Highlights | Downey 55, Johansen 24
With his size and smarts, there’s no telling where Gregori High tight end Gabe Sanchez will end up.
He’s a fast-rising prospect on the recruiting trail and one of the Stanislaus District’s most sought-after seniors.
With a 6-foot, 5-inch frame and strong hands, Sanchez is being courted by the Air Force Academy, University of San Diego, Columbia University and Cal.
While we don’t know where Sanchez will end up, we do know where you can find The Bee’s ninth-ranked returning player: In the end zone.
Sanchez leads the Jaguars with 645 yards and eight touchdowns on 37 receptions. He had a career-high 160 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 42-15 victory over Enochs.
His eight catches were nearly half as many as he had all of last season.
Sanchez has topped 100 receiving yards in two of the last three games, giving coach Jason McCoy hope that his big down-field target is building toward an bigger finish.
At 7-0, Gregori is in the hunt for the school’s first Modesto Metro Conference title and ranked No. 5 in The Bee’s large-school poll.
Now, here’s a look at the rest of the “Star Stars” from Week 7 of the high school football season:
Bobby Avina, Gregori: A regular “Stat Star,” Avina completed 17 of 25 passes for a season-high 274 yards and four touchdowns in the win against Enochs. For the season, Avina is completing 72.4 percent of his passes for 1,670 yards. He has thrown 20 touchdowns against just two interceptions.
Cameron Cherry, Oakdale: The Stanislaus District’s leading rusher, Cherry racked up 183 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. He had touchdown runs of 34 and 82 yards, highlighting the Mustangs’ 48-7 victory over Sierra.
Miles Lewis, Downey: The Knights pulled all of their starters after the first quarter against Johansen, but Lewis needed only 12 minutes to showcase his explosiveness. The running back scored four touchdowns in the opening quarter, including three on the ground. He finished with 78 yards on seven carries and had one reception for a 50-yard TD. Downey led 41-8 after the first quarter.
Paul Puaauli, Modesto Christian: After missing his entire junior season with an ACL tear and a slow, tentative start to the season, Puaauli broke loose in a thrilling 42-41 victory at Ripon. The bull-dozing fullback and middle linebacker scored three touchdowns, including a 21-yard rumble that sparked a 28-0 run by the Crusaders.
Mario Hernandez, Modesto Christian: The sophomore did his best work on special teams. Hernandez was 6 of 7 on extra-point kicks and blocked the potential game-tying kick with less than 2 minutes left in the game.
Clay Abrams, Buhach Colony: The Thunder signal-caller threw touchdowns to Colorado-bound LJ Wallace, Isaiah Long and Andres Bernabe in a 27-14 victory over Pitman. Abrams tacked on a 1-yard touchdown run as Buhach Colony remained in the hunt for a Central California Conference title.
Levi Huffman, East Union: Huffman shouldered the load for the Lancers in a virtual must-win game against Lathrop. Huffman carried the ball four times for 49 yards and a score, caught a 23-yard touchdown pass and had nine tackles, including three for a loss.
Colton Weidner, Mariposa: The Grizzlies quarterback accounted for four touchdowns in a 44-19 victory over Waterford. Weidner rushed for three touchdowns and threw another as Mariposa rallied back from a 19-6 halftime deficit. The Grizzlies outscored Waterford 28-0 in the second half.
Michael Dinkins, Le Grand: Dinkins’ hands helped the Bulldogs snap a four-game losing streak in Southern League play. Dinkins gave Le Grand all the cushion it would need with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Alberto Marquez. The scoring play was set up by Dinkins’ 41-yard reception.
Oliver Perez, Gustine: Perez handled the scoring load in Gustine’s 20-6 victory at Ripon Christian. Perez (14 rushes for 88 yards) nailed two field goals –26 and 47 yards – and scored on an 8-yard carry in the fourth quarter. Gustine led just 3-0 at the intermission, but put the game away with 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Tristan Crowley, Hilmar: Crowley and the Yellowjackets bounced from a rocky league-opening loss to Escalon with a 29-19 victory at Hughson. Crowley stretched the field, completing eight passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns to Carter Azevedo.
Tymon Bolden, Orestimba: Bolden rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries in the Warriors’ 58-20 victory at Denair. Orestimba, the Bee’s top-ranked small-school program, has now won 18 consecutive games in Southern League play. A two-year starter, Bolden has played a crucial role in the streak. He leads the Southern League with 884 rushing yards.