From left, coaches James Peterson of Turlock (vs. Freedom), Jeremy Plaa of Downey (at East Union) and Roger Canepa of Central Catholic (vs. Clovis West) have tough opening night tests, but the most intriguing game on Aug. 23, 2019 belongs to Oakdale-Sonora, according to a fan vote.

Poll: Small-School Athlete of the Week, presented by American Chevrolet

James Burns
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Here's a closer look at this week's candidates, in alphabetical order, for the American Chevrolet Small-School Athlete of the Week for games played on Sept. 14. Evan Bearden is your winner.

Evan Bearden, Sonora: After a slow start to his season because of offseason ankle surgery, Bearden, a versatile talent at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, was in top form in a win over West. The reigning Mother Lode League Defensive Player of the Year had a pick-six and a touchdown reception. To vote, click here.

Brandon Garbez, Gustine: Garbez had his best rushing performance of the season in a 37-0 victory over Delhi. He averaged nearly 10 yards per carry en route to his third game in four with more than 160 yards rushing. Garbez finished with 169 yards on just 17 attempts. To vote, click here.

Isaac Sharp, Hilmar: Sharp rushed for a game-high 215 yards and two touchdowns, including a 68-yard sprint in the first quarter, shining in a loss for the former No. 1-ranked Yellowjackets. Sharp now has back-to-back 200-yard games and is averaging a ridiculous 15.5 yards per carry for the season. To vote, click here.

Drew Van Vliet, Ripon Christian: The returning all-Southern League performer had a team-high 13 tackles, including six for a loss, and 2.5 sacks in a victory over Waterford. Van Vliet also caused and recovered a fumble as the Knights quieted an explosive offense. To vote, click here.

Tyler Vargas, Orestimba: The Warriors star had nearly 200 all-purpose yards, including a touchdown reception and rush of more than 60 yards, in a rout of Mariposa to open the Southern League. Vargas has scored two touchdowns in each game. To vote, click here.

Follow James Burns on Twitter @jburns1980, or email him at frontrowpreps@gmail.com.