Tyler Baty didn’t expect to see much playing time as a sophomore quarterback for Mission Prep.
But he entered the first game of the season as a backup and threw a short pass to running back Jesse Andreini for a 66-yard touchdown on his first drive.
That game, Baty finished 10-of-13 passing for 172 yards with three touchdowns and shortly thereafter earned the starting quarterback job.
His auspicious beginning culminated in a senior season this year that placed him statistically among the state leaders regardless of division. Baty threw for 2,979 yards and 45 passing touchdowns with seven interceptions.
The Royals finished 11-2 and had their best playoff result since 1964, finishing as the runner-up in the CIF-Southern Section Northeast Division.
Baty has been named The Tribune’s County Player of the Year, marking the first time a Mission Prep player has received the honor.
“There’s no way we would have been the same team without Tyler,” Mission Prep coach Chad Henry said. “Tyler was always a leader by example for the other players. He’s very humble.”
The heartbreaking 28-21 defeat to perennial power Rio Hondo Prep in the Northeast Division final came after the Royals had upset Rio Hondo in the second game of the season, one of the biggest wins in program history.
Under the tutelage of Henry, a former Cal Poly quarterback, Baty expanded his football knowledge and honed his technique.
Baty dedicated himself in the offseason to lifting weights, practicing footwork, attending quarterback camps and passing leagues, and learning to read defenses. As a three-year starter, he threw for at least 1,500 yards each of those seasons.
“One of the greatest things about Tyler is that he’s tough,” Henry said. “For the first couple of years, we couldn’t protect him with our offensive line, but he never complained. He just worked with the offensive line on getting better.”
In a way, Henry and Baty grew with the program together after Henry took over as head coach the same year that Baty became the sophomore starting quarterback at Mission Prep.
“There’s a really special connection between myself, Tyler, Joey (Hall), Andrew DeSesa, Andrew DaRosa, really this whole senior class,” Henry said. “Our growth as a program has been with that group. They’ve been the face and the foundation of the Mission Prep football program and Tyler especially. It will be interesting to see if the legacy they’ve left will be ingrained in some of our younger players.”
Henry said that when he started coaching, some people around the county didn’t even know that Mission Prep had an 11-man football team or considered the Royals a “laughing stock.”
A motivating factor in transforming the program over the past three years also was gaining respect amongst other local football teams, which helped spur Baty and the Royals, the smallest 11-man football school by enrollment in the county.
“I think with the whole respect issue, a lot of kids from other schools looked down on us and gave us crap,” Baty said. “I think that just motivated us even more.”
The 2010 team, which went 6-4, didn’t have an offseason weightlifting program. When Henry started a weight program the following spring, only a small group of players plunged into it. That group included Baty.
Now, more than 80 percent of the team participates in offseason weight training. Moreover, Mission Prep players including Baty, along with some from the PAC 7, have participated in an offseason passing league team that traveled throughout California.
Baty said his passion for the game motivated him to train and prepare more.
“It really wasn’t hard,” Baty said. “I really enjoy playing football and I wanted to get better.”
Spending so much time together in camps, workouts and practices, Henry and Baty had to learn to communicate openly.
Henry said if he was unhappy with Baty brushing off advice, he’d let him hear it. Other days, Baty would be annoyed with Henry and had to learn to express what was on his mind.
A former collegiate athlete with high expectations, Henry admits he can be tough and demanding.
“Sometimes we’d have workouts in the morning and then again in the afternoon,” Henry said. “If things were bothering either him or me, the best way to deal with it was to voice those thoughts and not sweep them under the rug because that’s not good.”
Henry said that Baty was at first quiet when he became the starting quarterback. But over time they learned to communicate better and that helped with on-field collaboration during games.
Baty led the Royals to an 8-2 season as a junior, throwing for 1,888 yards and 31 touchdowns, but the Royals were left out of the Southern Section playoffs.
This year, Baty had more than 200 passing yards in seven games and had at least two touchdown passes in every game.
In four playoff games, Baty had 861 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions.
