The Falcons’ focus all week, and this season, was to bring home a Pacific Coast Athletic League football championship back to Scotts Valley High.
Senior Caden Stratton made sure it happened, as the Falcons crushed visiting Pacific Grove High, 35-6, to capture the 2021 Cypress Division title on Oct. 30.
“It feels great, we’ve been looking forward to this all season,” Stratton said.
It’s the first league title for the Falcons since the 2009-10 season, when they were Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League co-champion with rival San Lorenzo Valley High. They both finished 3-1-2 that season.
“I was proud of everybody,” Scotts Valley coach Louie Walters said. “The seniors are 14-1 in five months … the kids, they played hard.”
Scotts Valley (8-1, 5-0) won its opener against Soquel High on Aug. 27 but fell to Santa Cruz High the following week. It was its first loss after going undefeated—6-0—in the SCCAL’s “B” Division during the abbreviated 2021 spring season.
They brushed off the loss and have managed to win seven straight games, including an unblemished 5-0 run in Cypress division play.
Stratton, the program’s first-ever four-year varsity starter, said they were hoping to clinch a Central Coast Section postseason berth last season, but the playoffs were called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That, Stratton said, left a bitter taste in their mouths.
“We didn’t go to the playoffs last year, but this year it’s time to show it,” he said.
Walters said winning the league title was huge, but they still have a couple of other goals to accomplish. The first one is to get past longtime rival SLV (2-6, 0-5) and then make a run in the CCS postseason.
“Every week we’re selling a big game,” he said. “I was worried about selling them on another big game but they seem like they bought into it.”
Niko Iles had 23 yards rushing on six carries and scored three touchdowns, bringing his season total to nine. He tallied six touchdowns in their 47-27 win against King City High on Oct. 22.
The sophomore tailback, who transferred from SLV earlier this season, credits the offensive line for opening up the lanes for him and the rest of the backs.
“We have really good blocking. Our linemen work their butts off and I just want to give a shout out to them,” Iles said. “They put in the work and they help us out.”
Scotts Valley jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening stanza but the Breakers kept it tight.
That was until Iles scored his second touchdown of the afternoon with 9:09 in the second quarter. Stratton extended the lead with a 10-yard score of his own and Iles made it 28-0 just before going into halftime.
“It seems like we score in bunches and then we put teams away quickly, in the bunches,” Walters said.
Iles said the offense relies on the run attack and it helps when the linemen are playing at full speed.
Iles also had an interception in the second quarter. He stepped in front of a pass intended for a receiver on a cross route.
“He threw it just perfectly and I knew it was mine,” he said. “We watched film and I’ve seen that play a thousand times, I knew that was coming.”
Iles suffered a right hand injury against the Breakers and sat out the entire second half. He said he lost some feeling in his hand but he’ll be good to go against SLV.
Brock and Brady Siechen along with Nick Erickson were also out against the Breakers.
Senior running back Isaiah Velez, who has also been hampered with injuries this season, had 137 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Stratton said Iles has impacted the team tremendously and they probably wouldn’t have been able to pick up some of the wins this season without him.
“He’s an amazing blocker and in this last game he had six touchdowns, that’s pretty rad,” Stratton said. “He’s a great player and I’m hoping he’s gonna get better.”
Stratton said he’s happy to be a league champ but the job is far from finished, adding that they still have more games to focus on as the season continues.
“There’s nothing to be happy about,” he said. “Yeah, we clinched a playoff spot but we still gotta win more games. We gotta keep going.”
Scotts Valley 35, Pacific Grove 6
Up next: San Lorenzo Valley at Scotts Valley
When: Nov. 6 at 2pm