Haggard, Freitas best in Sonoma County League
There is no secret to Petaluma High School’s potent football offense and outstanding 8-2 season. The Trojans were loaded with talent.
The outstanding Petaluma talent was not lost on Sonoma County League coaches, who chose senior Luke Haggard Lineman of the Year and junior Garrett Freitas Back of the Year.
In addition, five other Trojans were chosen to the first-team offense.
With the 6-foot, 7-inch, 220-pound Haggard leading the way, a whole bevy of different Petaluma backs rushed for 3,204 yards, averaging 320.4 yards rushing a game. As a team, Petaluma had 4,181 total yards, averaging 418.1 yards per game.
Freitas started his season in spectacular fashion, returning two kickoffs for touchdowns and another for 60-plus yards in the opening game against Montgomery.
From there, he went on to become the most spectacular of a host of strong Petaluma running backs, leading the halfbacks with 655 yards rushing. More telling was his 9.4 yards-per-carry average.
Haggard didn’t open the holes for Freitas and the other Petaluma backs by himself. He had plenty of help.
Three other Trojan linemen, senior Jacob Cybulski, junior Nick Siembieda and junior tight end Nick Ayers, were picked to the first team as were senior wide receiver Isaiah Blomgren and senior running back Justin Turner.
Ayers was the Petaluma tight end, a position that, in the Trojan offensive scheme, is as much a blocker as any of the other linemen. He did grab three passes for 28 yards and two touchdowns.
Blomgren was Petaluma’s major receiving threat, catching 14 passes for 97 yards and three touchdowns.
Turner, another Petaluma speedster, gained 467 yards, averaging 8.3 yards per carry and scoring five touchdowns. He also grabbed five passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Justin Wolbert, senior running back Dominic Ayers, junior lineman Daniel De Carli and sophomore Matt Saylers were selected to the second-team offense as was junior kicker Daxton Hogya.
With De Carli and Saylers picked to the offensive line, the Trojans ended up with six offensive linemen (counting tight end Nick Ayers) receiving some sort of all-league honors.
Dominic Ayers was yet another of the Trojans’ outstanding running backs. He ran for 447 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns.
Hogya hit on 33 of 35 PAT kicks and a field goal.
Wolbert didn’t have the flashy passing numbers of some of the quarterbacks in the SCL, but he was just as valuable to the Trojans as any quarterback in the league. He led Petaluma in rushing with 668 yards and was second on the team with 19 touchdowns. Although he passed sparingly, he did complete 41 of 77 passes for 549 yards and 10 touchdowns. More than the numbers, what made Wolbert so valuable was the proficient manner in which he adeptly administered the Petaluma offense, making sure the proper carrier (sometimes himself) got the ball at the proper time.
Trojans Xavier Crysdale and Jacob Rollsin were chosen to the All-SCL first-team defense.
Crysdale, a 5-foot, 11-inch, 180-pound senior, was a major reason the Trojans were so difficult to run against, joining Haggard on the front line to not only plug holes, but to put almost continuous pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He and Haggard finished as the team’s leading tacklers, Haggard with 44 and Crysdale with 40.
Rollstin led the team with 21 solo tackles, including three for loss. On offense, he was Petaluma’s short-yardage specialist, gaining the tough yards when they were needed most. He gained 551 yards and scored 30 touchdowns.
Both Ayers brothers, senior Dominic, and junior Nick, were named to the second-team defense as were end True Overton, linebacker Derrick Pomi and defensive back Blomgren.
The Ayers brothers formed a tenacious linebacker duo with Nick inside and Dominic outside, while Pomi was also a key linebacker and Blomgren was the main reason the Petaluma defensive backfield improved dramatically over the course of the season.
Analy’s Jacob Ponzo was picked Player of the Year. Sonoma Valley’s Tyler Winslow was Defensive Player of the Year. Kicker Miguel Escamilla of Analy was chosen Specialist of the Year. Analy’s James Foster was Coach of the Year.