As if he hadn’t done enough during his extraordinary sophomore year, Blake Nichelson sought more ways to contribute to his final stint at Manteca High School.
Somehow, he achieved all that and more, establishing himself as the best all-around player to come out of the Manteca region. Raised his game as he stepped up as a midfield juggernaut in the ranks of the large school.
Nichelson repeats: butter bulletin He led Manteca to his ninth overall title in the Sac-Joaquin section and his second All-Area MVP in the Division II bracket. Buff campaigned in Divisions III and IV for 20 years before being promoted due to the section’s “continuous success” rule.
Victories over high-profile opponents in the section elevated Manteca (11-2) to another level in the state playoffs, where they faced the North Coast section’s heavyweights Pittsburgh in the California Interscholastic Federation Division IA Northern Regional Bowl game. We played against each other.
They lost 35-14 on a dark night in Contra Costa County, but now the Buffs are in conversation with the best of the best in Northern California.
“This is a pretty big achievement,” says Nichelson. “For as long as I can remember, the program has been Divisions III and IV, and we have grown to Division I. I feel it is a big thing, especially for our school, to be able to compete there. ”
It took a big player to help the Buffaloes get there. His individual accolades would be hard to match, and he left his name all over the school record books.
So far he has been named MaxPreps All-SJS Co-Player of the Year, Sac-Hi Sports South Fall All-Around Player of the Year, Scorebook Live All-State Team Linebacker and Valley Oak League MVP. .
“It’s nice to be able to do all of this, but honestly, I’m just playing my own game, so I don’t really pay attention to records or anything like that,” says Nichelson. “I don’t really try to break records. I just want to have fun and play my game.”
The appearance of junior Bryson Davis at tailback prompted Manteca to use Nichelson more in the slot and wide receiver. He later realized his future was on the defensive side, and it was there that he continued to demonstrate his range last season.
“I’m just coming of age,” he said. “I didn’t know him very well in junior year and he only played one position in defense. I started to learn more about playing and on both sides of the ball he was able to play three positions. I think that’s the biggest difference in my game.
“It’s been a lot of fun to be able to go out and play on all sides of the ball. It can be exhausting at times, but it’s fun for me.”
Two of Nichelson’s favorite moments last season were his 51-48 win over Granite Bay in the Sectional Championship and his incredible 56-49 loss to VOL foes Central Catholic. is a personal effort.
On both occasions he was able to shine against the top competition. Against Central Catholic he set a new single game program record with 400 rushing yards and a touchdown record of 7 I tied it with He had 11 tackles on defense.
“It was one of my favorite games,” said Nichelson. “Even though we lost, I felt like I gave it my all and I couldn’t do anything more.”
In the SJS D-II Finals, he had 292 total yards (218 rushing), 6 touchdowns (4 rushing), 11 tackles and 1 interception.
“That was the highlight of the season for me,” said Nichelson. “It was the last game we won together as a team and it was a great moment to celebrate as a team.”
After leading the state in scoring last year, he finished second as a senior with 43 touchdowns and 266 points. His points total ranks his 23rd most in the nation, and his TD tally ranks his 22nd.
Although he played both as a running back (1,719 yards, 27 TDs) and as a receiver (703 yards, 14 TDs), Nichelson completed a 48-yard pass in a homecoming win over Turlock to increase his pitching record. showed off my arms. He also had to return several punts, and two for touchdowns.
On defense, Nichelson recorded 67 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two interceptions, lining up in various places depending on the matchup. and demonstrated his ability in the press as a shutdown cornerback.
A four-star inside linebacker, Nichelson can focus on one position at Florida State.
“I’m going to miss a lot[of offensive play]to be honest,” Nichelson said. “But I was hired where I was hired. These coaches know far more than I do and know where I can be most successful. It’s great to play.”
It’s a chance for him to get better.
“I feel we have a lot to improve,” he said. “I have to work on getting more of a linebacker figure. I have to put on a little more weight and run faster.
He won’t have to wait long to get a taste of NCAA Division I football.
This week, Nichelson is in San Antonio, Texas, preparing for the Adidas All-American Bowl, which airs on NBC Saturday at 10am.
here the rest bulletin butter 2021 All Area Soccer Teams:
Offensive Player of the Year
Dylan Lee, East Union, Sr.
Named the Valley Oak League’s co-utility player of the year, the 6-foot-2-inch, 215-pound Lee played many roles in helping the Lancers advance to the postseason for the second year in a row. As quarterback (93-of-180, 1,161 yards, 11 TDs), rusher (719 yards, 8 TDs) and receiver (21 receptions, 321 yards, 3 TDs) It was the attack that did most of his work. Last year he statistically had 69 catches for 1,350 yards and 17 TDs, making him one of the most productive wideouts in the state. Rated as a three-star linebacker, Lee also lined up in the defensive backfield and handled punts.
Defensive Player of the Year
Aliya Kota, Manteca, Mr.
A 3-star rated linebacker, this 6-3, 235-pound Wrecking Ball was named All-VOL Co-Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the MaxPreps All-Sac-Joaquin Section Second Team . Kota recorded 80 tackles, 15 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 2 interceptions, but he also played an important role in other aspects of the game, such as punter, fullback, and tight end.
Lineman of the Year
Mason Gibson, Manteca, Mr.
The Buffaloes’ stout ground attack benefited from a 6-0, 250-pound Gibson addition to the left guard’s offensive line. He was named to his All-VOL First Team his offense and on defense he was named to the First Team twice. On defense, he had 41 tackles, nine losses, three sacks, and a team-high nine quarterback hits.
Utility Player of the Year
Cameron Jones, Lathrop, Sr.
Jones finished as Sparta’s top scorer with 17 touchdowns (12 rushing, 2 receiving, 2 special teams, 1 defensive). A speedy 5-9, 145 tailback/wingback, he paced the offense with 1,158 yards from scrimmage and 966 yards as a rusher. The starting quarterback’s season-ending injury forced him to play several snaps behind center, completing a game-winning TD pass at Ceres. Jones played cornerback on defense and contributed three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
all area team
attack: QB Trey Fasani, Ripon Christian, Sr..; RB Bryson Davis, Manteca, Sr.; RB Anthony Grady, Sierra, Jr. WR Griffin De Abreu, Ripon Christian, Sr.; WR Nicholas Moon, East Union, Sr. TE Thys Van Der Hoek, Ripon Christian, Sr.; OL Carson Bunnell, Ripon Christian, Jr.; OL Leland Crabb, East Union, Jr.; OL Dylan Gluceth, Butter, Sr. OL Bryson McMichael, Butter, Jr. OL Hector Table, Lathrop, Sr. K. Ethan Schenk, Ripon Christian Jr.;
defense: DL Camryn Arriola, Ripon, Sr.; DL Jacob Cowes, Ripon Christian, Sr. DL Isaiah White, Butter, Thor. DL Sean Teu, Lathrop, So.; LB Carson Sanders, East Union, Jr.; LB Grant Sonke, Ripon Christian, Sr. LB Eli Terpsuma, Ripon Christian, Sr. DB Eddie Anthony, Butter, So.; DB Jeremiah Green Lathrop, Sr.; DB Brady Grondz, Ripon Christian, Jr.; DB Jesse Ochoa, Ripon, Jr.; P Paul Neighborhood, Sierra, Jr.
utility: RB/WR/CBXzavier Clark, Ripon, Jr.