By the time the San Joaquin Athletic Association football season was underway, Tracy High junior fullback Nate Jones had become the cornerstone of the Bulldogs’ rushing game.
This week, the SJAA announced that the league’s coaches had selected Jones as the 2013 most valuable player. Tracy coach Matt Shrout said Jones was the unanimous choice for the honor.
Jones finished the season leading the league with 1,174 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. That includes 701 yards in Tracy’s last five games and seven touchdowns in the two playoff games against Edison and Jesuit.
As the Bulldogs’ season ended Friday, Nov. 22, with a 49-28 loss to Jesuit, Jones said he had been confident since the start of the season that the Bulldogs (10-2, 5-0 SJAA) would get at least to the second round of playoffs.
“We weren’t expected to win that many games, but we took that negative energy and turned it into a work habit, and we just kept on working and set goals and standards,” he said.
Shrout said that at the start of the season, he had other capable running backs in starting roles and figured Jones would eventually be among them.
“We brought Nate along slowly,” Shrout said. “One or two games into league, he was the guy. He was the starter and we never looked back.”
This is the second year in a row Tracy has had a league MVP. Bruce Russell, a senior fullback on the 2012 Tracy team, was co-MVP for the SJAA last year.
Among the SJAA players of the year is senior punter Anthony Nunez, who averaged 43 yards per punt. Nunez was also one of the Bulldogs’ leading wide receivers with 177 yards on 12 catches.
All-league selections for West, Kimball and Millennium had not been released as of this week.
All-San Joaquin Athletic Association
Nate Jones, junior, most valuable player
Anthony Nunez, senior, punter
Damon Stroup, senior, first-team quarterback
Jason Nelson, junior, first-team running back
Clay Fegett, senior, first-team offensive line
Nate Brown, junior, first-team offensive line
Chaz Briggs, senior, first-team inside linebacker
Brandon Russell, junior, first-team outside linebacker
Jet Torres, senior, first-team defensive end
George Obinna, senior, first-team defensive line
Jacob Alvarado, junior, first-team defensive back
Luke Pulliam, senior, first-team defensive back
Cameron Divoky, senior, honorable mention kicker
Eric Hawkins, senior, honorable mention running back
Donovan Haro, junior, honorable mention linebacker
Alex Warner, senior, honorable mention offensive-defensive line
Chris Mahar, senior, honorable mention linebacker
Will Alexander, junior, honorable mention defensive back
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.