High School Football

Local Digest: Wagner steps down as Modesto head coach, MJC’s Abeyta signs with Nevada

Brett Wagner, head coach for Modesto High works the sideline during the Modesto vs Gregori Football at Gregori Friday Oct. 27th 2017
Brett Wagner, head coach for Modesto High works the sideline during the Modesto vs Gregori Football at Gregori Friday Oct. 27th 2017 mbicek@modbee.com

After leading the Panthers to back-to-back playoff appearances, Brett Wagner has stepped down as the head football coach at Modesto High.

“I was mulling it over and I was thinking about it during the season,” Wagner said on Tuesday. “I made the final decision a couple of weeks ago.”

Wagner, who told his team in the days following their loss to Sheldon in the first round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I playoffs, said he loved the job but just needed a “little breather” and wanted to take a “step back.”

Wagner is also preparing for a big arrival next month.

“My wife and I are expecting a baby in January,” he said. “I just need to focus on my personal life and doing things around here (home).”

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Jason McCoy stepped down as head coach at Gregori in early November to spend time with his family as well.

In his two years as head coach of the Panthers, Wagner was 12-10.

Wagner said he didn’t care as much about wins or losses but “being a role model” for his team and installing life values.

“We went from having one on-campus coach to having seven,” he said. We have a lot of good things to build from.”

MJC pitcher signs with University of Nevada

Modesto Junior College sophomore pitcher Blane Abeyta recently signed with the University of Nevada, Reno.

Abeyta, a Ceres High graduate, had 22 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched last year and finished with a 1.62 earned run average. Abeyta, who had five saves as well, was selected to the California Community College Sophomore Showcase in October.

“Blane has a chance to be an elite arm for us and eat up innings in his first year at Nevada,” Nevada coach T.J. Bruce said in a press release. “He is fairly new to pitching so his arm is fresh and his pitching acumen will get better and better with every outing he has. We are very excited for Blane’s future here and we can’t wait to get him to campus.”

Abeyta was a catcher in high school and didn’t start pitching until he arrived at MJC.

Former Oakdale wrestler wins CCCAA state title

Former Oakdale High wrestler Bronson Harmon won the 184-pound title at the California Community College State Championships in Cerritos last weekend.

Harmon, who wrestles for Sacramento City College as a true freshman, had his scholarship rescinded from Cal Poly in July after a video surfaced of him using an obscene gesture and homophobic slur during the Families Belong Together March in Modesto on June 30.

MJC had four wrestlers place in the top eight at the state championships.

Sac-Joaquin Section releases Fall Academic Team Champions

The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section released its 2018 Fall Academic Team Champions on Monday. Beyer had three teams finish in the top five, highlighted by its girls volleyball team who finished in first with a 3.80 GPA.

Beyer girls water polo (second, 3.50) and boys water polo (third, 3.40) were the other Patriots teams.

Other teams to make the list were Pitman boys water polo (second, 3.44) and girls tennis (third, 3.63), Big Valley Christian girls volleyball (third, 3.77) and boys cross country (fourth, 3.65), and Ripon girls water polo (fourth, 3.38).

Merced College creates task force to potentially bring back soccer teams

After 15 years, Merced College might be bringing back its soccer programs after the school announced a formation of a Soccer Program Task Force on Monday.

“The purpose of the task force is to explore the feasibility and develop an action plan for the creation of a new athletic soccer program,” the school said in a press release.

The task force will meet in the spring to develop the next steps in forming a men’s and women’s program.

“Over the past several years, the college has collected survey data through the student application process,” the release stated. “Unsurprisingly, in a soccer-rich area like Merced, a number of students indicated strong interest in participating in a soccer program.”