CCS Senior of the Year
MARCOS REYES, APTOS
Even as one of the smaller teams in terms of both personnel and physical size, the Aptos Mariners were once again one of the top teams in the Central Coast Section, winning the Open Division III title and reaching a Northern California Championship Game.
Much of Aptos’ successes can be credited to excellent two-way players, including standout running back and linebacker Marcos Reyes. A speedster with tremendous abilities on both sides of the ball, Reyes rushed for 1,896 yards and 35 touchdowns on the season, breaking the 100-yard mark 10 times, including four performances over 200 yards. Of the four games in which he didn’t reach the century mark, three were blowout wins, including two that were shortened by running clocks.
“That’s a great year for a running back alone, but he also played every snap on defense,” said head coach Randy Blankenship. “When I rested him, he rested on offense.”
As prolific of a player as Reyes was, it would be easy to assume he’s a football guy through-and-through, with his sole focus on playing at the next level. As he explained when the Aptos seniors gave their speeches to the team at the end of the year, he was there for the team and the experience of being part of a program.
“He said, ‘football’s okay, but I played my butt off for you guys,’” Blankenship said. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”
That sort of attitude made Reyes the poster child for a program that harkens back to a different era, with a small-town community rallying around a team. Considering the way the Aptos fans came out to support the team, even for road games with lengthy trips, the Mariners definitely capture that feel that few teams can say they have in today’s world. The wing-T offense and two-way players is a perfect complement to that feel.
Somehow, Reyes has yet to receive interest at the next level. It’s certainly not an issue of academics, as he maintains a GPA over 4.0 and has been accepted to Pitzer College. He has plans to study business in college, though he’d like to continue his football career as well, and there’s certainly no lack of desire in the two-way star.
“He’s got a fire inside of him,” Blankenship said. “Some guys get all hyped up, but he kept it very calm.”
That competitive nature propelled him through a delirious playoff run, in which he ran for 647 yards and nine touchdowns over three CCS games. Even in a Northern California Division 4-A loss to McClymonds, he ran for three more scores to finish with 51 career rushing touchdowns.
With Aptos sticking to the run, he still managed to catch 12 passes, including a touchdown on a remarkable trick play in a close loss to Salinas.
For his efforts throughout the season, we are pleased to recognize Marcos Reyes as the Prep2Prep Central Coast Section Senior of the Year.
Others players considered included Burlingame’s Noah Lavulo, Menlo-Atherton’s Daniel Heimuli and Noa Ngalu, Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Anthony Heard, Salinas’ Poe Gaskins, and Valley Christian’s D’Von Lang.