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Football

John Harris, Ashton Borgeson, Will Yamasaki Lead Noozhawk’s 2017 All-South Coast Football Team

Laguna Blanca's Shane Lopes honored as Coach of the Year as local high schools make strong showing on gridiron

Bishop Diego senior running back John Harris is the Offensive MVP on Noozhawk’s 2017 All-South Coast Football Team. Click to view larger
Bishop Diego senior running back John Harris is the Offensive MVP on Noozhawk’s 2017 All-South Coast Football Team. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

It was an incredible year for high school football in the Santa Barbara area.

Three teams advanced to CIF-Southern Section championship games and Bishop Diego came out victorious to capture its first CIF title in program history.

And the Cardinals weren’t done. They became the first team in Santa Barbara County to win a SoCal Regional Bowl Game and a state championship.

Dos Pueblos came inches short of winning the CIF-SS Division 10 final; the Chargers won a program-record 12 straight games and had defense that forced an impressive 44 turnovers and shut down a pair of 2,000-yard rushers during the playoffs.

Laguna Blanca made history by reaching the CIF Final in 8-man football for the first time.

The fantastic seasons by those teams is reflected in the player and coach awards on the Noozhawk 2017 All-South Coast Football Team.

The Offensive MVP is Bishop Diego senior running back John Harris. He ran for 2,263 yards on 207 carries (a 10.9-yard average) and scored a Santa Barbara County record 34 rushing touchdowns, breaking the mark of 31 by former Lompoc High star Napoleon Kaufman, who went on to star at the University of Washington and with the Oakland Raiders in the NFL.

Ashton Borgeson of Bishop Diego and Will Yamasaki of Dos Pueblos, both outstanding senior middle linebackers, share the Defensive MVP Award.

Shane Lopes, who guided Laguna Blanca to a CIF runner-up finish, is the Coach of the Year.

The team will be introduced and honored at Monday's Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry's Plaza Cafe.

Defensive Co-MVP: Ashton Borgeson, Bishop Diego

Bishop Diego senior linebacker Ashton Borgeson is the Defensive Co-MVP. Click to view larger
Bishop Diego senior linebacker Ashton Borgeson is the Defensive Co-MVP. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

The 5-10, 190-pound Borgeson was a standout for the Cardinals all season, but his impactful performance during the playoffs was a huge factor in Bishop Diego winning the CIF-SS, regional and state titles.

The senior linebacker recorded 121 solo tackles and had 186 total tackles, including 10 for losses, during the 16-game season.

“Ash was the motor for our defense and his hard-nosed physical play for four years now made him the natural leader of a defensive group that was relentless throughout the season but particularly in the post-season — which set the tone in several of our games,” Bishop coach Tom Crawford said.

Defensive Co-MVP: Will Yamasaki, Dos Pueblos

Yamasaki, a 6-foot, 190-pound middle linebacker, was the leader of a powerful Dos Pueblos defense that got its hands on the ball almost as much as the offense. In a tight game against Camarillo, he made a huge interception while playing with a cast on a broken hand to preserve a victory.

Dos Pueblos senior linebacker Will Yamasaki is the Defensive Co-MVP. Click to view larger
Dos Pueblos senior linebacker Will Yamasaki is the Defensive Co-MVP. (J.C. Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

The Channel League Defensive MVP dished out punishment as a fullback and back-up quarterback, too.

“Will was an unbelievable leader for us, not only as a senior but also when he was a junior,” Dos Pueblos coach Nate Mendoza said. “Will is all about holding his teammates to high standards and would never shy away from getting on a teammate for low effort and/or a lack of focus. He had the ultimate respect from all of his teammates, and it was evident that everyone was extremely confident in following his lead at all times.

“Will played with extreme tenacity and always delivered vicious blocks as our fullback and was phenomenal at shedding bigger offensive linemen to get to the ball carrier. His football IQ is as high as any football player I have coached in the past 10 seasons, which allowed him and his teammates to be in the correct position play after play.”

Offensive MVP: John Harris, Bishop Diego

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Harris had a phenomenal senior year for Bishop Diego. He played with a refuse-to-lose attitude and made big plays time after time.

Crawford marveled at the consistency and intensity that Harris and Borgeson brought to every practice and game. They set a tone for the entire team.

“Through their work ethic, encouragement and on-field attitude, they made sure everyone on this year’s team knew and committed to higher expectations for performance, and they were bent on seeing this team win a championship,” he said.

“Everyone sensed it, and with guys like John and Ash running on all cylinders, there was a team-wide sense of confidence and poise.”

Crawford was impressed how Harris always rose to the occasion when the challenge was the greatest.

“I truly think he is one of the most gifted players to ever come out of the South Coast, and he has the games, the statistics, the highlights and the championship performances to back that up,” he said.

Coach of Year: Shane Lopes, Laguna Blanca

Head coach Shane Lopes guided Laguna Blanca to its first CIF championship game. Click to view larger
Head coach Shane Lopes guided Laguna Blanca to its first CIF championship game. (J.C. Corliss / Noozhawk phto)

Lopes did a remarkable job of teaching and building up individual players and getting them to work together and believe they can be successful at Laguna Blanca.

The Owls went 8-3, with its losses coming against 8-man Division 1 teams Ánimo Jackie Robinson in Los Angeles and Cate during the regular season and second-seeded Lancaster Baptist in the Division 2 championship game in Lancaster.

