Max Valles and Kaiwan Lewis of the St. Joseph High School football team didn't lead South Jersey in tackles.

Erica Skroski of the Absegami girls soccer team didn't lead the region in goals scored.

But statistics don't measure what the three meant to their respective teams.

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Valles and Lewis are The Press co-Male Athletes of the Fall.

Skroski is The Press Female Athlete of the Fall.

Valles and Lewis helped St. Joe become one of the most dominant defenses in Cape-Atlantic League history. The Wildcats allowed just 19 points all season. They did not allow a touchdown in their last 31 quarters. St. Joe won the state Non-Public I title.

"We just played together every game," Valles said. "We never took a play off."

Skroski excelled at midfield and helped make Absegami a South Jersey power. Absegami won the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference title.

"I've never been a selfish player," she said. "Our team is like a family. We worked together in everything we did."

Valles lives in Winslow Township and will attend the University of Virginia, where he will probably play tight end. Lewis lives in Mays Landing and is headed to South Carolina. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Valles played defensive end. He made 33 tackles and had seven sacks. The 6-2, 225-pound Lewis played defensive end on the other side before shifting to linebacker. Lewis made 54 tackles.

St. Joe finished 10-0. Opposing teams couldn't get away from the duo. If they ran away from one, they ran right into the other.

"He was always making plays somewhere or I was making plays," Lewis said. "It was great."

Valles noticed toward the end of the season that teams were running away from him.

"It felt pretty food that people were changing their game plan for me," he said.

Valles and Lewis pushed each other throughout their St. Joe careers. "If he had a good game, people would say he's the greatest one on the team," Lewis said. "If I had a good game, people would say I was the greatest one on the team. We tried to be better than each other."

Skroski scored 15 goals this fall. But more importantly she helped created shots for her teammates with her dribbling and passing. The Braves finished 16-3-1 this season.

"I don't worry about my statistics," Skroski said. "I don't worry about how many goals and assists I have. I just do stuff for the team."

She was at her best against the toughest teams Absegami faced. Skroski assisted on both goals in a 2-0 first-round Coaches Tournament win against Williamstown. She scored in a Coaches Tournament game against eventual South Jersey Group II champion Haddonfield, which at the time was 15-0 and had allowed two goals all season. She played one of her most technically sound games in a South Jersey Group IV quarterfinal win over Toms River East.

Skroski will play NCAA Division I soccer at Rutgers University on a scholarship.

"I hope I can play four years of healthy soccer in college and make an impact," she said.

Valles and Lewis spent much of their time at St. Joe together. Football at the school is a year-round commitment with an emphasis on off-season weight training.

"We're like brothers," Lewis said.

The two plan to follow each other in college.

"I'm going to keep an eye on him," Lewis said. "We're going to be teammates forever."

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