Quick Take:

In this week’s high school sports roundup, Harbor High tops rival Santa Cruz High in a battle of league unbeatens, plus scores and upcoming schedule for Santa Cruz County football teams, tennis, water polo and girls flag football action and an update on Aptos High alum Trent Dilfer.

Editor’s note: Welcome to Lookout’s high school sports coverage. Our coverage is made possible by our members. Please become a member here today. Thomas Frey, an alum of Cabrillo College who has covered high school sports locally, will lead our coverage. His column — rounding up the week and looking forward to the next — will run each Monday. He’ll also profile an athlete of the month. We welcome your input — email thomas@lookoutlocal.com and news@lookoutlocal.com (with high school sports in the subject line).

Harbor High School volleyball hosted Santa Cruz High School on Thursday in a matchup of top squads in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League. The squads have split the matchups each of the past two seasons and on Thursday, both squads brought out their A games and Harbor took the match 3-0.

Maren O’Farrell dominated for the Pirates, serving up a pair of aces, assists on 22 kills and digging up 17 Cardinal shot attempts. Fellow junior Isla Johnson was the recipient of many of those assists, recording 14 kills and completing a double-double by having 11 digs.

Senior libero Gwen Grigsby executed her job efficiently by doing a little bit of everything. She had 4 assists, 15 digs and 2 aces in the 25-16, 25-21, 25-18 victory. The tough gauntlet continues for the Pirates, as they take on Mount Madonna School this week before beginning the second round of SCCAL play on Oct. 3 against Soquel High School, a squad they battled with in a five-set victory.

“Harbor executed well on Thursday as we were focused and playing in the moment,” said Pirates coach Matthew Schutz. “Santa Cruz serves tough and has a deep team with lots of quality attackers who can score points.”

Watsonville High School had an Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission Division undefeated matchup against Stevenson High School, with the schools going to four sets. The Wildcatz won the first set, but Stevenson took the next three 25-20, 25-17, 25-18. Junior Daisy Cornejo continued her great season, posting 9 kills, 18 digs and 2 blocks. Sophomore Sofia Murillo had 8 kills on 13 attempts and led the team in hitting.

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Watsonville High School 49, Santa Cruz High School 0

Watsonville moves to 2-3 after taking down the Cardinals in Santa Cruz. It’s the first time the Wildcatz have beaten Santa Cruz High since 2019.

The ‘Catz saw a lot of sophomores contribute as running back Abraham Martinez had a rushing touchdown and defensive back Mathew Silva returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown.

Watsonville High's Adam Ayon (44) in action earlier this season.
Watsonville High’s Adam Ayon (44) in action earlier this season. Credit: John Hefti / Lookout Santa Cruz

Another sophomore, Tino Razo, threw a touchdown pass to junior Patrick Miller-Brown and junior running back Alex Atevalo had two rushing scores.

“It was great to have so many players involved in the offense, it’s designed that way,” said Watsonville coach Marcus Northcutt. “It was even better to get a defensive score.”

Next up for Watsonville: Hosts Scotts Valley High School (3-1) on Oct. 6.
Next up for Santa Cruz: Hosts Seaside (3-1) on Friday.

Salinas High School 27, Soquel High School 0

The Knights hosted one of the top teams in the Central Coast Section in a nonleague game and fell to 2-2 in being blanked by the Cowboys. The Knights return to league play next week against another tough team, the Dores of Monterey High School.

Soquel quarterback Sam Whelan (#12) hands the ball off to Soquel running back Cruz Ferris (#5)
Soquel’s Cruz Ferris (5) takes a handoff from quarterback Sam Whelan (12) earlier this season. Credit: John Hefti / Lookout Santa Cruz

Next up for Soquel: Hosts Monterey High School (4-0) on Friday.

North Monterey County High School 26, St. Francis High School 0

The Sharks fall to 2-3 after heading down to Castroville to take on the Condors.

Next up for St. Francis: At Scotts Valley High School (3-1) on Saturday.

Seaside High School 41, Monte Vista Christian School 27

The Mustangs held a lead deep into the third quarter before falling to Seaside. Junior quarterback Dominic Pierini now has 16 touchdown passes through five games for the 3-2 Mustangs after a 422-yard, three-touchdown performance.

Junior wide receiver Nico Downie caught 9 passes for 141 yards and a score. Senior Aidan Johnson had a touchdown reception. Senior wideout Connor Pallott also had 7 catches for 157 yards and a receiving touchdown. Pallott also had a rushing score. Junior linebacker Max Torres led the team in tackles and junior Gunner Sorensen had an interception.

“While I’m disappointed in the result, I’m not disappointed in our players. I’ll take our guys over anyone else, any day,” said coach Spencer Ferrari-Wood. “We scratched and clawed and battled till the end. Football is a funny shape and it doesn’t always bounce your way, and it just didn’t bounce our way enough tonight. We’ll work to minimize mistakes and penalties and try to get back on track next week against a hot North Monterey County team.”

Next up for Monte Vista Christian: At North Monterey County High School (2-3) on Friday.

Pajaro Valley High School 18, San Lorenzo Valley High School 7

After dropping their first four games to open the season, the Grizzlies scored their first victory under first-year coach Casey Neligh. The Cougars dropped to 2-3.

