The Santa Barbara City College football team recently completed a 7-3 regular season, tied for its best record over the past 17 seasons. However, the Vaqueros aren’t done just yet.
Santa Barbara will travel to face Palomar in the Chick-fil-A 2021 Winter Festi-Bowl on Dec. 4 at 3:00 p.m. at Escondido High School. This will be SBCC’s first bowl game since 2016, coming against a Palomar team that went 5-5 this year.
The news followed the announcement that 14 Vaqueros earned American Pacific All-League selections, the most for the program in over eight years.
Six different Vaqueros were unanimous All-APL First Team picks: Marcus Bellon (WR), Donavan Davis (OL), Jordan Tagaloa (DL), Tyler Haughney (ILB) and Kai Singleton (OLB).
Marcus Bellon scored his team-leading 10 touchdowns in a variety of ways this year, including six on special teams. The wide receiver led the team in receptions (42), receiving yards (582) and receiving touchdowns (4), and even had an interception in a blowout win over LA Pierce. He was also the only SCFA returner to average over 20 yards per punt return (21.7). He was one of just three players with two kickoff return scores and was the only return man with multiple punt return TDs (4).
Offensive lineman Donavan Davis was a unanimous pick helping lead a rushing attack that finished second in the conference with 153.3 yards per game and 15 touchdowns.
On the defensive side, three Vaqueros earned uananimous selections. Jordan Tagaloa clogged up the middle all season long, going for two sacks and two tackles for a loss on the defensive line. Inside linebacker Tyler Haughney recorded the third-most tackles (34) on the team while forcing two fumbles. Outside linebacker Kai Singleton was credited with 17 tackles, a tackle for a loss, a fumble forced and one recovered.
Jorge Figueroa was very reliable at place kicker, converting 11-of-15 field goal attempts, including a 46-yarder and two go-ahead fourth quarter field goals. He was also 41-for-43 on extra points. The former Las Cruces High School player heads into the Winter Festi-Bowl one field goal shy of the program’s all-time single-season record.
Runningback Jerry Martin has the most rushing yards (642) of any Vaquero since 2017. He rounds SBCC’s first team honorees after averaging 5.3 yards per carry and finding the end zone three times.
SBCC also landed seven players on the APL Second Team: Alex Johnson (QB), Mekhi Norfleet (RB), Josiah Roa (OL), Jamari Cannon (CB), Jack Kilpatrick (S), Nate Miskella (P) and Xavier Bonds (KR).
Johnson took over at quarterback halfway through the regular season and showed a lot of growth over the final five games. The Bellevue, WA native threw for over 200 yards four times in five starts, totaling 12 touchdowns with just four interceptions. His efficient and steady play helped lead SBCC to a perfect November, a month in which he posted a 108 passer rating and had a 3-0 record as the starter.
Runningback Mekhi Norfleet was the team’s second-leading rusher (350 yds) and led SBCC with five rushing scores. Cornerback Jamari Cannon contributed in a lot of ways, recording an interception, three blocks, and a punt return touchdown.
Safety Jack Kilpatrick led the team in tackles (39), pass breakups (7) and forced fumbles (2). Punter Nate Miskella averaged 33.8 yards per punt, putting 32% of his punts inside the 20. Wide receiver Xavier Bonds earned second team recognition as a Kick Return Specialist, averaging 46.5 yards per kickoff return after taking two of four to the house.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.