Two long dry spells that were snapped on the football field during this past weekend became the topic of discussion at Monday’s Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table.
Santa Maria High football broke a 23-year streak of not winning playoff games with its 56-28 rout of Carpinteria in the Friday CIF Southern Section Division 12 playoff opener. Hancock College football secured its first outright conference championship since 1997 with its 29-24 victory over Citrus on Saturday.
And both teams had their praises sung by the attendees of the weekly luncheon at Giavanni’s Pizzeria in Orcutt.
Saints quarterback Blake Truhitte earned the Male Athlete of the Week honor after accumulating 363 total yards in the monumental 28-point win – which was SMHS’s first football playoff victory since the 1994 first round upset of Culver City.
“It was a good team victory,” Truhitte said. “Our offensive line played great, the receivers did what they needed to do – it was a great team win. This win is good for our school and our community. It feels good to be a part of something special.”
The reigning American Pacific League champion Bulldogs weren’t present at the Round Table, but the Female Athlete of the Week nod went to a star point guard who had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulldog Women’s basketball team in the 65-60 win over L.A. Harbor on Friday: Grace Rosa.
“It feels amazing. I’m honored to be chosen,” Rosa said. “It’s a different and new experience (for me).”
The Braves are usually next to last when getting honored at the weekly luncheon. But this time, Dick Barrett was first on the microphone.
He brought out two players per the request of head football coach Andrew Jones: Backup quarterback Declan Sparrow and reserve wide receiver Joe Schumer. Barrett said that while both are scout team players, the pair have been instrumental in helping prepare the Brave starters for their games during practices.
Barrett also congratulated both Hancock and Santa Maria on winning its games.
Athletic director Chad McKenzie not only spoke about the success of the Spartans’ football program, but shared how difficult it was to find a location for their next playoff game.
“We tried seven different areas before we settled on Pioneer Valley,” McKenzie said, who added that their playoff game against Faith Baptist is set for Saturday. The kickoff time is currently too be announced.
McKenzie had football players Aiden Heller and Alex Sutton on hand.
Athletic director Brian Wallace first delivered an update on the Los Padres League champion boys cross country team, whose season ended last Friday in the Los Angeles region.
“We had a great season, especially with our first league title,” Wallace said.
He then said his team jetted over to the first round playoff game and witnessed history being made in the rout of the Warriors. Saint football players Truhitte, Adrian Ayala and Jesus Joaquin represented their program at Giavanni’s.
The Knights had the deepest lineup at the Round Table, with eight athletes from cross country and football present.
Matt Wuchner of the cross country team brought out his six-deep lineup at Giavanni’s: Bryce Edens, Evan Sanchez and Grant Cena on the boys side, then Jenna Wellenkamp, Kaylee Dillard and Sequoia Chumpitaz from the girls side.
Next, longtime Knights supporter Debbie Wegemer spoke with exuberance about the football’s team’s thrilling 49-44 win over Harvard Westlake last Friday and had football players Isaac Yanez and Jacob Hernandez on hand.
Valley Christian Academy
The Lions football team saw its season come to an end against Hesperia Christian 44-26 last Friday. But athletic director and head football coach Pete Fortier sounded optimistic about the future of Lions football, with his underclassmen present at the luncheon.
Juniors Ethan McCoy and Andrew Sparlin were representing the unbeaten Coast Valley League champions. Freshman Greg Smith was also present.
Louie Quintana spoke on behalf of the Bulldogs’ cross country team. Quintana shared how Brianna Magana will be racing in Fresno in the state meet this weekend.
Cary Nerelli of the women’s basketball team then took the microphone and introduced his player Rosa. Nerelli then expressed his enthusiasm for the area teams that are still in the playoffs.
“The next couple of weekends are really exciting for everyone. It’s really neat to see so many local teams do so well in fall sports. Hancock is behind you in all these things,” Nerelli said.
Cabrillo, Righetti, Pioneer Valley and Santa Ynez were not present at Round Table. There will be no luncheon next week in observance of Thanksgiving.