.Soquel High School Football Wins First State Championship

The win marks the first time that a local football team won the state championship in Santa Cruz County

The Soquel High School football team paraded onto their home field Wednesday, sandwiched between the school’s band percussion team and the varsity cheerleaders in a special proclamation ceremony after becoming the first football team in Santa Cruz County to win a California Interscholastic Federation State Championship on Dec. 8.

The Soquel Knights and cheerleaders seated in a long row at Dewey Tompkins Stadium Wednesday. They were greeted with a roar of applause from the crowded grandstands.  

“This is about a 13-2 record, the most wins in county history,” said athletic director Stu Walters. “They finished the season with a 10-game winning streak and they dominated their five playoff games, outsourcing their opponents 155 to 35.”

At the podium, Senator John Laird told the crowd that an official proclamation was being assembled for the school.

“On behalf of the state, we wish to recognize Soquel High School for its exceptional talent, triumph and accomplishment and inspiration,” he said. 

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Laird also said a certificate for coach Dwight Lowery was being drawn up, as were special state recognitions for every member of the football team.

County Supervisor Manu Koenig added: “It’s not any individual that makes a great team, but the teamwork of all that makes a team great.”

Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Faris Sabbah ran down a lengthy list of accomplishments by the team that included:

• 1,501 yards for quarterback Sam Whalen, and 17 touchdowns over the course of the season

• Senior wide receiver Jordan McCord with 629 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns

• Junior halfback Terry Lundie who averaged 73.4 rushing yards per game

“The list goes on and on,” he said. “This group has been nothing but exemplary. You have shown us what Santa Cruz County can accomplish.”

Whalen added, “It’s pretty amazing; it’s really rewarding. At the beginning of the season not a lot to expect really, I mean, we were losing a lot of great players. But it turns out we’re an incredible team.”

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Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.
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