Sitting out a flight delay Thursday night in Las Vegas’ airport, I ran into three former Cabrillo College teammates who are continuing their playing careers and education at Southeast Missouri State: seated from left, offenisve lineman Frank Knights, rover Taylor West and linebacker Justin Woodlief.
They were on a connector flight from St. Louis, I believe, it was too late to remember details. What I do remember was the hour of conversation. They wanted to hear all about Cabrillo’s past season, how the local schools fared and all about the top players in the area moving to the college ranks.
Each player said they fully enjoyed their first season playing out of state at a four-year school. And they scoffed at the idea that they were returning to cold weather back in Santa Cruz. They couldn’t wait to get home to their friends and families during their school break.
The NCAA Division IAA Redhawks went 2-9 last season, including a 70-3 loss to nationally ranked and bowl-bound Cincinnati before 30,421 fans in Ohio. Each player said, despite the outcome, it was the highlight of the season playing such a talented team in front a large crowd.
Woodlief ened up earning all-Ohio Valley Conference honors. He was Southeast’s top tackler with 93 in 11 games. He started each of the last nine games of the season and registered double-digit tackles a team-high six times, with a career-high of 16 at Eastern Kentucky on Oct. 31.