Laguna traveled more than 200 miles and defeated fourth-seeded Desert Christian in the quarterfinals and upset No. 1 seed Hesperia Christian in the semifinals. In that semifinal game, seniors Aidan O’Donnell and Miles McGovern stopped Hesperia Christian’s talented quarterback on a fourth-down play inside the 10-yard line to secure the win.

All-South Coast Football Team Offense

OFFENSIVE LINE

Erick Nisich Dos Pueblos, Senior — The 6-foot-4, 275-pound tackle led a powerful offensive line that mowed down defensive fronts, enabling the Chargers to average 225 yards rushing. He was named the Offensive MVP in the Channel League.

Nathan Beveridge, Dos Pueblos, Senior — At 6-5, 285, Beveridge opened huge holes for the running backs on the right side.

David Torres, Carpinteria, Senior — The 6-foot, 230-pound center has been consistent performer throughout his career. He’s a three-year starter and two-time All-Frontier League first-team selection.

Adrian Guillen, Bishop Diego, Senior — The 5-11, 272-pound left guard blew open holes for the Bishop running backs.

Jacob Songer, Bishop Diego, Senior At 6-5, 270, he paved the way for many of John Harris’ touchdown runs.

BACKS

Jake Ramirez, Dos Pueblos, Senior — Had big year as a first-time varsity starting quarterback, passing for 1,832 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushing for 741 yards and 10 TDS, leading DP to the Channel League title and CIF Division 10 final.

Frankie Gamberdella, Santa Barbara, Junior — The area’s passing leader, completing 62 percent of this throws ;for 2,879 yards and 24 touchdowns, with only five interceptions.

Leo Vargas, Carpinteria, Senior A tough running back who played huge for the Warriors in Frontier League play and in the playoffs. He set a school record with 315 yards rushing in a game; named Frontier League Offensive MVP.

Erick Lopez, Dos Pueblos, Juniort The Chargers’ leading rusher with 889 yards, averaging 6.7 yards a carry. Ran for 153 yards in first-round CIF playoff game.

Evan McKeegan, Bishop Diego, Senior Outstanding lead blocker out of the backfield and a powerful runner. He averaged 7.1 yards a carry.

RECEIVERS

Cyrus Wallace, Dos Pueblos, Senior Despite missing the first five games to recover from an injury, the athletic wide receiver finished with a team-best 56 catches for more than 800 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Natani Drati, Santa Barbara, Senior —Blessed with height, speed, great hands, he caught 56 passes for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Isaiah Veal, Bishop Diego, Senior He used his sprinter’s speed to become a great target for Bishop’s quarterbacks. He caught five TD passes and gained nearly 400 yards on pass receptions during the postseason.

Mitch Heller, Bishop Diego, Senior Made his mark as an outstanding blocking tight end, which was key to Bishop’s success in running the football.

KICKER

Jack Luckhurst, Bishop Diego, Junior The top kick scorer in the area with 97 points. He was 79 of 82 on PATs and 6 of 9 on field goal attempts, with a long of 49. He’s also an outstanding punter; he had a 77-yard boot in a playoff game.

All-South Coast Football Team Defense

DEFENSIVE LINE

Justin Padilla, Dos Pueblos, Senior A fierce pass rusher, the 6-2, 210-pound defensive end had 62 total tackles, 31 solo, and 17 sacks. He also intercepted two passes and returned them for touchdowns.

Will Goodwin, Bishop Diego, Senior An athletic and solid performer for the Cardinals, made 57 solo tackles and had 33 assists at defensive end.

Jose Alvarado, Carpinteria, Senior At 5-9, 235, he was a run stopper at defensive tackle for the Warriors; never left the field as he also played on O-line.

Chris Jablonka, Bishop Diego, Senior Good instincts, athletic, consistently made plays at the line of scrimmage; had 50 total tackles.

Christopher Bennett, Cate, Senior The 6-4, 245 lineman was a leader on defense for the Rams.

LINEBACKERS

Henry Hepp, Santa Barbara, Senior — The 6-1, 220-pound middle linebacker was a tackling machine for the Dons, racking up 113 total tackles, including 49 solos.

Adrian Soracco, Bishop Diego, Sophomore A fierce competitor on the outside, he recorded 112 total tackles, including 61 solos. Also solid as a pass defender.

Anthony Myers, Dos Pueblos, Senior He covered a lot of ground on the outside and was a sure tackler; had 78 total tackles and two fumble recoveries.

Aidan O’Donnell, Laguna Blanca, Senior He played with a high motor and was a big hitter; helped the Owls reach their first CIF 8-man final.

BACKS

Michael Elbert, Dos Pueblos, Senior The free safety quarterbacked the secondary; he picked off five passes, recovered two fumbles and returned one 88 yards for a touchdown.

Daniel Arzate, Dos Pueblos, Senior He intercepted six passes and had seven deflections.

Dylan Streett, Bishop Diego, Senior — He led the area with eight interceptions, four of them coming in the playoffs, with two in the CIF-SS Division 6 title game.

David Gladish, Bishop Diego, Senior A big hitter and sure tackler at cornerback; he had 39 tackles and four interceptions.

Jacob Forney, Santa Barbara, Junior He had 48 total tackles, four interceptions and a blocked punt.

PUNTER

Andrew Aragon, San Marcos, Junior He consistently clocked good hang time on his punts.

 

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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