H-SPORTS

Mar 26, 2013 8:24 PM by Andrew Masuda

Nine Braves named to FCA All-Star Football Classic

After establishing a legacy the last few years on the gridiron together, nine Lompoc High football players will get a chance to suit up one final time together on their home field.

Nine Braves were named to the Northern Santa Barbara County squad for the third-annual FCA All-Star Football Classic on Tuesday. The game pits the best seniors from Northern SB County against the top players from San Luis Obispo County. This year's game is scheduled for Saturday, June 1 at Lompoc High.

The three-time defending Los Padres League champion Braves will be represented by Rafael Arellano, kicker Jose Morales, linemen Josh Powers, Sam Wellmaker, Brian Piemme and Maurice Kirby, linebacker Luciano Lopez, as well as running backs Taylor Cornejo and Nikko Hayes.

"It's going to be a really fun time. I'm looking forward to it. And we're just going to go out there and get after it one last time all together," added Hayes, who signed a national letter of intent last week to play at FCS-level Idaho State.

The 6-1, 190 pound Hayes enjoyed a breakout senior season where he stepped in for injured Lavon Coleman, who's signed with the University of Washington. Hayes averaged 11 yards per carry rushing for 1,081 yards on 99 carries. He scored 15 rushing touchdowns. He also made 49 tackles with 3 forced fumbles on defense as a linebacker.

Arellano was named the Los Padres League's MVP in the fall. He ran the ball for 271 yards and 6 touchdowns, while catching 24 passes for 444 yards and 5 more scores. He also recorded 44 tackles, 3 sacks, 6 interceptions and 10 pass deflections.

Cornejo rushed for 611 yards and scored 9 touchdowns. He also returned two kicks for touchdowns to earn a spot on the All-League First Team Offense.

Lopez was an All-League First Team Defense pick at linebacker after he recorded 58 tackles and 4 sacks. Piemme tallied 42 tackles, 3 sacks and recovered 2 fumbles. Kirby was also named to the All-League First Team Defense after recorded 47 tackles and 4 sacks.

Powers earned recognition as the Los Padres League's Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2012.

The Braves went 12-1 last season and lost in the CIF semifinals to eventual CIF State Champion Serra. The Braves have won 32 of their last 33 games under head coach Andrew Jones and the solid play of the nine newly crowned All-Stars. "This class started as freshmen, they were a pretty good freshman team. But the key is they stuck together and left a huge legacy at Lompoc High school. Some of these guys are 37-4," said Jones.

The Braves have partnered with Sunset Auto, which donated $2,500 toward the game's $20,000 car raffle prize. The Lompoc dealership also helped the school secure funds for a new state-of-the-art scoreboard, which is expected to be installed in time for the All-Star Game.

"We're involved with the community and have always supported Lompoc athletics and Lompoc and Cabrillo high schools. So it's just a normal progression," said George Bedford, the co-owner of Sunset Auto.

All proceeds from the game, including game ticket and raffle ticket sales, go toward the participating schools. In two years, organizers says the game has raised more than $280,000.

The Northern Santa Barbara County team leads the all-time series 2-0.

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