The Golden Tornado is back for the 2023 football season entering the CIF playoffs 8-2. The Santa Barbara High School football team ended the regular season as city champs and second in the channel league. On October 29th the bracket was announced showing the Golden Tornado will be playing in Division 4 at St. Paul High School. St. Paul went 5-5 this season barely losing against some tough teams. The team went into CIF with a strong mindset and one main goal for playoffs which is winning out.
While interviewing three seniors Abel Renteria, Jordan Mitchum, and Koa Herrera they responded to questions about the season and entering playoffs. When asked “How do you feel the team did overall during the regular season?” Jordan Mitchum responded, “We as a team did really well, we were playing as individuals during the beginning of the season, but pulled it all together after the SM game and you could see it in the way we played with the scores and how they went.” Overall Jordan feels they truly came together as a team. Jordan was also questioned, “What’s the major goal for the playoffs?” He answered that the team’s goal has been to win out since January, but also added “We really have the athletes and the discipline. We just gotta execute and want it.” The next athlete questioned Koa Herrera, was asked about his favorite regular-season memory. Koa answered that his favorite memory this year was a team bonding experience over the summer which was having a sleepover in the gym with the whole team. In response to the playoffs, Koa is looking forward to playing near LA and is excited to represent the Dons. Abel Renteria was asked a similar question “What are you most excited for going into playoffs?” and he answered, “I’m excited to compete with great teams and I’m excited to make a run and try to win a championship.” When asked about any changes going into playoffs Abel stated the coaches are being harder on them so they can make a run in CIF, but the coaches also have people going into different positions to help the team. The Santa Barbara High School football team accomplished their first playoff win and continued that playoff run into the quarterfinals.
On November 3rd the Golden Tornado traveled down to St. Paul High School and played a challenging game which included going into double overtime. Sophomore Monty Lopez caused a fumble that SB recovered allowing the offense to come back on the field. Senior Abel Renteria scored the game-winning touchdown and Santa Barbara came out on top beating St. Paul 41-35. The Golden Tornado advanced to the quarterfinals of playoffs at home against Corona Del Mar.
Senior Jacobo Nevarez was questioned, “How do you feel about Corona Del Mar compared to St Paul?” Jacobo answered “Corona Del Mar in my opinion has an offense that we are accustomed to seeing, therefore we should match up well against them. St. Paul’s offense was something we hadn’t seen all year so it was confusing at first.” Jacobo states that the team practiced St. Paul’s offense many times and eventually played well against them. Jacobo was also asked, “What is something you are looking forward to about this game?” Jacobo responded, “I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to make plays as a defensive back because they primarily pass on offense.” Therefore hoping to make big plays.
The Santa Barbara High School football team 2023 season has come to an end stopping at the quarterfinals ending 9-3 this season with many memorable moments. The team is losing a big group of seniors this year meaning next season will have many spots open leaving people wondering how next season will go. The football team will be in a different league next season in hopes to make it to the playoffs once again.
[Image Credit: Jaime Herrera]