Lompoc was the best football team in the Los Padres League (again) this year, and two of its top players are sharing the league's MVP award.
Senior running back Toa Taua and senior wide receiver-defensive back Shemar Savage are the league co-MVPs. The pair helped lead the Braves (11-1, 4-0) to another league title under veteran coach Andrew Jones, a Lompoc High alumnus.
The Braves did not lose until Lake Forest El Toro topped them 37-16 in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 Playoffs. Taua was injured and did not play in that game.
Some other Braves earned top LPL awards. Jacob Nunez is the Offensive Lineman of the Year. Johnny Manzo is the All-Purpose Player of the Year. Jelani Henderson and Ruben Cortez are the co-Defensive Backs of the Year.
All except Nunez are seniors. Nunez is a sophomore.
Santa Ynez senior teammates Gabe Prendergast and Gabe Palato earned other top league awards. Prendergast is the Offensive Back of the Year. Palato is the Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Taua rushed for 1,673 yards and 26 touchdowns. Savage caught a total of 37 passes for a total of 795 yards and 11 touchdowns. Savage was also an integral part of a solid Lompoc defense.
St. Joseph senior Dino Maldonado threw for 3,125 yards and 33 touchdowns. He is the All-LPL First Team Quarterback.
Maldonado also ran for seven scores.
The First Team running backs are seniors Jayden Vargas of St. Joseph and A.J. Reynoso of Santa Ynez. Vargas ran for 1,673 yards and 26 touchdowns. Reynoso had just 17 carries, but he averaged 6.9 yards on each of those carries.
The fullback is Lompoc sophomore Cullen Ranney, who was a dependable blocker and spot receiver for the Braves' prolific offense.
The First Team wide receivers are St. Joseph seniors Nate Guzman and Joseph Miller, and Santa Ynez junior Jasper Kadlec.
Guzman had 1,013 yards in receptions, and six touchdown catches. Miller and Kadlec caught 13 and seven touchdown passes respectively.
The All-LPL First Team All-Purpose Player is wide receiver-defensive back-punter-return man Ben Dixon, a senior from Cabrillo.
The First Team offensive linemen are Lompoc junior Gerardo Fernandez and senior Nick Jones, St. Joseph junior Jakob Hernandez, Santa Ynez senior Nick Tipolt and Cabrillo senior Brenton Staunton.
The First Team defensive linemen are Santa Ynez seniors Isaiah Smith and Dominic Saccullo, Lompoc junior Juan DeLuna and Pioneer Valley junior Juan Guzman.
The First Team linebackers are St. Joseph seniors Tim Miller and Zach Morris, Santa Ynez senior Travis Vreeland and Lompoc sophomore Leondre Coleman. The defensive backs are Lompoc seniors Dallas Canley and Jimmy Gardner, St. Joseph senior Mason Biely and Pioneer Valley senior Kenneth Hoobery. The kicker is Pioneer Valley junior Edgar Zacarias.
The Second Team offensive linemen include seniors Patrick Montgomery and Kalen Reed of Santa Ynez, Lompoc junior Jacob Beachy, St. Joseph junior Isaac Yanez and Pioneer Valley senior Eric Santillan.
The quarterback is Santa Ynez senior Dustin Gregg. The running backs are juniors Jackson Anderson of Cabrillo and Cash Transeth of Santa Ynez.
The wide receivers are seniors Jonathan Salazar of Pioneer Valley and Mike Ramirez of St. Joseph, and Lompoc sophomore Ryan Morgan. The all-purpose player is St. Joseph senior Justin Wong. The punter is Santa Ynez junior Juan Sanchez.
The Second Team Defense's linemen are St. Joseph senior Isaac Blackburn and junior Marcus Frazier, Cabrillo junior Danan Pacheco and Lompoc junior Jesus Coralles.
The linebackers are Santa Ynez sophomore Vinny Vacca and senior Steven Enderle, Pioneer Valley senior Ivan Zepeda and Cabrillo sophomore Patrick Durham.
The defensive backs are Santa Ynez senior Josh Patrick and junior Nathan Crandall, and St. Joseph senior Joe Dowd and junior Trevor Cole. The kicker is Cabrillo senior Niko Glass.
Quarterbacks Matt Garcia of Pioneer Valley and Xavier Nix of Lompoc, wide receiver Mason Townes of Cabrillo, and linemen Tyler Germani and Marco Lazarit of Santa Ynez and Alex Ontiveros of St. Joseph all earned honorable mention on offense.
Defensive Back Alex Bourne of Cabrillo, linebacker Zach Nelson of St. Joseph, and linemen Nate Willis of Pioneer Valley and Jovany Lucatero of Lompoc earned honorable mention on defense.