The 2019 football season was one to remember for several South Coast squads.
Some may say it was the year of the Golden Tornado, as the Santa Barbara High football team was able to capture its first outright league title since 2002, snap its three decade playoff winless drought and advance all the way to the CIF-SS Division 8 championship game. Fans of Lompoc and Bishop Diego would argue that injuries hindered what could have been deep playoff runs for their respective teams.
No matter your rooting allegiance, one thing is clear: the county was filled with talented student athletes, many of whom will continue to compete locally again this fall. With the winter sports season in full swing and spring sports just around the corner, it’s easy to forget just how special those Friday night lights are. The games give fans something to cheer for; students something to take pride in; and players something to push towards. Although not everyone gets to hoist the trophy when it’s all said and done, there were plenty of winners this season.
The following players have been selected to the 2019 Santa Barbara News-Press All-County football teams.
First Team: Deacon Hill, Santa Barbara
The Wisconsin commit showed all of Southern California just how good he can be. The junior threw for more than 2,200 yards and 22 touchdowns and really developed himself as the leader of the team, propelling Santa Barbara through the playoffs. Big things may be in store this season for the future Badger.
Second Team: Ben Partee, San Marcos
Partee became the school’s all-time leading passer following a stellar senior season, which saw him throw for 2,210 yards and 20 touchdowns. For his career, Partee amassed 4,000 yards and threw for 37 touchdowns.
First Team: Adrian Soracco, Bishop Diego
The was the only local running back to rush for more than 1,000 yards on the season, as Soracco finished the year with 1,114 yards on 197 carries. He had six 100-yard rushing games and scored eight touchdowns.
Second Team: Sheldon Canley, Lompoc
With starter Leondre Coleman battling injuries throughout the season, Canley, a sophomore, was able to put his talents on full display and did not disappoint. He finished with 808 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns, eclipsing 100 yards on the ground four times this season.
First Team: Josh Brown, San Marcos; Chase Reynoso, Righetti
Brown finished the season with 73 receptions for 1,173 yards and an outstanding 17 touchdowns. Brown was the primary target for Royals quarterback Ben Partee and the senior wideout was on every team’s scouting report as they prepared to face San Marcos.
Reynoso was the top target for Righetti quarterback Logan Mortensen this season, as the senior had a team high 49 receptions for 851 yards and nine touchdowns. With teammate Jake Steels limited to just six games this season, Reynoso was able to step up to lead the Warriors to a 7-4 record on the season.
Second Team: Jackson Gonzales, Santa Barbara; Christian Duarte-Tenorio, Lompoc
Gonzales was viewed as Deacon Hill’s number one target besides his small stature. Though certainly not the loudest member of the Dons’ receiving corps, Gonzales seemed to let his play do the talking on his way to a solid senior season.
Duarte-Tenorio was one of the go-to targets for freshman quarterback Cavin Ross, who was forced into action after Cameron Iribarren suffered a season-ending injury just one game into the season. The junior receiver finished with 40 receptions on the season and five touchdowns.
First Team: Ryan Morgan, Lompoc
The Arizona State commit led his team with 41 receptions for 680 yards and six touchdowns. The 6-4, 230 pound tight end finishes his career with 59 receptions for 1,041 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Second Team: Cade McNamee, Cabrillo
McNamee was one of the lone bright spots for the Conquistadors’ offense this season, pulling down 26 receptions for 430 yards and six touchdowns.
Jacob Nunez, Lompoc
Chase Kamin, Santa Barbara
Johnny Balaam, Lompoc
Roberto Vargas, Dos Pueblos
Carlos Garcia, Lompoc
Nunez, who will be joining his high school teammate Morgan at Arizona State, and Balaam were key cogs in the Braves’ offensive line this season that allowed underclassmen to excel when some of the team’s upperclassmen went down due to injury. Nunez, who is listed at 6-4, 275 pounds, was also recognized as the Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Channel League. Garcia, a 6-0, 260 pound junior, was able to have his way with his opponents at times in the trenches to open holes for the likes of Canley and Coleman. Kamin was able to provide front-side protection for the Dons offensive line, and really turned up his play late in the season, which allowed Santa Barbara to run the ball at will on its opponents. Vargas, at 6-1 and 306 pounds, was an imposing force along the line for the Chargers. The senior was able to pave the way for players like Conner Lee and Udy Loza, allowing the Chargers to put together a solid showing in league play.
