Like a jigsaw puzzle finally taking shape, Tk Teneng said his senior year was the result of several pieces falling into place.
An offseason car accident forced the Pacheco High School running back to take stock of his life, and he opted for a number of changes. Seeing football as a path to better things, Teneng upped his effort in school, changed his diet and recommitted himself to the sport he loves.
The results, on and off the field, were undeniable. The senior set career highs with 189 carries for 1,426 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. He ranked 15th in the Sac-Joaquin Section for yards, with many players ahead of him having the benefit of multiple playoff games. The Western Athletic Conference took note and named Teneng co-Outstanding Offensive Player with Los Banos left tackle Jacob Geist.
“Everything kind of came together for me,” Teneng said. “One thing led to another. The more I focused in school, the more I focused in practice. The more extra effort I gave in practice, the more the guys around me gave also. It wasn’t all me. My offensive line performed better than a lot of people expected. It’s a lot easier to break tackles when you can get past the defensive lineman untouched.
“The season obviously didn’t end how I wanted. Your senior year you want to play for a section title, and we didn’t even make the playoffs. We didn’t meet our team goals, but I felt like I had a pretty good year individually.”
Teneng was one of three local players to win a major WAC award, joined by Geist and his fellow Tiger Juan Bravo (co-Outstanding Defensive Lineman). League champion Central Valley swept the rest of the awards, including MVP Erik Mejia, Outstanding Defensive Player Carlos Fregoso, co-Outstanding Defensive Lineman Gabriel Quezada, Outstanding Kicker/Punter Angel Lopez and Coach of the Year Scott Edwards.
Los Banos coach Dustin Caropreso said his pair distinguished themselves through sheer effort.
“They’re built very differently, but they’re kind of cut from the same mold,” Caropreso said. “They both have motors that won’t quit. Our offense isn’t nearly what it was the last three years without Geist on the line. No matter if he gets beat or he executes a play perfectly, he’s always going 110 percent, and more often than not he’s blocking someone up the field.
“I’d be a liar if I said I knew Juan was going to be one of our top defensive linemen when the season began. He’s small in stature but big in heart, and he just doesn’t quit. He was always around the ball. At the end of the night, he was always one of our leading tacklers because of it.”
Eight other local players were named to the all-WAC team, led by four Tigers. Running back Chris Kyles, offensive lineman Gilbert Pena, outside linebacker Tristan Soares and middle linebacker Mason Leao joined Geist and Bravo. Pacheco added three in offensive lineman Nik Sabala, wide receiver Carl Schofield and defensive back Chris Munoz. Livingston offensive lineman Manny Ramirez was also named to the first team.