.Soquel High Football Team Wins it All

In 2017 the Soquel high football program was struggling, ranked #950 in the state. This year they ended their season ranked at 70 and last month, they won the state championship. 

The shift towards success can be attributed in part to the leadership of former NFL defensive back Dwight Lowery and his coaching staff.

Lowery, a Santa Cruz local and former NFL defensive back, played for the Jets, Chargers, Jaguars, and Falcons between 2008 and 2017.

Before his time with the NFL, Lowery began playing football at Soquel high school in the early 2000s. When he returned to Santa Cruz after retiring from the NFL, Lowery was offered the football head coach position. Now, Lowery is coaching kids who are walking the same halls he did, in the place where his career began.

Since he took over the program in 2018, Lowery has led the team to the Central Coast Section playoffs—the local football tournament. In four out of the six years, he’s been the head coach. Most recently, the team steamrolled Jurupa Hills and won the first football state championship brought back to Santa Cruz.     

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Coaching teens comes with challenges as well as rewards, Lowery said. He enjoys watching his players succeed on and off the field. The most rewarding feeling as a coach is watching his players see the results of their actions, whether it be positive or negative, and seeing them learn. 

“Communication off the field that doesn’t always have to do with football, and one of the challenges is that they don’t always understand that we have their best interest in mind and are looking out for them,” Lowery said. 

With Soquel’s first state championship behind them, Lowery thinks the team’s success will impact the community by inspiring more kids and parents to have a conversation about playing football.

“We got a couple of four-year varsity players, lots of experienced big-game players for three years since we’ve been in contention for League,” Lowery said. “Opening at Los Gatos helped a lot by putting them in extremely competitive environments. Plus these kids just really like football.”

Lowery is already preparing for next season with no plans of slowing down the momentum they’ve gained over the last few seasons.

“We’ve got lots of development ahead to maximize our younger players,” Lowery said. “We can’t do the same things we did with our seniors so we are looking to change things.”

Join Soquel football and the Soquel community on Saturday, Jan. 13 in Capitola village for a parade to celebrate the team’s state championship. It will begin at 11am at the police station and end at the Capitola bandstand pavilion, there will be floats, speeches and a performance by the Soquel High band.

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