Garrett Owens was a solid offensive player during his days at Arroyo Grande High.
He racked up a respectable 371 yards rushing and four touchdowns in his career. He also caught 90 passes for 1,363 yards and 12 more touchdowns.
Owens was also a good defensive player.
The sports staff at the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News is looking for the top football player from Northern Santa…
In his final two varsity seasons, Owens had 161 total tackles (149 solo) with 10 interceptions.
That's a really good high school career, right?
Well, Owens' best position wasn't running back or receiver or defensive back.
Owens was also his team's starting placekicker. In fact, Owens is one of the best kickers the area has ever seen.
In addition to his offensive and defensive duties, Owens also handled kickoffs, punts, extra points and field goals for the Eagles. He also returned kicks and punts.
Area athletes have been pulling in scholarship offers to continue their football careers at the next level.
He rarely, if ever, left the field.
Owens is the 11th nominee for the Times' Player of the Decade award. The sports staff of the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News has polled current and former area football coaches to determine the nominees for Player of the Decade.
Owens had 134 touchbacks on 174 of his kickoffs (netting over 10,800 yards on kicks). He also averaged over 35 yards on 61 career punts. Owens went 23 for 36 on field goal tries, booting a long of 57 yards. He also went 118 for 124 on point-after-tries.
Owens was so adept at everything he did, he was named the PAC 7 League's co-MVP in 2011 after helping the Eagles to a 13-1 season and their first CIF championship since 1998.
The Eagles went 31-8 during Owens' three seasons on the varsity level. To see how he impacted the game, look no further than his performance in the CIF Southern Section playoffs in 2011.
In a first-round game against Dos Pueblos, Owens intercepted two passes and caught seven from quarterback Brent VanderVeen for 117 yards and a touchdown, all the while booming six touchbacks into the end zone. He also had seven tackles and five punt returns for 40 yards. The lone blemish was him going 5-for-6 on PATs.
The Eagles won 41-6. They would go on to win the CIF Southern Section Western Division title that year.
“All the hard work we do on the practice field — it really pays off in the game,” Owens said after that 2011 playoff game. “Our team really came out tough tonight, everything we put in to practice showed.”
Owens' coach during his AGHS days was Tom Goossen, who had this to say after Owens ignited the playoff win over Dos Pueblos: “What can you say about one of the greatest athletes to ever come through this school?”
In the 42-14 thrashing of Culver City in the 2011 title game, Owens caught a 76-yard touchdown pass (finishing with four grabs for 119 yards), carried the ball three times for 13 yards, made 13 tackles, broke up a pair of passes, booted five touchbacks on seven kickoffs with five punts for 156 yards while also going 6-fot-6 on PAT tries.
He also played soccer, track and basketball at AGHS.
Owens signed to kick for Oregon State in 2012, joined by his high school teammates VanderVeen and Garrett Weinreich.
Owens earned the starting job there as a freshman and held that position for about three years. Owens made 11 of his 13 field goal tries as a freshman at OSU in 2014.
The 5-foot-9, 182-pounder played in 30 games at Oregon State overall, connecting on 32 of his 45 career field goal attempts. He had a long of 50 in Corvallis. He also hit on 77 of his point-after-tries.
He transferred to Iowa State for the 2017 season, where he spent his final collegiate campaign. As a Cyclone, Owens was good on 17 of his 22 field goal tries with a long of 45. He also made 45 PATs that season.
Owens tried out for some NFL teams before calling it a career in 2018.
The remaining Player of the Decade nominees, chosen from Northern Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, will be released in the coming weeks. Owens joins the previous nominees, including Arroyo Grande's Seth Jacobs and Bradley Mickey; Lompoc's Toa Taua, Ainuu Taua and Lavon Coleman; St. Joseph linebacker Fenton Will; Nipomo receiver Nick Kimball and quarterback Matt Albright; former Santa Maria quarterback Blake Truhitte and former Santa Ynez receiver Gabe Prendergast.
Once all nominees have been announced, readers will have the opportunity to vote for Player of the Decade.
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