The Hofmann name is synonymous with Half Moon Bay High School football.
Breen Hofmann, a 1985 Half Moon Bay graduate, is a member of the Half Moon Bay High School Sports Hall of Fame after starring in football, soccer, wrestling and baseball. Eldest son Chase Hofmann won three consecutive Central Coast Section titles with the HMB football team and helped lead the Cougars to the state championship game in 2017. He has since gone on to star at Pacific University in Oregon and had his number retired by his alma mater.
Now Tristan Hofmann, the youngest of the Hofmann family, is making his name at Half Moon Bay and he might be the most impressive of the bunch.
“[Football] is pretty big for [my family],” said Tristan Hofmann, who also goes by the nickname “Chinny,” a moniker he got as a baby when 3-year-old Chase Hofmann couldn’t say “Tristan.”
“We’ve been playing football our whole lives.”
Now a junior and a three-year varsity starter, Hofmann went out and put together one of the best seasons the Peninsula has seen in several years. There may be more talented players at other schools, but there are few who are as dominant on both sides of the ball as Hofmann. So much so that the running back/linebacker — who helped the Cougars to the Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division title, an undefeated regular-season record, the No. 8 seed in the CCS Division I playoff bracket and was named Ocean Division Most Valuable Player — is the 2019 Daily Journal Football Player of the Year.
He joins his brother in winning the honor. Chase Hofmann was the 2017 Daily Journal Football Player of the Year.
“I don’t even feel like the stats do him justice,” Half Moon Bay head coach Keith Holden said. “Offensively, he’s very good. … Defensively, he’s a freak.”
And don’t forget punter. Hofmann is the team’s punter. And he’s also on the punt block team. Actually, the only time he comes off the field is for kickoffs and kickoff returns.
“He’s everywhere,” Holden said. “He makes a huge impact in every game. He would be good if we lined him up anywhere.”
As the main running back, Hofmann led the team in rushing, finishing with nearly 1,300 yards on just 177 carries, averaging just under 8 yards a carry and scoring 22 touchdowns. In a 56-14 win over Menlo School in Week 7, Hofmann set new school records for single-game yardage (363) and single-game touchdowns scored (6). He also added 15 catches for 146 yards and two more scores on the season.
From his linebacker spot, he recorded a team-high 99 tackles — more than double the total of second-leading tackler Quinn McCauley, who finished with 47. A dozen of Hofmann’s tackles went for losses, including five sacks. He also forced and recovered a fumble and blocked three punts this past season.
And as the Cougars’ punter, Hofmann averaged 36 yards — on all of nine punt attempts Half Moon Bay had.
That’s how dominant a season it was for the Cougars.
“I always want to be on the field,” Hofmann said. “It was nice to play all I can.”
While Hofmann’s play dictated his heavy workload, he almost didn’t have a choice. He’s not the only Cougar to play on both sides of the ball — a necessity when the roster is usually right around the 30-player mark.
“We want [our players] to play two-thirds of the game. That’s usually offense and special teams, or defense and special teams,” Holden said. “We say it every year, we really want our guys going one way — except for Chinny.”
Hofmann knows no other way to play the game. He has been playing both offense and defense since his Pop Warner days. Playing a majority of the snaps is nothing new to Hofmann.
“I’ve been playing both ways my whole life,” Hofmann said. “I know what to do to make life easier. It’s the way it’s been and that’s the way it’s going to be.”
Added Holden: “I asked his dad (Breen) during his freshman season, ‘He’s playing a lot. Is this going to be a problem?’
“He’s like, ‘Nah.’ He said it’s weird when he’s not playing. … When he was in Pop Warner, he was elite. He never came off the field.”
Maybe just as important as Hofmann’s play, is that his teammates understand he is a special player.
“Our kids get it,” Holden said. “There is no jealousy. No one is mad at him.”
The scary part about Hofmann’s game is that he plays it at such a high level. Holden said he didn’t see Hofmann get better as the season went along. Instead, Hofmann started at a high level and maintained it throughout the season.
“No one made as big a difference for our team than he did,” Holden said. “You think we have the success we had without him? We played some good teams and we played pretty well defensively. [Hofmann] is the difference maker. He erases a lot of mistakes. He is truly sideline-to-sideline. With the defense we run, he’s a perfect fit for that guy in the middle.”