When Frank Marques took over the Hilmar High football program in 2003, he said there were people in the community who didn’t think he’d last three years.
Here he is in his 17th season and on Friday night Marques recorded career win No. 150 with a 28-7 win at Sonora.
“I never thought I’d get there,” Marques said. “To me, it just means I’ve been really fortunate to have a great support group around me. I’ve had great support from my coaches, the community, administration and the boosters. I was fortunate to fall in the right place at the right time.”
Marques has guided the Yellowjackets 4-0 start this season with two huge games coming in the next two weeks against undefeated Ripon (4-0) and Escalon (4-0), which sent ripple waves through the Sac-Joaquin Section after defeating Downey 49-20 on Friday night.
In fact, Marques said he didn’t celebrate the milestone victory. There wasn’t time.
“Not at all,” Marques said. “We started talking about Ripon and preparing for them. A person much wiser than me once said it’s not how good you are, it’s how good everyone is and Ripon and Escalon are going to be a daunting task. They are both really good football teams and that’s going to make for a really fun two weeks.”
Yellowjackets quarterback Seth Miguel threw three touchdowns and added 76 yards on the ground on 10 carries. Senior Aidan Azevedo hauled in five catches for 75 yards and two scores. Cole Bailey added 54 rushing yards and a touchdown on five carries.
Defensively, defensive end Jesse Martinez led the way with 12 tackles and one forced fumble for Hilmar.
Marques has compiled a 150-49 record as he approaches the midway point of his 17th season as the Yellowjackets head coach. Marques has led Hilmar to four Sac-Joaquin Section championships and last year’s state title. Hilmar has made eight appearances in section championship games under Marques.
Marques was trying to remain tight-lipped about his milestone win. His family had other ideas.
“Only my family knew,” Marques said. “But they have big mouths so they let it out. They thought it would be a good idea to post it on social media.”
Marques graduated from Hilmar in 1981 and started his coaching career as an assistant at Hilmar in 1983. Other than a two-year stint in which he helped Tony Lewis at Merced College in 1997 and 1998, Marques has been coaching at Hilmar since 1983.
Marques says he’ll have plenty of time to reflect on milestones and accomplishments when he’s done coaching.
“It’s a nice number and it’s an achievement, but I’ll reflect more on that when my career is over,” Marques said. “That’s when I’ll look at the numbers. Right now I don’t want to focus on it. That’s something I’ll do later in life.”