and kick returner who was as busy as a Whirling Dervish in his most recent performance.

Last week, in a 40-0 shellacking of crosstown rival Pacific, Jones had two interceptions, both of which he took to the house for pick sixes that went for 118 yards combined. Jones also had a 93-yard kickoff return to paydirt for a score, and he recorded a two-point conversion to give him 20 combined points three different ways. He also had a couple of tackles for good measure.

So far this season for San Bernardino, who according to the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book has the most losses in state history, but at 8-2 is pretty good this season, Jones now has six interceptions, four of which he’s returned for TDs, two kickoff returns for scores, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and 51 tackles.

Those are just his special teams and defensive statistics. He didn’t have and offensives stats reported in the Pacific game, but on offense George has forged his way to 646 yards rushing and 11 TDs, plus he has 171 yards receiving and one more score.

Overall, that’s 18 TDs four different ways, and to top it off Jones has 14 points on two-point conversions meaning he has recorded 122 combined points five different ways.

San Bernardino and its Mr. Multi-Purpose/Special Teams, who not surprisingly plays baseball and basketball, now head into the CIF Southern Section Division 12 playoffs this week on the road in Hacienda Heights at Los Altos.

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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