Defense could be the difference this season for the Santa Barbara City College football team — thanks in large part to the school’s unofficial feeder program from Truckee High.
The Vaqueros have five former Truckee football players on their roster, all on defense, including three returning sophomores in linebacker Morgan Nevin, linebacker Jackson Weed and safety Colin Christian.
Sophomore defensive lineman Dillon Sheedy and freshman linebacker Jake Pettit also joined the Santa Barbara City College team this season, continuing the trend of former Wolverines heading south to play for the Vaqueros. Other Truckee players who have suited up for Santa Barbara City College in recent years include Randon Nunez, Mitch Nelson and Braden Waters.
Like Truckee, Santa Barbara prides itself on defense in its offensive-minded American Pacific Conference. The Vaqueros have produced the leading tackler in the state the past two years in linebackers Manny Hernandez and Nevin, who helped lead the team to a No. 2 ranking among defenses in its conference.
Nevin, at 6-1 and 230 pounds, earned All-State honors after averaging 11.8 tackles a game (118 total) during last year’s 4-6 campaign. Christian recorded 80 tackles as a freshman, which was the second most on the team, while Weed had 45 tackles in only seven games.
“Morgan was outstanding last year and he had a really good spring,” said seventh-year coach Craig Moropoulos, who has six returning defensive starters in total. “We’ve got that ‘Truckee connection’ with Morgan, Jackson and Colin.”
In addition to the Truckee players, Wade Norberg of South Lake Tahoe also played left tackle for Santa Barbara the last two seasons. A first-team All-American, he is now at Auburn University redshirting as an invited walk-on.
Santa Barbara opens its season Sept. 7 against Hancock. The Vaqueros’ home opener is Sept. 14 against East Los Angeles.