Pacheco High’s Frank Ginda missed out on a player of the year award when the Western Athletic Conference released its all-league team last week, but he constituted two of the Panthers’ first-team selections.
The junior was named a first-team running back and a first-team middle linebacker. He was joined on the first team by offensive linemen Wyatt Orozco and Josh Tui, and on the first-team defense by lineman Nick Vermillion and safety Adam Perez.
“I think it speaks volumes about the type of player he is,” Pacheco coach David Snapp said. “He’s well-deserving of that award – he’s a first-team all-league guy on both offense and defense.”
Ginda carried 129 times for 1,116 yards despite playing the last three games with his right hand in a cast after fracturing his wrist. He added more than 80 tackles, with three sacks and three interceptions as the Panthers went 7-4 with a first-round playoff exit.
Three lineman selections said a lot about how the Panthers did in the trenches.
“Our defense played well all season, and the offensive line was the heart and soul of our team,” Snapp said. “I think without them, we’re not as good a football team as we ended up being. They tried to take on a leadership role and set the tone for the rest of the team.
“They have a thankless job – they don’t get to run the football, they don’t get to throw it, they don’t get their name in the paper, but without all five of those guys – not just the all-league guys, but all five of them – we wouldn’t be as good.”
Snapp pushed hard for Ginda to take the league’s MVP award, but it went to Central Valley running back Ja’Quan Gardner, who rushed for 2,467 yards on 219 carries.
Offensive player of the year went to Central Catholic running back Matt Ringer, and defensive player went to Patterson’s Ruben Rosas. Snapp said he also pushed for Perez to be in the mix.
“Adam’s the best safety in the league. If Frank would have gotten MVP, I would have put Adam up for the defensive player of the year award,” he said. “Against Central Catholic he had 20 tackles, and they weren’t tackles 20 yards downfield, they were at the line of scrimmage.”
Los Banos put two players on the all-WAC first team in senior lineman Josh Priest and junior linebacker Alec Barcellos.
The second team included Pacheco lineman Victor Cortez and quarterback Juwan Epperson on offense and lineman John Palomo on defense, and Los Banos’ lineman Michael Severino, inside linebacker Darren Baty and defensive back Chris Lonetree on defense.
The CV and CC running backs moving up to the player-of-the-year awards left a shortage of running backs for the second team, which meant Epperson and Central Valley quarterback Kendel Johnson made the team as running backs.
Los Banos sophomore Adam Herrera, who played in several spots on both sides of the ball, made the honorable mention list.