The 49ers High School Player of the Week Award for week 8 goes to Akil Jones of Valley Christian in San Jose, CA.
With a stellar performance defensively, Akil Jones played a major role in Valley Christian's commanding win over Archbishop Mitty. The senior linebacker started fast, giving his team all the momentum from the opening defensive possession. As usual after winning the toss, the Valley Christian Warriors chose to defer to start the game. Archbishop Mitty's offense took the field, and would not be out there for long. The Warriors defense came out blazing and set the tone for what Mitty could expect all night. The front four were able attack Monarchs quarterback, Sam Serra, forcing an opening drive fumble. Akil Jones was part of the rush, recovering the fumble and running it in for the early touchdown.
"That start was huge. It flips the momentum in your favor. When we defer, we're hoping to get a stop, and then play our game offensively. When you go out there and not only stop them, but you turn around and get a score… it doesn't get much better than that," said Valley Christian Head Coach Mike Machado.
It would not get any easier for Sam Serra and the Mitty Monarchs.
The Warriors were very efficient offensively, totaling 422 yards on offense behind their powerful run game.
The defense put on the real show for Valley Christian Friday night. They were a force to be reckoned with the entire game and Mitty's line could not slow them down. The Warrior's defense finished the night with 8 sacks on Serra and held Mitty to just one touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"Our program has a lot of pride in our defense. We do really well in making sure the quarterback doesn't get too comfortable, and we did just that Friday night," said Machado.
Akil Jones had a heavy hand in the stout defense. After scoring the defensive touchdown to start the game, the senior linebacker went on to play an aggressive game. He was credited with 5.5 sacks on the night.
"You can't overstate how valuable Akil is for us," said Coach Machado.
The fierce linebacker can also play running back. In the Warrior's previous game, he saw some time on the offensive side of the ball, rushing for 57 yards on 4 carries.
"He can definitely be a very productive running back, he's just too valuable for us on defense," said Coach Machado.
Akil Jones is a team captain for the Warriors. Head Coach Mike Machado emphasized how talented of a football player Jones is, but spoke even more highly about the young man Jones is off the field and how highly valued a player of his nature is to the team. His work ethic, pride and integrity are just as commendable as his play between the lines.
"He is a team captain, a great teammate, great leader, and a great kid. Akil works hard. He puts in the time. He puts in the time to get better at his craft," said Coach Machado.
"His personality is what sets him apart. He is a very positive, driven kid. He is a friendly, good natured, great kid. But when he puts on the equipment and he walks across the line, he's coming and he's going to come hard. He plays hard and plays fast. He's in attack mode. He's the kind of kid you just enjoy having," continued Machado.
Jones is always an active participant in Head Coach Mike Machado's Football Camp for the Stars each summer. Camp for the Stars is a football camp for athletes with down syndrome. Jones looks forward to this each summer.
Jones, in his senior season at Valley Christian has verbally committed to the University of Colorado, as his football career at the collegiate level will continue with the Buffs.
"I expect them to be excited to Akil in there. I am excited to watch him on Saturdays next year" Machado proudly stated of his senior captain.
As the home school of the 49ers High School Player of the Week, Valley Christian High School will receive a $500 grant for their football program from the 49ers Foundation. Akil Jones will receive two tickets to a 49ers home game and a certificate signed by 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula. At the end of the season, Jones will be invited to the SAP Performance Facility to accept a trophy recognizing his achievements.