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Player of the Decade: Santa Ynez' Mike McCoy took versatility to an extreme level
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Player of the Decade

Player of the Decade: Santa Ynez' Mike McCoy took versatility to an extreme level

Football players can put up some staggering statistics at the high school level.

Often times a star running back also doubles as his team's top linebacker. A top receiver commonly stars as his team's top defensive back. 

Sometimes a two-way player also contributes as a special teamer, handling punts or kicks, occasionally.

Then there's Mike McCoy, whose versatility is truly unmatched. 

McCoy's career statistics at Santa Ynez are hard to fathom. He threw for over 2,500 yards and 23 touchdowns as a quarterback. He also accumulated over 1,000 career rushing yards with 13 career touchdowns. (He has three touchdown runs over 95 yards).

McCoy also amassed more than 500 receiving yards and five touchdown catches.

Let's keep going.

On defense, McCoy recorded 87 total tackles in 33 career varsity games. He also intercepted 11 passes.

Not bad. McCoy, who graduated in 2017, wasn't just a two-way player, he was a quarterback who played both ways consistently and impacted the game on both sides of the ball.

But we're not done yet.

McCoy was his team's kicker as well, booting 103 kickoffs in two seasons with 23 touchbacks. He also punted 90 times for 3,000 yards, pinning 18 kicks inside the 20-yard line.

McCoy didn't just handle kickoffs, he was also a kick returner. He compiled 682 kick return yards with a kick return touchdown. He also returned a fumble for a touchdown and another touchdown on an interception return. 

For his career, McCoy was good on 81 of 85 point-after tries and went 9 for 11 on field goals with a long of 48. He accumulated 108 total kick points in his career.

To recap, McCoy accounted for touchdowns in six different ways, throwing 23 touchdown passes, rushing for 13, receiving five, returning one for a touchdown on an interception and one more on a fumble and another on a kick return. He scored 21 touchdowns on his own and threw for 23 more while also intercepting 11 passes while kicking for 108 points. 

"One of the most versatile players I think the Central Coast has ever seen," his former coach Josh McClurg said of McCoy. "Lock-down corner, dual-threat QB, kicker, punter, kick returner and was a great wide receiver."

McCoy is the 15th finalist for the Times' Player of the Decade. The list of finalists was compiled by the sports staff at the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News, which polled area coaches. McCoy led the Pirates to an 8-2 record as a senior, though they weren't selected for the CIF-SS playoffs.

McCoy's numbers are clearly different, but to see his impact you'd need to see his style of play. During his senior season in 2016, in which McCoy took over the quarterback position after contributing in his various other roles in his first two varsity seasons, he brought an electrifying ability to extend plays and make things happen out of nothing. 

"Mike had tremendous work ethic and I think he made every opposing coach create a 'McCoy Drill' when they had to game plan against him due to his ability to scramble and improve broken plays," McClurg says. "He was really special when a pass play broke down because he could then use his running ability.

"Dude was special. When you had him and (receiver Gabe) Prendergast on the field together and it was 3rd and 31, we were still confident."

McClurg notes that McCoy's three 95-yard rushing touchdowns in his career never matched the school record for longest scoring run.

"My younger brother Jeff has the school record at 96 yards and Mike was always trying to beat it," McClurg recalls. 

Though McCoy had never really mastered the QB position in his first two varsity seasons, McClurg had no doubt he'd find his place in that role as a senior. After all, "he won the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition in the fourth grade, for the entire nation," McClurg said.

After graduating from Santa Ynez, McCoy initially attended Santa Barbara City College but spent last year at Hancock College.

McCoy joins the previous nominees, including his former teammate Prendergast. The other finalists are Paso Robles' Bailey Gaither; Mission Prep's Patrick Laird; Righetti grad Caleb Thomas; Arroyo Grande's Garrett Owens, 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 and former Santa Maria quarterback Blake Truhitte.

Once all 16 finalists have been announced, readers will have the opportunity to vote for Central Coast Player of the Decade after winners are chosen from Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County. 

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