High School Football

Former Central Valley RB Ja’Quan Gardner has a big game. Now, a big honor.

San Diego Fleet running back Ja’Quan Gardner (32) breaks away from San Antonio Commanders defensive back Duke Thomas (21) for a long touchdown run as the fans cheer in the second half during a San Antonio Commanders at San Diego Fleet AAF football game, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)
San Diego Fleet running back Ja’Quan Gardner (32) breaks away from San Antonio Commanders defensive back Duke Thomas (21) for a long touchdown run as the fans cheer in the second half during a San Antonio Commanders at San Diego Fleet AAF football game, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit) AP


After rushing for 122 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s 31-11 win over the San Antonio Commanders, San Diego Fleet running back and former Central Valley star Ja’Quan Gardner was named the Alliance of American Football’s Offensive Player of the Week on Tuesday.

Gardner ran 83 yards for a touchdown on the Fleet’s first possession of the third quarter, the longest play in AAF history.

“It all started at the front with the offensive line and the tight ends and receivers doing their jobs,” said Gardner, who spent the 2018 NFL preseason in the San Francisco 49ers training camp and rushed for 104 yards in last Sunday’s 24-12 victory over the Atlanta Legends, told City News Service of Southern California. “I saw a hole and I hit it.”

Gardner leads the league in rushing yards (281), yards per carry (8), and is second in the league with three rushing touchdowns.

Gardner was the Bee’s 2014 Player of the Year after rushing for 2,467 yards and 27 touchdowns for the Hawks.

Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.

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