s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 5 of 15 free articles this month.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read 10 of 15 free articles this month.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read all of your free articles this month.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for reading! Why not subscribe?
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Subscribe today!
Ooops! You're out of free articles. Starting at just 99 cents per month, you can keep reading all of our products and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?

ALL-EMPIRE SMALL-SCHOOLS DEFENSE:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Lucas Triplett, Jr., Fort Bragg

FIRST TEAM

DL: Triston Cooper, Sr., Fort Bragg

DL: Sage Randall-Darter, Sr., St. Helena

DL: Travis Kitowski, Sr., Cloverdale

DL: Jasper Estes, Sr., Fort Bragg

DL: Stephen Amos, Sr., Middletown

LB: Mason Meier, Sr., Cloverdale

LB: Brett Jacomella, Sr., Fort Bragg

LB: Mark Martin, Sr., St. Helena

LB: Manny Sanches, Sr., Kelseyville

DB: Payton Rockwood, Sr., St. Helena

DB: Gabe Guzman, Jr., Middletown

DB: Lane Wright, Sr., Willits

DB: Asa Peters, Sr., Kelseyville

SECOND TEAM

DL: Will Lemons, Sr., Anderson Valley

DL: Ty Sutton, Sr., Fort Bragg

DL: Tyler Hawkins, Soph., RV Christian

DL: Cooper Johnson, Sr., Potter Valley

DL: Matt Wiloth, Sr., Middletown

LB: Austin Cia, Sr., St. Helena

LB: Wyatt Jones, Sr., Middletown

LB: Robert Calderon, Sr., Lower Lake

LB: Willie Maples, Soph., RV Christian

DB: Tyler Dore, Sr., Clear Lake

DB: Erin Perez, Sr., Anderson Valley

DB: Dre Santos, Jr., Upper Lake

DB: Michael Davis, Jr., St. Vincent

COACH OF THE YEAR

Roy Perkins, Fort Bragg


Every sturdy defense needs a “lockdown” cornerback who can take away an offense’s best receiver. For Fort Bragg, Lucas Triplett is that cornerback and then some.

Triplett, a junior, exhibited his prowess in pass coverage weekly in the NCL I with his aggressive, physical play, earning him recognition as the 2015-16 All-Empire small schools football defensive player of the year. Triplett had eight interceptions for the season, even though opponents rarely tested him. He was a critical cog in Fort Bragg’s 11-1 season and NCL I title.

“We had a game plan when we played Fort Bragg that we were not going to throw the ball on Triplett’s side of the field,” Middletown coach Bill Foltmer said. “He is a good-sized kid with good speed and he’s athletic. He is going to come away with a 50-50 ball more times than not.”

In addition to his body of work on defense, Triplett — who’s 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds — was a stalwart on offense as a receiver (for the season, 100 receptions, 19 touchdowns and 1,402 yards, a 117-yard per-game average). He was far and away the favorite target for Timberwolves quarterback Kaylor Sullivan, the All-Empire small schools offensive player of the year.

“Lucas is a gifted athlete, he can do it all,” Sullivan said. “The ball is attracted to him.”

While it’s debatable whether Triplett’s impact was greater on offense or defense, and Triplett said he thinks it was equal, numerous opposing NCL I coaches said there was no doubt that Triplett should be the defensive POY.

“Triplett was as much a part of Fort Bragg’s offense as Sullivan but on defense his pass coverage, footwork ability — especially in man-to-man — was just really impressive,” Cloverdale coach Chad Prieskorn said. “I thought we had the best receiver in the league in Marcus Poe, but Triplett made him an average player at best and minimized Poe’s contribution.”

Triplett said of neutralizing Poe: “I knocked him down early on and stripped him for a fumble in the first quarter. I knew if I could get in his head early I could throw him off his game.”

In fact, the Cloverdale game was a showcase of Triplett’s skill and tenacity on defense. The Timberwolves won 41-0, and Triplett had a remarkable three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

“It was one of the most dominating performances I have ever seen from a player on a football field on either side of the ball,” Fort Bragg coach Roy Perkins said. “Lucas is an instinctive football player. … He is an acrobatic, phenomenal athlete.”

Triplett said he mixes up his pass coverage between jamming receivers at the line and playing off them, depending on the game situation and play call. Triplett stressed that one of his stylistic signatures on defense is executing the big tackle.

“I love making the big hit, it is fun and it gets your team pumped up,” Triplett said.

On the flip side, Triplett said he makes a point of showing toughness when he is tackled by getting up as quick as possible.

“Lucas is a tough, hard-nosed, physically gifted kid,” Perkins said. “He is a very proud kid.”

ALL-EMPIRE SMALL-SCHOOLS DEFENSE:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Lucas Triplett, Jr., Fort Bragg

FIRST TEAM

DL: Triston Cooper, Sr., Fort Bragg

DL: Sage Randall-Darter, Sr., St. Helena

DL: Travis Kitowski, Sr., Cloverdale

DL: Jasper Estes, Sr., Fort Bragg

DL: Stephen Amos, Sr., Middletown

LB: Mason Meier, Sr., Cloverdale

LB: Brett Jacomella, Sr., Fort Bragg

LB: Mark Martin, Sr., St. Helena

LB: Manny Sanches, Sr., Kelseyville

DB: Payton Rockwood, Sr., St. Helena

DB: Gabe Guzman, Jr., Middletown

DB: Lane Wright, Sr., Willits

DB: Asa Peters, Sr., Kelseyville

SECOND TEAM

DL: Will Lemons, Sr., Anderson Valley

DL: Ty Sutton, Sr., Fort Bragg

DL: Tyler Hawkins, Soph., RV Christian

DL: Cooper Johnson, Sr., Potter Valley

DL: Matt Wiloth, Sr., Middletown

LB: Austin Cia, Sr., St. Helena

LB: Wyatt Jones, Sr., Middletown

LB: Robert Calderon, Sr., Lower Lake

LB: Willie Maples, Soph., RV Christian

DB: Tyler Dore, Sr., Clear Lake

DB: Erin Perez, Sr., Anderson Valley

DB: Dre Santos, Jr., Upper Lake

DB: Michael Davis, Jr., St. Vincent

COACH OF THE YEAR

Roy Perkins, Fort Bragg

Perkins said Triplett has the talent to play at the next level and college programs have already contacted him about Triplett (as a receiver). Triplett said he would like to play in college but didn’t specify where.

Next season, Triplett will continue to play the lockdown corner on defense but, perhaps more importantly, he will be tabbed as starting quarterback to replace Sullivan.

“Next year, I want the ball in the hands of my best player,” Perkins said. “If you asked the coaches in the NCL I who the best player in the league is coming back next year, I’m pretty sure they would all say it is Triplett.”

Triplett said he is up for switching from receiver to quarterback on offense and he has played the position numerous years prior to high school.

“It will be huge shoes to fill, but I’m not worried about it,” Triplett said of following Sullivan at quarterback. “If I’m not breaking records but the team is winning, that’s more important.”

Triplett said he has a bevy of returning receivers to throw to and three returning offensive linemen to anchor his pocket protection.

“Triplett is a well-rounded athlete,” Prieskorn said. “He can play any position.”

Perkins said the loss of Sullivan will lead to a retooling of the Timberwolves and to a new team identity. As a senior quarterback, in many ways Triplett will inherit Sullivan’s legacy to keep Fort Bragg as an elite small-school program, which is fitting since Triplett and Sullivan have been best friends since the third grade.

“Lucas is a laid back kid, but if you put him on a field, he is going to steal your lunch money,” Perkins said. “He is going to compete and win.”