PREP FOOTBALL 2019: SANTA YNEZ : TREASURE TROVE OF TALENT
Santa Ynez High has four quarterbacks on its football roster, but there will be no quarterback controversy in the valley this season.
None of the QBs will be DNPs.
“A lot of it is, ‘How do we get the best 11 on the field?'” coach Josh McClurg said.
And that’s why all four – Bennett Redell, Anthony Gills, Logan Ast, and Braeden McCoy – will be starting somewhere for the Pirates when they open their season in eight days against Nipomo.
Redell was summoned from the junior varsity to play quarterback when an injury in the opener knocked Gills out for half of last season.
Both players are back, but Redell – now a 5-foot-10 junior – has gotten the nod from McClurg to start over center. Gills actually got too good for the position.
“Anthony put on about 25 pounds during the offseason – so he’s 6-foot-3, 190 pounds now, and he’s the fastest kid on our team,” McClurg said. “It allows us to put him at running back and at receiver.
“Bennett is a proficient passer. He’s not the athlete that Anthony is but Bennett is a quarterback. If Anthony is playing quarterback, then where do we play Bennett?”
Redell, who completed 64 of 128 passes for 900 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore to receive All-Channel League honorable mention, has done his part to reclaim his starting spot, McClurg said.
“Bennett had a great summer, and great passing league, actually,” he pointed out. “Our passing game looked really good this whole summer. Both sides of the ball looked good, and in camp, as well.”
Redell brings a stellar pedigree to the Pirates. His grandfather, College Football Hall of Famer Bill Redell, coached Oaks Christian High to seven CIF-Southern Section championships and to the 2006 State Division III title before retiring after the 2011 season.
Bennett’s older brother, Bear, was also a starting quarterback for Santa Ynez during the fall of 2014.
“I was a water boy a couple of times for that team,” he recalled. “My uncles (Matt and Morgan Halme) played here, too. I started coming to games when I was playing YFL, when I was like 7 or 8, so I’ve watched a lot of football here.
“Football has been a large part of my life.”
And weight-training was a large part of Redell’s offseason.
“I wanted to get faster with my 40 (-yard) time, and just stronger in general,” he said. “I was small last year as a sophomore. I just wanted to get bigger so there’s less chance of injury.”
A couple of last year’s seniors helped him adjust after his call-up to the varsity.
“It was really nerve-wracking,” he said, “but Juan Sanchez and Jasper Kadlec showed a lot of confidence in me, and I’m really grateful for them. Jasper helped me a lot.”
Kadlec, an All-CIF receiver, has since graduated, but Redell has plenty of talented targets. McClurg plans to move Gills all around the field while Ast, a 6-foot and 170 junior, and McCoy, a 6-1 and 165-pound senior, will also play wide receiver.
“Ast is Gill 2.0,” McClurg said. “He can play quarterback, running back, receiver. He’s also playing outside backer.
“McCoy plays cornerback for us and receiver, and he can play a little quarterback, too.”
Camron Prendergast, the younger brother of former Santa Ynez star Gabe Prendergast, made a name for himself last year as a sophomore. He caught a team-best 29 passes to earn All-Channel League second-team honors.
“They’re similar in a lot of ways,” McClurg said. “They’re both super-smart kids … He’s probably not as athletically gifted as Gabe was but he makes up for that with some great route-running, and he’s got great hands.
“He started last year for us in the slot and he’ll start again this year, and see a lot of time on defense, as well.”
The receiving corps got even deeper with senior Lars Ladinig’s return to the program after a two-year hiatus.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete and he’s catching the ball really well,” McClurg said. “He really looked good through camp.”
Senior Tyler Germani (6-2, 235) will anchor both sides of the Pirates’ line. He made last year’s All-Channel League first team after recording 8.5 quarterback sacks. Dean Tipolt (6-3, 195) also returns after earning second-team honors with 73 tackles at middle linebacker.
“Tyler is a beast, and he’s come back stronger and heavier – a good heavier,” McClurg said. “He was dealing with some stomach ulcers most of last season so we couldn’t play him both ways.
“This year, he’s healthy, so he’s going to be able to play both ways on the line.
“And Dean is the backbone of the defense and he’s starting at fullback, as well. He’s been a huge team leader.”
Filling in the line spots are senior Tao Kingsley (5-11, 215), sophomore Emilio Figueroa (5-11, 230), senior Connor Cunningham (5-10, 260), senior Owen Thompson (5-10, 250), junior Alex Phipps (6-1, 265), and sophomore Brandon Welby (5-10, 215).
Competing for spots on the defense are junior end Mason Hammill (6-0, 180), senior outside linebacker Pachomio Romero (6-1, 160) and senior free safety Jacob Davies (5-9, 125).
Quincy Valle, who plays on the Pirates’ girls basketball team, is back to handle the place-kicking chores. She earned All-Channel League honorable mention last year after making 29 of 31 conversion kicks.
“She’s tougher than 90 percent of the kids on this field,” McClurg said.
The Pirates have proven their toughness in the Channel League. The finished in a three-way tie for second place with Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos in last year’s maiden voyage in the conference to earn a berth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 7 playoffs.
McClurg, who is entering his eighth year as head coach, has a win-loss record of 29-12 record over the last four seasons.
“It’s going to be a while before we see exactly where we’re at,” he said, “but we were in the same boat last year.”