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Player of the Decade: Toa Taua, Lavon Coleman, Caleb Thomas and Mike McCoy advance to regional semifinals
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Player of the Decade

Player of the Decade: Toa Taua, Lavon Coleman, Caleb Thomas and Mike McCoy advance to regional semifinals

The Northern Santa Barbara County semifinals are set.

There was one minor upset in the first round as the rest went to chalk.

The Santa Maria Times is conducting its first-ever Player of the Decade poll and the first-round matchups were released last week. The sports staff at the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News polled area coaches to determine a list of nominees from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. 

Lompoc High players earned three of the eight Northern Santa Barbara County spots and two of those players have advanced to the next round.

Toa Taua and Lavon Coleman, two legendary running backs at Lompoc High, both won their first-round contests. 

Ainuu Taua, a former LHS defensive lineman and the No. 4 seed, was upset by Santa Ynez' Mike McCoy the No. 5 seed.  

Toa Taua was the No. 1 seed for Northern Santa Barbara County. Taua edged the No. 8 seed Fenton Will, a former St. Joseph High linebacker, 382-281 to advance. 

Lavon Coleman, who starred with the Braves before playing running back at the University of Washington, also eased into the next round with a 260-151 win over Santa Ynez graduate Gabe Prendergast. 

Toa Taua and Coleman will both have their hands full in the next round.

Taua will face McCoy, who received the second-most votes of all the contenders in the opening round with 413. McCoy edged Ainuu Taua 413-316. 

Coleman is set to face off against Caleb Thomas, a former Righetti lineman who is now at Tulane. Thomas cruised past his first-round opponent, former Santa Maria quarterback Blake Truhitte, the No. 6 seed, 448-168. Thomas, the No. 3 seed, received the most votes out of all first-round competitors. 

Before his second coaching stint with the St. Joseph girls, Torres had a successful run with the St. Joseph boys, guiding the Knights to two sectional divisional championships. He coached the Knights for 27 combined seasons in both boys and girls basketball and won a total of seven CIF Southern Section championships (five in girls and two in boys) and two CIF state titles in girls basketball.

Eight nominees were chosen from each Northern Santa Barbara County and all of San Luis Obispo County. The SLO County first-round winners will be announced Thursday at 5 p.m. as that contest is still live.

The eventual champion from each area will square off to determine the Central Coast Player of the Decade.

The Northern Santa Barbara County matchups will go live online Wednesday. Vote at santamariatimes.com; lompocrecord.com and syvnews.com. The votes from each site will be combined to determine the winners.

Northern Santa Barbara County semifinals:

No. 1 Toa Taua vs. No. 5 Mike McCoy

No. 2 Lavon Coleman vs. No. 3 Caleb Thomas

Player of the Decade: We're looking for the top player of the last 10 seasons

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 Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County over the last 10 seasons of high school ball.

See who our nominees are thus far.

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