San Pedro and Mary Star Of The Sea High was able to enjoy the fruits of a ten-game season for the first time in two years, and the Pirates (10-2 overall) nearly came away with some hardware.
On November 27 at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, San Pedro was denied the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Open Division championship when Birmingham of Lake Balboa started strong and held off the Pirates, 24-14 to successfully defend their championship, putting a bitter end to what was a season unlike any other.
For the first time in school history, San Pedro produced a football season where passing was the top recourse of attack in an explosive offense, coupled with an equally important defense that posted six shutout victories.
At the head of the forefront was senior quarterback Aidan Jackson, and fellow senior WR/DB Robert Sarmiento.
Jackson broke two school single-season records by throwing for 2,280 yards and 32 touchdowns, becoming the first Pirate signal-caller ever to reach the 2,000-yard & 30-touchdown milestone. Jackson also completed his passes at a 63.8% rate and was extremely efficient in only throwing two interceptions.
Sarmiento was an automatic threat to score a touchdown the second his number was called on any given play. For the season, The Marine League All-Purpose Player Of The Year caught 35 passes for 612 yards and 12 touchdowns, rushing for two more touchdowns out of the wildcat formation, and returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to open off San Pedro’s 69-0 victory over Gardena on October 15. From building blocks on the junior varsity as freshmen, shining stars as seniors, Jackson and Sarmiento share the prestigious honor as your 2021 San Pedro News Pilot Prep Football Players Of The Year.
Other than Sarmiento, Jackson had plenty of weapons to go to in his record-setting campaign.
San Jose State-bound senior WR/LB Kejuan Bullard was Mr. Reliable for the Pirates, leading the team with 44 receptions, also piling up 612 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Another senior wideout, Chris Nixon tied for the team lead with 12 touchdown catches and led the Pirates with 672 receiving yards on 42 catches. In all, Jackson threw touchdown passes to seven different receivers in 2021.
Defensively, the Pirates were paced by Marine League Co-Defensive Player Of The Year senior linebacker Kain Parris, who paced the Pirates with 134 tackles, while also intercepting a pass and recovering three fumbles, one of which he returned for a touchdown against Lakewood on October 8.
Meanwhile, Mary Star (3-7 overall) closed the year with six straight losses, including going 0-4 in a talented Del Rey League in a year that was plagued by injuries.
The biggest loss was the absence of senior running back Nathan Chavez, who in five games plus ran for 543 yards and eight touchdowns before suffering a season-ending concussion in the Del Rey League opener at Harvard-Westlake of Studio City.
Despite that, the Stars still got an incredible season out of senior WR/DB Steven Ceniceros, who ran back two kickoffs for touchdowns, while also catching 32 passes for 416 yards and five more scores. Defensively, the All-Del Rey League first team choice led Mary Star with 85 tackles (67 solo) while intercepting a pass and deflecting four others.
A true positive close to the 2021 season was that Mary Star was finally able to play their final two home games of the season under the lights, an exciting capper to their first full season of playing home games on their Taper Avenue-based campus.
Senior RB/LB Giovanni Boccanfuso and junior WR/DB Vincent Guerrero were the other first team All-Del Rey League picks for the Stars.
Cheers to the return of a true prep football season and happy wishes for the resumption of the same in the Fall of 2022.
SAN PEDRO NEWS PILOT PREP FOOTBALL SPRING 2021 AWARD WINNERS
CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Aidan Jackson (San Pedro, QB, sr.)
Robert Sarmiento (San Pedro, WR/DB, sr.)
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
Steven Ceniceros (Mary Star, WR/DB, sr.)
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kejuan Bullard (San Pedro, WR, sr.)
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kain Parris (San Pedro, LB, sr.)
LINEMAN OF THE YEAR
Gabriel Anguiano (San Pedro, OL/DL, sr.)
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Vincent Guerrero (Mary Star, WR/LB, jr.)