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110317 Lompoc Cabrillo football 04.jpg

Lompoc's Jesus Coralles (27) celebrates with Leondre Coleman (1), who made an interception for a touchdown against Cabrillo. Coleman is one of the likely 2018 favorites for LCCN All-Area MVP.

I’ll start off by saying a big congrats to everyone who earned All-Area honors from Lee Central Coast Newspapers.

It’s never an easy list to compile because this region has a bevy of talent – but the 2017 roster is a deep one, spearheaded by the dynamic Blake Truhitte and including the Lompoc locomotive Toa Taua.

And looking at this year’s winners already has me thinking about who is capable of winning the 2018 award. It’s my early list, but here are eight players coming back who are definitely capable of earning All-Area Most Valuable Player honors for next year:

James Gilmet, Arroyo Grande: Gilmet will be entering year three of an already stout varsity career with the Eagles. He’s posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at AGHS.

Keyshawn Pua, Nipomo: What a debut for Pua – as a freshman on varsity. The linebacker collected 66 tackles and 8.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage according to Max Preps.

Caleb Thomas, Righetti: The reigning PAC 5 MVP was flat out dominating in the trenches – by pummeling defensive players on run blocks to collecting team-highs in tackles for a loss (17) and sacks (7) on defense. Things could heat up for the 6-foot-4, 265-pound junior on the recruiting trail soon.

Leondre Coleman, Lompoc: The sophomore became an instant tackling machine on an experienced and deep Braves defense. With several graduations taking place this June, look for Coleman to have an expanded role on defense…and also in the backfield on offense.

Juan De Luna, Lompoc: The 5-foot-11, 250-pound junior is one of the reasons why it’s hard to run against the Braves – because he’s already in the opponents’ backfield stopping the run. Also helped anchor an offensive line that was decimated by injuries.

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Cash Transeth, Santa Ynez: Like Coleman, the running back/defensive back Transeth will be returning to a team that will be much younger – which likely means more touches of the ball next season. Transeth installed the ground work for the Pirates with his 10 rushing touchdowns.

Jasper Kadlec, Santa Ynez: With Gabe Prendergast graduating, look for the 6-foot-4, 200-pound junior to become the go-to-guy on offense. He’s already put together an impressive resume with 79 catches, 1,201 yards and 12 touchdowns in his two years on varsity.

Jackson Anderson, Cabrillo: The 2019 quarterback is my sleeper for the 2018 All-Area MVP award. The dual-threat quarterback combined for 18 touchdowns, 13 of them from the ground game. If he can improve as a passer the same way Dino Maldonado did at St. Joseph, Anderson could be in MVP consideration by next December. 

Lorenzo J. Reyna is Lee Central Coast Newspapers' Lompoc Valley Sports Reporter. The Lompoc native has been connected to sports on the Central Coast for most of his life, covering the area for Lee Central Coast News since 2016.