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Soquel High School advanced to the Central Coast Section football finals for the first time since 1987 after taking down Monterey High School 22-0. This was the second time these schools have met this season, and the Knights played well on both sides of the football.
On defense, Soquel (10-2) allowed just 74 yards and forced two turnovers, on interceptions by senior Braylon Noble and sophomore Django Daillak. Junior Tanner Trowbridge and seniors Cade Peterson, Malakai Ross-Graves and Justice Grauel-Tebong all got into the backfield to set drives back with sacks. The sack by Ross-Graves was for a safety.
Grauel-Tebong also made a big impact on offense, rushing for two touchdowns, including one to open the game. Up 8-0 in the second quarter, sophomore quarterback Sam Whelan found sophomore Hudson Summerrill for a 41-yard touchdown pass to make the game 15-0. In the fourth, Grauel-Tebong put the game away with his second score of the night.
Soquel, the second seed in Division II, will take on No. 8 seed Christopher High School of Gilroy (11-1) in the Division II finals at 7 p.m. Saturday at San Jose City College. This will be the first time Soquel and Christopher meet on the gridiron.
Scotts Valley High School also made the semifinals in Division III but fell to a very good Alisal High School team, 28-7. Junior running back Eli Velez continued his great season for the Falcons (10-2) and scored a rushing touchdown to tie up the game 7-7 in the third quarter. Salinas power Alisal then went on a tear, ripping off three touchdowns in the final 15 minutes.
Boys water polo
Soquel High School faced off against Garces Memorial High School on Tuesday in the California Interscholastic Federation NorCal Division III water polo playoffs and fell 12-10. Senior Malloy Wiens had four goals and senior Hayes Pizzica had three.
Wiens ended the season with 105 goals and 40 steals, while Pizzica totaled 60 goals. The leading junior goal-scorer was Cash Wolf, who finished the season with 55.
Wiens was named MVP of the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League. On the first team from Soquel were junior Jacob Henshaw and sophomore Stryder Stelck. Santa Cruz High School had four players named to the first team in juniors Matthias Cruz and Pakalani Saxton-Vaka and sophomores Hayden Johnson and Tate Wilson. Gabriel Suarez-Abraham of Aptos High School is the only first-year player on the first team.
His brother Rafael Suarez-Abraham was on the second team. Santa Cruz and Soquel each had three members on the second team. From the Cardinals are seniors Lucas Primavera and Jayden Chopra and sophomore Nikolaus Kay. Pizzica, Wolf and senior Connor Garde represent the Knights.
Trevor Wiens of Soquel was named SCCAL coach of the year.
Girls water polo
After reaching the Central Coast Section finals, Soquel High School advanced to the CIF NorCal Division I water polo playoffs and played Acalanes High School of Lafayette in the first round. Behind three goals from senior Summer Stelck, the Knights took a 7-5 lead into the fourth quarter. Everything went Acalanes’ way in the final frame, however, as the Dons scored four goals to win 9-7 and end Soquel’s season.
Steleck finished the season with 52 goals and 110 steals. Senior Leah Murphy had 77 goals and 41 steals, first-year player Elizabeth Penny had 53 goals and 62 steals and senior Kayla Matthies had 43 goals and 82 steals.
Matthies, Stelck and junior Maddie Barwick were all named first-team all-league for Soquel while Murphy was MVP. Seniors Zoe Ann Watson and Daisy Mueller and sophomore Violet Rubin were first-team for Santa Cruz High School and senior Fiona Carey earned the honor for Aptos High School.
The second team is headlined by three more Knights in Penny, senior Amelie Stotlan and sophomore Natalie Salerno. Junior Giulia D’Souza of Santa Cruz, sophomore Adelaide Friedley and first-year player Mary Suarez-Abraham of Aptos and juniors Serena Manildi and Abigail Higgins are on the team from Harbor High School.
Ryan Chapatte of Soquel was named coach of the year.
All-league selections were awarded in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League and Harbor High School, which won the league, had four players on the first team, including senior Gwen Grigsby, who was named MVP.
Joining Grigsby from Harbor are juniors Maren O’Farrell, Sabine Kemos and Isla Johnson. Santa Cruz High School had seniors Daisey Manako and Summer Pederson make the first team, while Soquel High School saw junior Jesse Dueck and senior Kayla Rhee-Pizano earn spots.
On the second team from Santa Cruz are senior Antonia Wilson and sophomore Natalie Monroe. Hayden Smith of Scotts Valley High School, Kenzie Smith of Aptos and Eden Fisher of Mount Madonna School each made the team as sophomores. Seniors Grace Emanuelson of Scotts Valley and Ali Reger of San Lorenzo Valley also made the team.
Ella Dueck of Aptos High School is the freshman of the year after recording 262 kills this season.
Matt Schutz of Harbor was named coach of the year.
Santa Cruz High School alum Autumn Hays won the O’Neill Cold Water Classic, which wrapped up Sunday at Steamer Lane. A year after reaching the semifinals, Hays made it through the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals on Sunday to bring home the victory.
This week in history
On Nov. 23, 2018, Aptos High School beat Palma High School 49-6 to advance to the Central Coast Section finals. A week later, the Mariners defeated Sacred Heart Prep to move on to the NorCal championship game against Oakland’s McClymonds High School. Although Aptos lost, it was the first and only time the Mariners have advanced that far in football.
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