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As the stakes get higher, the individual performances keep getting better.
A plethora of local football standouts turned their game up to 11 this past week as their league campaigns heat up.
There are eight athletes up for the Player of the Week contest. Voting runs through Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.
The complete list of candidates and their stats from last week can be found below:
Malakai Langley, St. Joseph RB/DBUpdated
St. Joseph sophomore Malakai Langley set the tone for the Knights in their game at Arroyo Grande last Friday. He ripped off an 80-yard touchdown run on the game's very first play. St. Joseph raced out to a 21-0 lead about midway through the first quarter and never looked back in a 39-21 win.
Langley finished with 180 yards and two touchdowns on offense and also played defense and returned kicks for the Knights.
Malakai Langley, St. Joseph RB/DB: 18 carries, 180 yards, 2 TDs; four tackles in 39-21 win over Arroyo Grande.
Braden Claborn, Righetti QBUpdated
Righetti quarterback Braden Claborn didn't put up eye-popping stats Friday, but he delivered the type of performance his team sorely needed. Claborn accounted for two touchdowns in the 20-6 win over a tough Pioneer Valley defense to lead Righetti to its first win of the season against his former school.
Braden Claborn, Righetti QB: 129 passing yards, TD; 64 rushing yards, TD in 20-6 win over Pioneer Valley.
Leo Valencia, Santa Ynez KUpdated
Then there's Leonel Valencia, the junior kicker at Santa Ynez. Valencia had a huge night against Buena, making all four of his field goal attempts and a PAT. Valencia's late 25-yard field goal gave Santa Ynez a 19-18 lead, but Buena scored a last-second touchdown to win 25-19.
Valencia made all his kicks, with a long field goal of 36 yards.
Leo Valencia, Santa Ynez K: 4 for 4 on field goals, long of 36 yards, 1 for 1 on PATs, 13 kick points in 25-19 loss at Ventura Buena.
Damian Santos, Arroyo Grande TEUpdated
Arroyo Grande’s Damian Santos has transformed into one of the top tight ends in the area and he had himself a day against St. Joseph. He caught seven passes for 130 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Knights.
Damian Santos, Arroyo Grande TE: 7 catches, 130 yards, TD in 39-21 loss to St. Joseph.
Leo Kemp, Paso Robles, RBUpdated
North County players aren't typically included in this contest, but Paso Robles running back Leo Kemp deserved a nod after his rugged performance against Nipomo. The Bearcats carried the ball 58 times in the 19-12 win over Nipomo and Kemp had 39 of those carries, gaining 203 yards and scoring all three of his team's touchdowns. The junior is certainly a bell-cow back.
Leo Kemp, Paso Robles, RB: 39 carries for 203 yards, 3 TDs.
Kyle Kuhn, Nipomo WRUpdated
For Nipomo, yards weren't easy to come by as the Titans mustered just 232 yards of offense against the Bearcats. Kyle Kuhn was responsible for a third of those yards on his own, catching three passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
Kyle Kuhn, Nipomo WR: 3 catches, 77 yards, TD; 1 tackle.
Deville Dickerson, Lompoc WR/DB/KRUpdated
Deville Dickerson is putting together one of the more remarkable individual seasons this area has ever seen.
The Lompoc senior scored for the seventh time on a kick/punt return in the loss to Rio Mesa. He also had nine catches for 135 yards and two plays that every coach should want a copy of for their film sessions.
Dickerson 'hawked' two Rio Mesa players, racing nearly the entire length of the field to track the ball-carrier down and prevent touchdowns. How do you spell max effort? Easy: J-O-K-E-R.
Deville Dickerson, Lompoc WR/DB/KR: 9 catches, 135 yards; KO return TD; 4.5 tackles, 1 TFL; 150 return yards.
🔥Vs Rio Mesa🔥— Deville “Djoker” Dickerson (@Deville2404) October 11, 2021
🔵KO Return TD (7th)
🔵2x METCALFs **
🔵9 Rec - 135 Yrds
🔵4.5 TKLs - 1 TFL
🔵+150 Return Yrds
** Both saved a TD@the_jonesy16 @tfordfsp1 @RFordFSP @BrandonHuffman @Hudl @dkm14 @CalHiSports @CIFSS @FootballRecruit @RyanClaryFSP pic.twitter.com/mmMsuHbzQZ
Jacob Sanders, VCA WR/DBUpdated
We can't forget about the 8-man realm either. VCA's Jacob Sanders, who's won the Player of the Week honor once already this year, had another big game, scoring twice on rushes, twice on interception returns and once more on a punt return.
Sanders has scored 17 times in four games this year for the 4-0 Lions.
Jacob Sanders, VCA WR/DB: 9 carries, 75 yards, 2 TDs; 2 INT returns for TDs; punt return TD; 5 tackles, 4 PBUs; forced fumble.