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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Football

Adrian Soracco, Jack Deardorff, Jeremiah Phillips Lead All-South Coast Football Team

Bishop Diego running back, Cate QB, Santa Barbara defensive end name MVPs of 28-player squad

Adrian Soracco and Jack Deardorff. Click to view larger
Adrian Soracco, Bishop Diego junior running back, left, and Cate quarterback Jack Deardorff are the Offensive MVPs. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

The take-charge approach of Bishop Diego running back Adrian Soracco and Cate quarterback Jack Deardorff not only made it hard for defenses to contain them, it energized their football teams to play harder.

The athleticism of defensive end Jeremiah Phillips made him a force to be reckoned with for the Santa Barbara High Dons.

The impact these three players made on the field has earned them Most Valuable Player honors on the 2018 Noozhawk All-South Coast Football Team.

Soracco and Deardorff are the Offensive co-MVPs, while Phillips is the Defensive MVP of an all-star team selected by Noozhawk Sports from the South Coast area schools that play football: Santa Barbara, San Marcos, Dos Pueblos, Bishop Diego, Carpinteria, Cate and Laguna Blanca.

The team consists of 28 players. They’ll be presented at the Monday, Jan. 7 Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.

OFFENSIVE Co-MVPs

The dynamic Deardorff ran the show for the 8-man Cate football team that went 11-1 and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinals.

The senior was named the division’s Offensive Player of the Year. He accounted for 36 total touchdowns for the high-powered Rams’ attack, 20 rushing and 16 passing. He rushed for 951 yards, passed for 737 yards, and had just two interceptions.

His improvisation skills were incredible as he often turned plays that looked like sure losses of yardage into big gainers.

“Jack will be remembered for a long time for his play on the Mesa,” Cate assistant coach Dave Soto said. “His success is truly a testament to his hard work and competitive fire.

“He certainly has natural speed and agility, but he really took the time to hone in on all of that on his own. He's a natural leader, and we will certainly miss him.”

Head coach Ben Soto marvels at Deardorff’s all-around athletic ability.

“Near impossible here at Cate to find an athlete who excels in whatever sport he is partaking in,” Soto said of the three-sport (football, soccer and baseball) standout. “His selections to All-CIF teams are just part of what makes this young man very special.

“As good as he has been on the field,  Jack is just as impressive off the field. A leader by example, he is a tour guide on campus, representing the school to visiting families. He is a humble young man who is blessed with athletic talent, but at the same time, worked very hard on his technique to be the best that he could be.

"A smart, coachable young man who has set the bar high for quarterbacks to follow.”

The powerful Soracco punished tacklers when he carried the ball.

Bishop Diego played a brutally tough schedule. The Cardinals were in CIF Division 4, and competed in the football-only Camino League with Grace Brethren, Camarillo, Moorpark and Thousand Oaks.

Soracco rushed for 1,151 yards (the only 1,000-yard rusher in the area) in nine games, averaging 7.1 yards per carry, and scored 12 touchdowns. 

In the regular-season finale at Thousand Oaks, the junior stepped up big time, rushing for 209 yards and scoring four TDs, including the game-winner in overtime to put Bishop into the playoffs.

In the first-round playoff game against Saugus, he ran for 304 yards.

“Adrian sets the tone for our team, particularly offensively, with his aggressive running style and toughness,” Bishop coach Tom Crawford said. “His competitiveness and intensity are contagious and when he is on fire, it raises the level of play of all those around him.

“Even when hurting or limited for portions of the year, he had the ability to push through because of his overwhelming drive to win games. A true competitor in every sense of the word.”

DEFENSIVE MVP

Phillips started out as a running back, but found a home at defensive end.

Jeremiah Phillips Click to view larger
Jeremiah Phillips, Santa Barbara High senior defensive end, is the Defensive MVP. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

His speed and quickness made him tough to keep out of the backfield. He had 17 sacks during his senior season and numerous tackles for loss.

The Channel League coaches recognized him as Co-Defensive Player of the Year, and Santa Barbara High honored him as its Defensive MVP.

“Being named All-South Coast Defensive MVP is a tremendous honor and a great way to end a stellar high school career,” said Dons coach JT Stone of Phillips. “There are countless people who love Jeremiah and are happy too see him succeed in all phases of his life. He's a product of the Eastside.”

Stone credited Phillips for all the work he’s done to make positive changes in his life.

