There were quarterbacks with more yards and more touchdowns, but few checked as many boxes as Bobby Avina.
The Gregori High signal-caller helped the Jaguars achieve a series of firsts this fall. First undefeated regular season. First conference championship. First home playoff game.
Since August, Avina has championed the company, deflecting all praise back to the program. Today, though, the spotlight belongs to the 6-foot-2 senior.
Avina is The Bee’s All-District Football Player of the Year, becoming the first QB to win the award since Modesto Christian’s Isaiah Burse in 2009 and the first Modesto Metro Conference player to snag the honor since Johansen running back Deven Cannon in 2008.
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(Click here to see who made the All-District team)
“He’s everything we want represented by our program,” Gregori coach Jason McCoy. “What he brought out in his teammates. What he was able to do for our team. He was the first one in the weight room. He ran track. He got guys to raise their game.”
Gregori soared to new heights with Avina at the controls. The Jaguars won the MMC in its final season, breaking up the stronghold created by Downey. Gregori won its first 11 games, routing Franklin of Elk Grove in front of home fans in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
“It was a great season. I couldn’t have done anything without the teammates around me,” Avina said. “We came together as a unit and we were a different team than Gregori has ever seen. We have a competitiveness about us. We wanted every win. We wanted to win the MMC title. We were hungry.”
Avina was named the Modesto Metro’s MVP after ranking among the section’s leaders in passing. He threw for 3,015 yards and 36 touchdowns against just five interceptions. He completed 67.5 percent of his passes, closing the season with a 135.5 quarterback rating.
Remarkably, Avina’s breakout season came after an injury to his throwing shoulder derailed his junior campaign. Avina fractured the AC joint and tore every ligament in his right shoulder after a tackle on a QB sneak. He missed the final six games of the season.
“He had a setback,” McCoy said, “but he didn’t mope or pout.”
No, Avina got back to work. He maximized his days, packing in therapy, training, track and eventually throwing sessions. Most of the time, his days would begin before sunrise.
At his lowest point, Avina dreamed of moments like this.
“I could have sat back and moped about it, but once I was able to start moving around more, I went back full force,” he said. “The off-season training was crazy. I worked out as much as I could and then (competed in) 7-on-7s. That prepared me for the season. I worked like crazy to be ready. Just knowing my junior season was cut short, I had to do something as a senior.”
History followed every Avina pass. He set program marks in yards, TDs, completions (186) and attempts (277), and was at his best in the Jaguars’ biggest games. He had 10 total TD passes in wins over Modesto, Downey and Franklin. He also threw two TDs in a season-ending loss to regional heavyweight Oak Ridge.
The offense was tailored to Avina’s strengths as McCoy brought in a QB guru, assistant Scott Vincent, formerly of Modesto High.
Vincent has coached four Modesto Metro MVP quarterbacks, including Avina.
“This was a team that was on a mission and Avina embodied that mission,” McCoy said. “He has his junior season cut short by injury, but he did all the right things. He went through the process; he’s a very process-oriented kid.
“He had high expectations and goals, but before he could achieve anyone of them, he had to get his strength and stamina back. He wanted to be better, so he did everything he needed to do to be successful.”
2017 All-Stanislaus District Team
Player of the Year: Bobby Avina, Gregori
Coach of the Year: Jason McCoy, Gregori
QB: Gino Campiotti, Manteca
RB: Dauson Booker, Central Catholic
RB: Cameron Cherry, Oakdale
OL: Nico Sarale, Oakdale
OL: Brandon Williamson, Central Catholic
OL: Kyle Reis, Manteca
OL: David Serrano, Central Valley
OL: Josh Hernandez, Gregori
TE: Gabe Sanchez, Gregori
WR: James Perez, Patterson
WR: Micah Irwin, Davis
Utility: Gabe Sanchez, Patterson
DL: Gabriel Cordero, Turlock
DL: Xavier Lewis, Downey
DL: Jacob Vainuku, Patterson
DL: Levi Ichord, Oakdale
DL: Matt Kjeldgaard, Oakdale
LB: Coleby Garrett, Central Catholic
LB: Peter Garcia, Gregori
LB: Ferrin Manuleleua, Manteca
LB: Jace Krick, Oakdale
DB: LJ Wallace, Buhach Colony
DB: Dustin Grein, Turlock
DB: Bronson Harmon, Oakdale
DB: Estevan Barragan, Central Valley
Utility: Marcello Longstreth, Gregori
Kicker: Dallin Tilby, Turlock
Coach of the Year: Frank Marques, Hilmar
QB: Jake Gookin, Sonora
RB: Isaac Sharp, Hilmar
RB: Javyn Drobnick, Big Valley Christian
RB: Tymon Bolden, Orestimba
OL: Otutua Afo, Sonora
OL: John Kelley, Calaveras
OL: Andres Alvarez, Orestimba
OL: Daniel Caldera, Gustine
OL: Ryan Higginbotham, Modesto Christian
WR: Rory Hansen, Modesto Christian
WR: Tyler Vargas, Orestimba
Utility: Luke Fulkerson, Summerville
DL: Willem Hoekstra, Ripon Christian
DL: Cameron Gamino, Ripon
DL: Luke Jenkins, Stone Ridge Christian
DL: Jamie Munoz, Orestimba
LB: Marcus Mouro, Hilmar
LB: Jack Camara, Sonora
LB: Octavio Perez, Orestimba
LB: Ryan Leonard, Mariposa
DB: Bryce Louters, Stone Ridge Christian
DB: Oliver Perez, Gustine
DB: Davion Gates, Modesto Christian
DB: Estephan Saucedo, Ripon
Utility: Michael Winters, Ripon
Kicker: Bryan Millan, Hilmar