By John Murphy
Aptos High grad Ernie Cooper of Granite Bay High was named the CalHiSports.com overall state coach of the year and Sacred Heart Prep’s Pete Lavorato was named the state’s small-school coach of the year.
Cooper, a two-sport Aptos High star, led Granite Bay to the state playoff bowl title. Lavorato led Sacred Heart Prep to a section title win against Menlo School and a 12-1 record.
Lavorato was also the Prep2Prep.com overall coach of the year. He is the first from the Central Coast Section to be named the state’s small-school coach of the year after leading the Gators to their second section title in three years.
Lavorato did not know he won the honor until being informed late Friday night, Dec. 28.
“Wow, that’s pretty cool,” he said. “That’s very much a tremendous honor. It’s amazing and wonderful. It’s a testament to the great kids we had on our team. It was a special group.”
Lavorato is 77-28 at SHP over nine seasons. A native of Canada, he played at Utah State and with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League where he teamed with former Serra High wide receiver Tom Scott and quarterback Warren Moon on five Grey Cup champion teams and made the all-star team once (1977).
Lavorato, a defensive back, also played for the B.C. Lions and the Montreal Concordes while in the CFL from 1975 through 1984.
Lavorato has been at Sacred Heart Prep since 2003. He previously taught in Alberta and was the Eskimos’ defensive line coach in 1995.
Cooper was an all-league football player and catcher at Aptos in the 1980s, prior to Trent Dilfer’s stint as QB of the Mariners in the late 1980s.