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Player of the Decade: Vote for Northern Santa Barbara County's First Round
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Player of the Decade

Player of the Decade: Vote for Northern Santa Barbara County's First Round

The 16 nominees for the Central Coast Player of the Decade have been announced, with eight from Northern Santa Barbara County and eight from San Luis Obispo County.

Now that the sports staff at the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News has done the leg work to find the finalists, readers will take it from here. 

You will pick winners in a tournament style contest to determine the area's Player of the Decade. 

First, we have the eight nominees from Northern Santa Barbara County. The staff at the Santa Maria Times queried area coaches to find the finalists and then seeded the eight nominees. 

Lompoc's Toa Taua, with over 4,600 career rushing yards and 73 career touchdowns, is the No. 1 seed. Taua will go up against a familiar face in Fenton Will, who starred at lineback at St. Joseph while Taua was a running back with the Braves. The two schools were Los Padres League rivals at the time. 

Another former Lompoc running back, Lavon Coleman, is the No. 2 seed after compiling 44 rushing touchdowns and 3,577 yards during his days with the Braves. Coleman is matched up against No. 7 Gabe Prendergast of Santa Ynez. Prendergast recorded 127 career catches for 2,591 yards and 29 touchdowns. 

Former Righetti standout Caleb Thomas is the No. 3 seed. Thomas, who signed with Tulane after graduating in 2019, recorded 21 sacks in his final two seasons at Righetti while also playing tight end and offensive guard. Thomas was named the 2018 All-Area MVP. He's going up against the 2017 All-Area MVP Blake Truhitte, who is the No. 6 seed. Truhitte started at quarterback for two seasons with the Saints, throwing for 3,617 yards and 36 touchdowns. He also rushed for 39 touchdowns in his career. 

The No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup features two former Los Padres League stars. The No. 4 seed is Lompoc High grad Ainuu Taua, the 2013 All-Area MVP, who went on to play at UCLA. Taua, a strong and quick interior defensive lineman, scored eight total touchdowns while also recording 130 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss and 21 sacks for the Braves.

McCoy, the No. 5 seed, did a little bit of everything for the Pirates, but broke out as a quarterback in his final season at Santa Ynez. During his career, McCoy threw for more than 2,500 yards, rushed for more than 1,000 and racked up over 500 receiving yards while also handling punting, kicking and returning duties for the Pirates. He was also a shutdown corner, picking off 11 passes in his career.

Voting will be open for a week before moving onto the next round. Vote at santamariatimes.com; lompocrecord.com and syvnews.com.

Complete stats can be found below. 

Northern Santa Barbara County Player of the Decade matchups

No 1. Toa Taua, Lompoc RB/LB: (2014-17) vs. No. 8 Fenton Will, St. Joseph LB (2014-16)

Taua's career stats: 501 carries, 4,612 yards, 73 TDs; 13 catches, 151 yards, 1 TD; 193 total tackles (138 solo), 16 TFLs; 8.5 sacks; 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries, 5 forced fumbles. 

Will's career stats: 128 solo tackles, 138 assists, 266 total tackles in 32 varsity games with 10.5 sacks.

Player of the Decade: No. 1 Toa Taua vs. vs. No. 8 Fenton Will

You voted:

No. 2. Lavon Coleman, Lompoc RB (2010-13) vs. No. 7 Gabe Prendergast, Santa Ynez WR/DB (2015-18)

Coleman's career stats: 492 carries, 3,577 yards, 44 TDs; 8 catches, 111 yards; 4,066 all-purpose yards; 10 tackles; 1 sack; 1 INT; 48 total TDs.

Prendergast's career stats: 37 carries, 508 yards, 5 TDs; 127 catches, 2,591 yards, 29 TDs; 3,650 all-purpose yards; 113 total tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 2 sacks; 9 INTs, 31 pass breakups, forced fumble.

Player of the Decade: No. 2 Lavon Coleman vs. No. 7 Gabe Prendergast

You voted:

No. 3. Caleb Thomas, Righetti TE/DL/OL: (2015-18) vs. No. 6 Blake Truhitte, Santa Maria QB/DB (2016-17)

Thomas' career stats: 103 total tackles (86 solo), 21 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, INT; 2018 All-Area MVP. 

Truhitte's career stats: 242 for 393 passing, 3,617 yards, 36 TDs, 19 INTs; 336 carries, 2,822 yards, 39 TDs rushing, 6,439 total yards accounted for and 75 TDs; 49 total tackles, 1 sack; 30 punts, 994 yards.

Player of the Decade: No. 3 Caleb Thomas vs. No. 6 Blake Truhitte

You voted:

No. 4. Ainuu Taua, Lompoc DL/TE (2011-14) vs. No. 5 Mike McCoy, Santa Ynez QB/DB/WR/RB/K (2013-16) 

Taua's career stats: 6 carries, 41 yards, 2 TDs; 14 catches, 190 yards, 6 TDs; 130 total tackles (80 solo), 9 TFLs, 21 sacks for 91 yards; 1 INT, 3 fumble recoveries, 4 forced fumbles; 9 total TDs.

McCoy's career stats: 141 for 251 passing for 2,524 yards, 23 TDs, 14 INTs; 123 carries, 1,091 yards, 13 TDs rushing; 33 catches, 510 yards, 5 TDs; 2,488 all-purpose yards; 90 career tackles (56 solo), 5 TFLs; 11 INTs, 21 pass breakups, 205 INT return yards; 103 kickoffs for 4,071 yards, 23 TBs; 90 punts, 2,998 yards, 18 inside 20; 32 kickoff returns 682 yards, TD; 21 TDs scored, 108 kick points; 9 for 11 on field goals, long of 48; 81 for 85 on PATs.

Player of the Decade: No. 4 Ainuu Taua vs. No. 5 Mike McCoy

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