Nick Bandanza, Top Quarterback in CCS


Senior Nick Bandanza warming up pregame.

Megan Morrison, Staff writer

Heading into the 2020-2021 football season, Senior Nick Bandanza was named the top ranked quarterback in the CIF Central Coast Section. Ranging from San Francisco to Kings City, the Central Coast Section (CCS) consists of 102 high school football teams.


“It was a great honor from the publication,” Nick Bandanza said. “I give all the credit to the team last year, everybody around me, and my coaches…I felt humbled, excited, thankful, all those emotions came rushing in.” 


As reported by Scorebook Live, “Bandanza started at quarterback for the Bruins as a sophomore and took a big step forward during his junior campaign. In 2019 he helped Branham to an 11-2 record that included an overtime loss to Milpitas in the CIF Division 4 Championship game, finishing the season with 22 touchdown passes, 678 rushing yards, and seven rushing touchdowns.” 


Playing tackle football since he was nine years old, Nick has grown to deeply understand and read the game. “I’m not a super fast, super strong guy,” he said. “I’m pretty skinny, but being able to understand the game from a mental aspect, I think helps a lot.”


Working with the offensive coordinator, reviewing game tapes, and attending training sessions, senior receiver and safety, David Sandel, has played alongside Bandanza throughout the years. Since elementary school, the two of them have been dreaming of scoring touchdowns together.  


“Nick is a great leader,” said Sandel. “He’s confident at all times, even in last week’s loss, he still had his head up the whole game…He also reads the game very well mentally…it’s great to have that sense of confidence in your quarterback. It’s not something that everyone has.”


Coaching Branham’s football team on and off for the last ten years, Branham graduate class of 2010 Coach Stephen Johnson is living his dream of coming back to give back to Branham, now as head coach. 


The football team has been conditioning since the summertime but they were not very confident they would have a season.  The players and coaches are grateful to be able to have a season this year. Coach Johnson said, “There was no other place I would have rather been on a Friday night, then exactly where I was at,” said Coach Johnson. “I am grateful just to have a season and be able to do what I love for my community, even if it’s only for five weeks so it’s a blessing and I’m just happy to have a season.”


“His love for the game, his drive to be the very best he can be, that’s what sets him apart from others. He’s mature beyond his years, that’s one thing that’s very much so abundant when it comes to Nick. It isn’t just that, he’s a competitor. He doesn’t like to lose. That’s what really drives him to be successful and we can’t ask for much more of a guy like him…I mean, Nick is a coach’s dream.”