His main target, Joey Hall, was one of the best receivers in the county with 1,365 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns.
The early Rio Hondo victory set the tone for a dominant season in which Mission Prep scored 40 or more points in its first five games and went undefeated until its final game of the regular season, losing 16-14 in the final minute to Bishop Diego, a team that finished its season 12-1.
Despite the disappointment from the Bishop Diego loss costing Mission Prep a perfect season, Baty said the Royals didn’t let up.
“It was hard after a loss like that, but at the same time we were pretty excited to be in the playoffs,” Baty said. “For us seniors, that was our first time in the playoffs. We knew we still had a chance to go to the championship game.”
The loss in the final to Rio Hondo was tough, particularly because Mission Prep led 21-14 at the half.
“That was hard,” Baty said. “But overall, it was a very good season.”
Now that his high school career is over, Baty said he hopes to play football in college. Henry and Baty are working to attract interest from various colleges with highlight videos, though he has no scholarship offers yet.
However his future in football turns out, he’ll have fond memories of his playing days at Mission Prep, calling it “awesome.”
ALL-COUNTY FOOTBALL TEAM
PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Tyler Baty, Mission Prep, Sr.
OFFENSEQB – Matt Willkomm, Arroyo Grande, Sr.
RB – Colton Madrigal, Paso Robles, Sr.
RB – Jonathan Torres, Atascadero, Sr.
FB – Sawyer Scott, San Luis Obispo, Jr.
WR – Joey Hall, Mission Prep, Sr.
WR – Bailey Gaither, Paso Robles, So.
TE – Grant Alton, Arroyo Grande, Jr.
OL – Colby Kearns, Paso Robles, Sr.
OL – Ross Berry, Templeton, Sr.
OL – Adam Schwarm, Atascadero, Sr.
OL – Keinneth Tagalicud, Morro Bay, Sr.
OL – Wyatt Cox, Arroyo Grande, Sr.
K – Cole Ramey, Arroyo Grande, Soph.
All-purpose – Garrett Giovannelli, San Luis Obispo, Sr.
DEFENSEDL – Dominic Chance, Atascadero, Sr.
DL -- Andrew DaRosa, Mission Prep, Sr.
DL – Ian Malott, Arroyo Grande, Sr.
DL -- Cole Foubert, San Luis Obispo, Sr.
LB – Jack Ferguson, San Luis Obispo, Sr.
LB – Andrew DeSesa, Mission Prep, Sr.
LB – Jake Beavers, Morro Bay Sr.
LB – Ryan Lombardi, Atascadero, Sr.
DB – Nick Hill, San Luis Obispo, Sr.
DB – Elijah Holt, Arroyo Grande, Sr.
DB – Rudy Binkele, Paso Robles, Sr.
DB – Robby Hixson, Atascadero, Sr.
Punter – Louie Thek, Atascadero, Jr.
OFFENSEQB – Robbie Berwick, Atascadero, Jr.
RB – Derek Viles, Morro Bay, Sr.
RB – Michael Cardwell, Mission Prep, Sr.
FB – Ethan Hicks, Atascadero, So.
WR – Brennan Rivera, Arroyo Grande, Sr.
WR – Tobey Isbell, Templeton, Sr.
TE – Tyler Murphee, Templeton, Sr.
OL – Dominic Fountain, SLO, Sr.
OL – Gavin Angello, Arroyo Grande, So.
OL – John Katz, Paso Robles, Sr.
OL – Lance Zook, Atascadero, Sr.
OL – Jacob Volpi, Templeton, Sr.
K – Liam Stewart, San Luis Obispo, Sr.
DEFENSEDL – Andrew Cummings, Morro Bay, Sr.
DL – Chris Addy, Arroyo Grande, Sr.
DL – Michael Miller, Atascadero, Sr.
DL – Johnathan Wells, Nipomo, Sr.
LB -- Hunter Stemper, Atascadero, Sr.
LB -- Zach Diaz, Arroyo Grande, Sr.
