Game changers in cleats, gloves and pads always become lauded in their community after lifting their team to the next round of the CIF football playoffs.
And these gold mines I’ve highlighted this week provided plenty of game changing moments on Friday – helping elevate their teams to the next round and keeping their respective communities happy.
Who stood out in their playoff victories? Here’s my list:
Dallas Canley, Lompoc football: The senior scored the first two touchdowns for the Braves – and ended his night with 105 yards on seven carries. Oh, Canley sat out the entire playoffs last year because of a season-ending injury.
The Lompoc football running attack: From Toa Taua providing the bruising runs to the offensive line countering Camarillo’s stunts up front, the Braves blistered the Scorpions with 354 rushing yards in the 42-17 victory.
Jelani Henderson, Lompoc football: He not only had eight tackles, but punished Camarillo’s Jesse Valenzuela on a crucial fourth-and-2 during the third quarter.
Shemar Savage, Lompoc football: Savage not only caught one touchdown pass to expand the LHS lead to 21-10, but added another in the fourth quarter to seal the LHS home win.
Blake Truhitte, Santa Maria football: The dynamic dual-threat quarterback combined for 363 yards and added this to his already long resume: A 99-yard kickoff return as the Saints celebrated their first playoff win since 1994.
The Saints’ offensive line: The big guys up front plowed the road and saw Santa Maria rack up 345 rushing yards and four touchdowns through its ground game in the 56-28 rout of Carpinteria.
Jayden Vargas, St. Joseph: The usually pass-happy Knights turned to their front five on the line and Vargas’ running to propel them past Harvard Westlake – and the senior Vargas rumbled to 200 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns in the 49-44 victory.
The Knights defense: Sure, St. Joseph surrendered 44 points at home, but the Knights had these stats too: Nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage and two sacks.
Darin Miller, Orcutt Academy: He’s kept the Spartans’ dream season alive with six combined touchdowns including four rushing in the 55-37 road win over Palos Verdes Chadwick.
Osa Omokaro, Hancock football: The linebacker collected 12 tackles, five stops behind the line of scrimmage, one sack and one forced fumble in the Bulldogs’ 29-24 home win over Citrus – a victory that secured AHC football’s first outright conference title since 1997.
Jalen Burgess, Hancock football: Burgess intercepted a pass and had one pass breakup in the conference title clinching victory.
Kris Dutra, Hancock football: Rare that I highlight coaches, but the 17-year head coach Dutra deserves recognition this week for this reason: He’s never guided the Bulldogs to an
conference run until now.