Sobrato High senior Noah Taylor, who broke numerous records on offense and defense in the Bulldogs’ 2023 season, will attend and play football at Southern Oregon University starting this fall. Photo: Courtesy of Taylor family

Sobrato High School football star Noah Taylor has decided on his college path, choosing to attend Southern Oregon University. The Bulldogs running back and linebacker rushed for 2,548 yards and 27 touchdowns on 213 carries for the 2023 season, leading Sobrato to a 6-4 record.

Taylor was league MVP in the Blossom Valley Athletic League, Santa Teresa – Valley Division and broke a boatload of Sobrato school records. Southern Oregon, an NAIA school located in Ashland, Ore., will be his next home. Taylor is looking forward to it.

“I liked the environment of Southern Oregon; all the coaches and players were great people and I think I would fit right in,” Taylor said. “I liked the campus, all the buildings, the weight rooms, classrooms, library—all very nice. I wanted to be far enough away from home but not too far so it worked perfectly.”

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Taylor ranked first in rushing yards and yards per game in the Central Coast Section, with his 254.8 yards per game average far ahead of second-place Andre Lattimore of Del Mar at 207.8. Taylor finished third in the state of California, and seventh nationally in average yards per game.

The Sobrato football record book has many new entries to reflect Taylor’s accomplishments. He established new marks for single-season rushing yards, career rushing yards, most rushing yards in a game with 323 against powerhouse Live Oak, most touchdowns in a game, total touchdowns in a season, and highest yards-per-carry average at 11.96.

Looking behind the statistics, one is even more amazed. Taylor only played defense his first two years at Sobrato and began his junior season at quarterback. Yet he still established the career rushing mark. Additionally, note that in his 213 rushes this past season, he had only five fumbles. The second-best rusher in CCS, Lattimore, had 17 fumbles on his 178 carries.

Taylor is viewed as equally talented at linebacker. He claimed school marks in total tackles and tackles for loss, and the single-game tackle mark with 24 against Gilroy.

“He’s a special athlete and a total package,” Sobrato coach Joel Rueda said. “He’s fearless and aggressive, has breakaway speed, a strong stiff-arm and has good vision. He is fundamentally sound and follows his blocks. He’s really coachable and an outstanding teammate. He wants to win for his teammates.”

Southern Oregon coach Berk Brown is looking at players like Taylor to build his program. Last year’s 6-4 record was their best since 2018 and included close losses to two top teams and a 31-16 win over No. 5 College of Idaho in the season finale.

“Noah adds athleticism and physicality to our roster,” Brown said. “He is a dynamic ball carrier and a ferocious defender. He possesses the capability to play both sides of the ball. Wherever we decide to put him, I am confident that he will excel.”

Sobrato’s offense scored 321 points in 10 games last season, far surpassing all seasons since the 2017-18 team, which competed in a lower division. Since then, no Bulldogs team has scored more than 238 in a season, 83 or more less points than last season’s Sobrato output. Taylor credits his offensive line, including close friends Jorge Mendoza and Lucas Leisure. Kaydan Ruiz, Gustavo Ureta and tight end Alexandr Kushchanka also receive kudos.

“It’s a great offensive line,” Taylor said. “The best offensive line in Sobrato history. The holes are there. I have confidence in them.”

According to Rueda, that is typical of Taylor’s modesty.

“Despite all his numbers, he never put himself above his teammates,” Rueda said. “He has a selfless attitude. He has definitely laid a foundation for what an ideal Sobrato Bulldogs player looks like, on and off the field. I never worry about him on things like academics or behavior. He is a responsible young man. He is the best player to walk these hallways at Sobrato. A future standard for others.”

Taylor cited extremely hard work after his sophomore year as a key to his accomplishments. He looked to put on size and get better overall. The team was just 3-7 that season but Taylor noted they “left it all out there every game” and how he wanted more for the team. He battled injuries over the summer and early season and then had a stellar year as Sobrato surged to a 6-4 season.

Rueda noted Taylor’s performance in the El Toro Bowl against crosstown rival Live Oak. In that contest, Taylor rushed for 323 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, along with making nine tackles and two tackles-for-loss. 

Rueda noted that Live Oak was an A-League team per CCS specifications, and thus Taylor showed he can shine against the highest competition. In fact, Live Oak won the BVAL Mt. Hamilton Division by beating Christopher, with the Acorns and Cougars proving to be among the elite when they later had success in the CCS Division II playoffs.

“It’s relatable to Steph Curry with the Warriors,” Rueda said. “If you see Steph shoot a three, you expect it to go in. If you give the ball to Noah, you’re expecting a big play. Southern Oregon—they got a steal. They got a D1 or low-D1 player. Recruiting kicked off late and they are fortunate for the cards to fall that way for them. Coaches will see him and fall in love with him. He’s definitely going to turn some heads. In football, Noah reminds me of Christian McCaffrey (of the San Francisco 49ers).”

Previous articleReligion: Was it not just for this moment?
Next articleLetter: Not seeking re-election to city council


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here