LB – Jackson Wheeler, Templeton, Sr.
LB – Kaine Davis, Morro Bay, Sr.
DB – Michael Jordano, Arroyo Grande, Jr.
DB – Zach Smith, Morro Bay, Jr.
DB – Kris Paqueno, Paso Robles, Sr.
DB – Kaileb Mendez, Nipomo, Sr.
Punter – Dan Beavers, Morro Bay, Jr.
OFFENSEQB – Garrett Nelson, Paso Robles, Sr., Alex Elterman, Templeton, Sr.
RB – Izaiah Cooks, Atascadero, Jr.; Patrick Laird, Mission Prep, Jr., Tommy Saenz, Nipomo, Sr.
FB – Jimmy Pacheco, Paso Robles, Jr.; Scott Lawson, Templeton, Sr.
WR – Andy Garretson, Templeton, Sr.; Wayde Vierra, Atascadero, Sr., Ian Wilkinson, Nipomo, Sr.
TE – Jonathan Baldwin, Paso Robles, So.; Evan Talbert, Mission Prep, Jr.
Line – Daniel Perlette, Morro Bay, Jr.; Alan Hurst, Atascadero, Sr., Michael Renner, Nipomo, Jr.
K – Jackson Chavez, Morro Bay, Sr.
DEFENSELine -- Jack Milstead, SLO, Sr., Hunter Kenton, Templeton, Jr.
LB – Conner Truhitte, Templeton, Sr., Thomas O’Neil, San Luis Obispo, Sr., Kevan Garcia, Paso Robles, Sr., Justin Alvarez, Templeton, Sr.
DB – Jordan Knauer, San Luis Obispo, Sr.; Calvin Levisay, Mission Prep, Sr., Parker Lauritzen, San Luis Obispo, Sr.
Punter – Taylor Apetz, Nipomo, Sr.; Clarke Ball, Atascadero, Sr.
San Luis Obispo County Football Players of the Year
Year Player School Year
1980 David Spurr, Atascadero Sr.1981 Carlos Adams, Atascadero Sr.
1982 Joe Lortie, Atascadero Sr. & Blaise Smith, Atascadero Sr.
1983 Jim Ramos, Morro Bay Sr.
1984 Marty Gonzales, Templeton Sr.
1985 Adrian Cooks, Atascadero Sr.
1986 David Hurst, Atascadero Sr.
1987 Jamie Martin, Arroyo Grande Sr.
1988 Rob Kerns, Atascadero Sr.
1989 Scott McClain, Atascadero Sr.
1990 Clemente Sainten, Arroyo Grande Jr.
1991 Steve Hixson, Atascadero Sr.
1992 Nate Ecklund, San Luis Obispo Sr.
1993 Jasch Janowicz, Atascadero Sr.
1994 Dan Neff, Arroyo Grande Sr.
1995 Dan Loney, Atascadero Sr. & Jeff Spiller, Atascadero Sr.
1996 Lucas Smith, Arroyo Grande Sr.
1997 Drew Ecklund, San Luis Obispo Sr.
1998 Brett Collins, Paso Robles Sr.
1999 Scott Dodge, San Luis Obispo Sr.
2000 Jason Holmes, Paso Robles Sr.
2001 Scott Garrison, San Luis Obispo Sr.
2002 Paul Jordan, San Luis Obispo Sr.
2003 Dane Hodgson, San Luis Obispo Sr.
2004 Phil Garza, San Luis Obispo Sr.
2005 Jeb Heavenrich, Coast Union Sr. & Stuart Sheldon, Paso Robles Sr.
2006 Michael Reynoso, Atascadero Sr.
2007 Logan Budd, Morro Bay Sr.
2008 Nick Tenhaeff, Atascadero Sr.
2009 Eric Penningroth, Nipomo Sr.
2010 Elias Stokes, Paso Robles Jr.
2011 Seth Jacobs, Arroyo Grande Sr. and Garrett Owens, Arroyo Grande Sr.
2012 Tyler Baty, Mission Prep Sr.