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Player of the Decade: Blake Truhitte put Santa Maria back on the map
Player of the Decade

Player of the Decade: Blake Truhitte put Santa Maria back on the map

In a lineup of the area's top football players of the past decade, Blake Truhitte will certainly stand out. 

That's because he never quite looked like a football player. He certainly didn't fit the prototype at quarterback. 

But that's what made his play so special. 

Truhitte, who graduated from Santa Maria High in 2018, was a 5-foot-7 quarterback. He is likely the most diminutive winner of the Times' All-Area MVP honor. He also took the Northern League MVP award, earned All-CIF co-MVP, was among the state's best in total offense and led his team to a CIF title game as a senior during the 2017 season. 

Many of our Player of the Decade nominees, of which Truhitte is one, went on to play major college football on scholarship. Truhitte, though, embodies high school football.

Just ask his former coach. 

"Blake was the ultimate high school football player," Saints coach Dan Ellington said. "What I mean by that is at 5-7, 135 pounds, if that, he was pound-for-pound the most unstoppable football player I have ever coached or coached against."

We are on a quest to find the Player of the Decade for 2010-2019. We will be publishing profiles on 10 nominees for the honor over the new few weeks. Then we'll ask you, our readers, to vote for the Player of the Decade. The first nominee up is Arroyo Grande's Seth Jacobs. He played quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end, safety and linebacker with the Eagles before eventually earning a starting linebacker spot at Oklahoma State. 

Truhitte passed for 2,348 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior. He rushed for 2,026 yards and 31 more touchdowns. In that senior season, when the Saints went 9-5 and hosted the CIF Southern Section Division 12 title game, Truhitte rushed for 100 or more yards 12 times. 

For his career, Truhitte passed for more than 3,600 yards, rushed for over 2,800 and accounted for 75 touchdowns. Santa Maria lost to Big Bear in a CIF title game held in December of 2017 at the Saints' Ralph Baldiviez Stadium, one of the most iconic playoff runs of the decade.

Ellington heaped high praise on his former quarterback when looking back on Truhitte's career, noting the player's toughness and intelligence.

"In the last decade I’ve coached or coached against some special players, like Ainuu (Taua), (Seth) Jacobs, (Lavon) Coleman, Toa (Taua), Logan Budd, Scott Cusack, (Mike) McCoy, and Nick Leyden," Ellington said. "I could keep going on, but these come to mind. Blake’s toughness, competitiveness and intelligence was at a level I’ve never seen in all my years of coaching."

In that epic 2017 season, Santa Maria was 2-4 at one point. The Saints then reeled off seven straight wins to make the CIF title game. Truhitte rushed for 232 yards and three touchdowns, while also throwing two touchdowns, in a 42-21 win over top-ranked Schurr in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.  

In the semifinals, Truhitte rushed for 184 yards and four scores, while going 10-for-15 for 166 yards and another touchdown passing, in a 35-14 win at South El Monte. Santa Maria lost the Division 12 title game to Big Bear 37-23 as Truhitte went 20-for-28 passing, 233 yards and an interception with 152 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

"Blake knew our offensive system as well, if not better, than most of my coaches," Ellington said. "It wasn’t by chance that our winning streak started when Blake started playing both ways at QB and free safety. Like I said at the beginning, Blake was the ultimate high school football player because he accomplished things that no other Santa Maria Saint in 128 years accomplished. And he did it with flair and excitement. He was a gamer.

"The biggest compliment I could give him is he did more with less and did it at the highest level. He put Santa Maria football back on the map."

Truhitte also made 37 tackles that senior year and broke up five passes while starting both ways.

As a junior in 2016, Truhitte passed for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns while also rushing for 796 yards and eight scores. 

As a nominee for Player of the Decade, Truhitte joins former Arroyo Grande and Oklahoma State standout Seth Jacobs and Lompoc grad Ainuu Taua, who played at UCLA. The nominees will continue before readers will then be able to vote for Player of the Decade. The Times staff polled area coaches and former players to compile the nominees.

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Related to this story

Nipomo's Nick Kimball is the seventh Player of the Decade nominee. The rest of the Player of the Decade nominees, from Northern Santa Barbara and South San Luis Obispo counties, will be released in the coming weeks. He joins the previous nominees, Arroyo Grande grads Bradley Mickey and Seth Jacobs, former Lompoc High standouts Lavon Coleman and Ainuu Taua, former Santa Maria quarterback Blake Truhitte and former Santa Ynez receiver Gabe Prendergast.

Once all the nominees have been announced, readers will have the opportunity to vote for Player of the Decade.

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