Next up for Pajaro Valley: At Gonzales High School (2-3) on Oct. 6.
Next up for San Lorenzo Valley: At Stevenson High School (2-2) on Saturday.

Gonzales High School 42, Harbor High School 14

The Pirates lost a second consecutive game after winning their first three.

Next up for Harbor: At Greenfield High School (3-1) on Friday.

Bye weeks: Scotts Valley High School and Aptos High School

Next up for Aptos (1-3): Hosts Everett Alvarez High School (2-3) on Friday.
Next up for Scotts Valley (3-1): Hosts St. Francis High School (2-3) on Saturday.

Girls tennis

Last season’s co-champions, Aptos High School and Scotts Valley High School, met on the tennis court Thursday and it came down to the wire, with the Mariners winning 4-3 on the road.

For the Mariners, Tiana Smith and Aviana Andrews won singles matchup. Isabella and Natalia Calderon and Natalie Victory and Neci Hoethner put the contest away in doubles play.

For the Falcons, senior Stella Cheney and sophomore Sofia Niklaus won in singles action. Seniors Maya Bensen and Samantha Warner took the Falcons’ lone doubles victory.

That was Scotts Valley’s second 4-3 game of the week, after topping Santa Cruz High School on Tuesday. Sophomore Aila Papadopoulos, Niklaus and Warner all won singles matches while Bensen and junior Erin Szymanski won doubles matches for the Falcons.

Francesca Garces won a singles match for the Cardinals and the combos of Camille Lambert-Maddie McGrath and sophomores Maya Wexler-Riya Kuriakose won doubles play.

Boys water polo

Santa Cruz High School leads the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League with a 2-0 league record after topping San Lorenzo Valley High School 22-1 on Tuesday and Aptos High School 15-1 on Thursday.

Against SLV, seniors Eli Hunter had 3 steals and Levi Mulder had 2 assists. Juniors Pakalani Saxton-Vaka and Gio Marini each had 2 assists as did sophomore Nikolaus Kay.

Two days later against Aptos, Kay had 3 steals and Marini had 3 steals and 2 assists while sophomores Tate Wilson had 3 assists and Hayden Johnson had 5 steals.

Aptos sits at 1-1 in league play after the loss to Santa Cruz High and a 14-9 win over Harbor High. For the Mariners, first-year player Gabriel Suarez-Abraham and sophomore Caden Yates each had 5 goals against Harbor. Twin brother Rafael Suarez-Abraham had 10 saves while allowing just 2 goals in the two quarters he played.

Soquel High School is 1-0 in league play after a 21-1 victory over Harbor. Junior Malloy Weins had 4 goals and senior Cash Wolfe had 6 goals.

Girls water polo

Santa Cruz High School sits atop the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League with a 2-0 record after taking down San Lorenzo Valley High School 22-3 on Tuesday and Aptos High School by a score of 5-4 on Friday.

In Tuesday’s victory, junior Giulia D’Souza paced the Cardinals with 6 goals. She added another goal in the win over Aptos. The Aptos game was close until the very end as senior Zoe Ann Watson had 2 goals and sophomores Violet Rubin and Savanah Summerville each put one into the back of the net as well.

Aptos had started the week with a 21-1 win over Harbor High School. Senior Fiona Carey led the way with 7 goals, and four sophomores — Madi Knudsen, Bellame Breen, Adelaide Friedley and Charlie Christie — combined for 10 goals, 5 assists and 6 steals.

A pair of first-year players in Rylie Knudsen and Mary Suarez-Abraham were also major contributors.

In the close loss against Santa Cruz High School, Friedley, Breen, Madi Knudsen and junior Scarlet Gleitsman each scored goals for the Mariners.

Soquel High School is 1-0 in league play after beating Harbor 18-1 on Thursday. Sophomore Natalie Salerno paced the Knights with 5 goals while recording 3 assists. Seniors Leah Murphy, Summer Stelck and Kayla Matthies each had at least 2 goals.

For Harbor, junior Abigail Higgins had 2 steals and a goal, “an amazing past half-pool shot,” according to coach Regan Eymann. Senior goalkeeper Simone Stromberg recorded 6 saves.

Girls flag football

Aptos High School and Harbor High School competed in the first Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League flag football game ever Saturday, and the Mariners came out with a 13-0 victory. Sophomore Areyl Reyes Mager scored the first touchdown on a 1-yard pass from junior quarterback Gabi Dow. The signal-caller tossed a second touchdown to freshman Valerie Hernandez and senior Angelique Nunez was credited with the extra point.


Former Aptos High School standout, Super Bowl champion quarterback and current University of Alabama-Birmingham coach Trent Dilfer led the Blazers into Athens, Georgia, to face No. 1 University of Georgia on Saturday. While UAB lost 49-21, Dilfer’s squad gave the two-time defending national champion Bulldogs a fight as the game was tied with 10 minutes left in the second quarter. The Blazers are 1-3 with a trip to Tulane University up next on the schedule.

This week in history

On Sept. 25, 2012, Alex Waggoner of Santa Cruz High School water polo tied a school record by scoring 9 goals in a game against Carmel High School. The senior was named an All-Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division selection and had eight games that season in which he scored at least 5 goals before going on to play at Claremont McKenna College.

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Follow Thomas Frey on: Twitter. Thomas comes to Lookout with eight years of high school sports reporting in California under his belt.Covering sports in Santa Cruz County has been a dream of his since...