“As a school, we are proud of Jeremiah's efforts in the classroom and on the field,” he said. “He has worked his butt off to make changes in his life that will allow him opportunities to further his education through the game of football. Jeremiah's has tremendous potential to be an outstanding college football player at any level, given an opportunity.”

ALL-SOUTH COAST FOOTBALL TEAM

Defensive MVP: Jeremiah Phillips, Sr., Santa Barbara, DE

Offensive co-MVP: Jack Deardorff, Sr., Cate, QB; Adrian Soracco, Jr., Bishop Diego, RB

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Frankie Gamberdella, Santa Barbara, Sr. — His overall athletic ability made him a dangerous double threat. Late in the season before suffering an injury, he made plays as a wide receiver.

Running Backs

Tommy Schaeffer, San Marcos, Sr. — The durable, reliable, hard-nosed Schaeffer drew the attention of every opposing defensive coordinator. With that, he still rushed for 721 yards and five scores.

Drew Anastasio, Cate, Sr. — A tremendous leader for the Rams, he did whatever it took to help the team be successful. He rushed for 766 yards and 18 TDs and caught four receiving touchdowns.

Eric Lopez, Dos Pueblos, Sr. — With his high-knee style of running, Lopez was tough to bring down.  He gained 788 yards on 123 carries (6.4 average) and scored 10 touchdowns.

Wide Receivers

Brady Sturdivan, Carpinteria, Sr. — No one was better at winning jump balls than Sturdivan. His size, athleticism and speed made him a great go-to guy for the quarterback.

Dakota Hill, Santa Barbara, Jr. — Height, speed and good hands made him a big-play guy for the Dons.

Josh Brown, San Marcos, Jr. — A fearless receiver who made big plays for the Royals.

Isaia Morones, Bishop Diego, Sr.— A prime target for the Cardinals; tough to bring down after a reception.

Tight End

Mark Vehslage, Bishop Diego, Sr. — A big, reliable passing target at 6-3, 245 pounds and a good blocker.

Kicker

Jesse Mollkoy, Dos Pueblos, Sr. — Made 27 of 28 extra points and kicked seven field goals, with a long of 47 yards; recorded 19 touchbacks on kickoffs.

Punter

Jack Luckhurst, Bishop Diego, Sr. — Averaged 36.5 yards per punt, with a long of 60, and put 11 punts inside the opponents’ 20.

Line

Angel Flores, Dos Pueblos, Sr. — Dominant in the down block, he paved the way for DP’s ground-oriented attack.

Sunny Graybill, Dos Pueblos, Sr. — Smarts, great work ethic and durability made him a solid blocker.

Bobby Estrada, Santa Barbara, Sr. — The leader of the O-line for the Dons.

Toby Pouso’o, Bishop Diego Soph. — A strong, smart player, he called the adjustments on the line as the team’s center.

DEFENSE

Line
Jordon Tagaloa, Bishop Diego, Soph. — You could usually find the tackle at the bottom of the pile.

Noah Wood, Santa Barbara, Soph. — Made an immediate impact as a solid run stopper.

Jackson Stetler, Dos Pueblos, Sr. — Developed into a force as season progressed.

Luke Calloway, Carpinteria, Sr. — A fierce rusher at defensive end.

Linebacker

Jafet Gomez, San Marcos, Sr. — Leader on the defense, made a team-best 84 total tackles, including 64 solo.

Matt Bribiesca, Bishop Diego, Jr. — The next big thing at linebacker for the Cardinals.

Johnny Valencia, Santa Barbara, Jr. — Made several big hits and plays for the Dons.

Callum Casey, Cate, Jr. — Had a breakout season with 18 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and a pick-6.

Defensive Backs

Chris Ramirez, Carpinteria, Sr. — A fierce competitor, terrific tackler and fundamentally sound.

Dillon Roberts, Dos Pueblos, Sr. — His football IQ and savvy made him incredibly valuable; made 52 total tackles and recovered two fumbles.

Jacob Forney, Santa Barbara, Sr. — A big hitter, played with great passion, a leader on the team.

Diego Cruz, Dos Pueblos, Sr. — Emotional leader on the field, had knack for being in the right place at the right time.

Special Teams

Conner Lee, Dos Pueblos, Jr. — Provided a spark with his punt and kickoff returns. He had 457 yards in return yardage

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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