High School Football

Gregori QB Avina overcomes injury to become District’s football Player of the Year

Gregori’s Avina is District football Player of the Year

Gregori H.S. quarterback Bobby Avina, Who helped guide the Jaguars to an undefeated regular-season and the schools first MMC football championship, is the Stanislaus District football Player of the Year for 2017. (jcortez@modbeecom)
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Gregori H.S. quarterback Bobby Avina, Who helped guide the Jaguars to an undefeated regular-season and the schools first MMC football championship, is the Stanislaus District football Player of the Year for 2017. (jcortez@modbeecom)

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.

(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

Large School

Player of the Year: Bobby Avina, Gregori

Coach of the Year: Jason McCoy, Gregori

Offense

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

Defense

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

Small School

Coach of the Year: Frank Marques, Hilmar

Offense

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

Defense

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

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