Jorge Contreras, Santa Barbara
Nick Baizan, Santa Barbara
Nico Chavaz, San Marcos
Dylan Forbes, Cabrillo
Emilio Figueroa, Santa Ynez
Tyler Germani, Santa Ynez
Joshua Rosales, Santa Barbara
Noach Wood, Santa Barbara
Brandon Welby, Santa Ynez
Germani put up a team-high 12.5 sacks this season, which included a five sack performance against Cabrillo. The 6-2, 225 pound defensive lineman finishes his varsity career with 21 sacks and 36 hurries, as well as 26.5 tackles for loss. Rosales was able to set the edge for the Dons defense throughout the season, making the difficult transition from defensive tackle to end look simple at times. Wood, who was honored as the Gary Blades Big Game MVP award for his stellar performance against San Marcos, perhaps had the quickest first step of any defensive linemen in the area. Welby, a sophomore, finished with 50 total tackles on the season, including five tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.
Aaron Nunez, Lompoc
Jameson Brodeur Cabrillo
David Ramirez, Santa Barbara
Jesus Aguilar, Lompoc
Johnny Valencia, Santa Barbara
Charlie Figueroa, Santa Barbara
Leondre Coleman, Lompoc
Valencia was the man in the middle of the Santa Barbara defense, which gave up less than 18 points per game on the season. His coaches rave about his ability to run sideline to sideline, and the senior was able to overcome some early season injuries to have a solid season. Figueroa, perhaps the toughest player pound for pound who sported olive and gold this season, blocked a field goal attempt in the fourth quarter against Lompoc that helped Santa Barbara escape with a thrilling 27-21 victory over the Braves. Coleman, who in 2018 was the channel League Defensive MVP, put up another solid season in 2019. He finished the year with 62 total tackles and five sacks, though he was limited late in the season with a shoulder injury.
Dean Tipolt, Santa Ynez
Conner Lee, Dos Pueblos
Jack Huffman, San Marcos
Deville “Joker” Dickerson, Lompoc
Dakota Hill, Santa Barbara
Joe Schumer, Lompoc
Johnny Alvarado, Dos Pueblos
Dickerson had only three interceptions on the season, but his 14 passes defended were the most in the Channel League, which made signal callers think twice about throwing to his side of the field. Hill was able to flash his ball skills on both offense and defense this season, and had a solid argument for first team honors in both spots. He gets the nod as defensive back for his ability to jump routes and matchup against the opposition’s top target. Schumer had a team-high five interceptions for the Braves and helped man the defensive secondary for Lompoc, which went 4-1 in Channel League play and finished tied for second place. Alvarado had a team-high four interceptions in just seven games for Dos Pueblos. The sophomore finished the year with six passes defended and 41 total tackles.
Grant Gonzales, Santa Barbara
Luke Gardner, Lompoc
Salomon Manzanarez, Santa Barbara
Robert Carrancho, Righetti
Kicker: Adam Luckhurst, Bishop Diego
Punter: Ty Montgomery, Santa Barbara
Luckhurst displayed tremendous potential as a place kicker for the Cardinals this season. He made 16 of his 26 extra-point attempts, as well as three of his six field goals, which included a 48-yard boot. Montgomery was truly a Ty-of-all-trades for the Dons this season, as he did just about everything besides sell concessions. He served as the team’s punter and kicker, running back and linebacker, and also was forced into long-snapping duties early in the season due to injuries.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Deacon Hill, quarterback, Santa Barbara
Hill can make all the throws. His pin-point accuracy is a skill that will translate to any level. Taking the reins of the offense for the first time this season, Hill was able to mature and grow as a leader, while also leading his team to victory. Perhaps what is most impressive about the 6’4, 230 lbs junior is his football acumen. He knows how to manipulate the defense and does so with ease. The highly-touted prospect lived up to the hype this season and, after throwing an interception on his last pass attempt of the 2019 season, he’ll have another chance to earn a CIF championship ring next year.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Noach Wood, defensive lineman, Santa Barbara
Wood was able to use the combination of speed and quickness throughout the year to make things miserable for his opponents. His own coaches and teammates hated practicing against him because of his constant motor. His coach, J.T. Stone, is convinced that Wood is a Division I prospect and, though there is certainly still work to be done, it appears Wood may have what it takes to play at the next level. His ability to win at the point of attack gave the opposition fits throughout the year and Wood always seemed to come up with the timely play for Santa Barbara.
Coach of the Year:
J.T. Stone, Santa Barbara
Year number six for Stone was without question his most accomplished. The countless hours of grinding film, teaching fundamentals and stressing details paid off as the season went along. Stone was able to rally his team following a pair of early season losses for Ventura County powerhouses St. Bonaventure and Pacifica and give the Dons their first outright league title since 2001. Even when his offense eclipsed 40 points, Stone always felt as if there was more to give. He demanded a ton from his players, who in return gave the olive and gold faithful plenty to hang their hats on.