CalHiSports.com names Strathmore’s running back Joseph Garcia State Small Schools Player of the Year
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
STRATHMORE—The accolades for the players of the 2017 D-6AA State Champion Strathmore Spartans keep rolling in. On Saturday, Jan. 13, Joseph Garcia was named State Small Schools Player of the Year by CalHiSports.com. While this recognition is one of the biggest ever received by a Spartan, Garcia had no idea it was even possible.
“It’s awesome,” Garcia said. “I didn’t even know that this existed, but it is great that they recognized me as one of the top players.”
Garcia is the third Central Section player to receive this award in the past seven years. He joins the likes of Edgar Segura of Mendota (2013), and Deontay Greenberry of Washington Union (2011). Also, on that list is current Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who received the award in 2012.
A pure workhorse, Garcia had production on both sides of the ball. Over the past three seasons, his downhill running style and the simplicity of the Spartans’ offense seemed to be matched perfectly. Although in no season before this one did it harmonize so well. On the ground he rumbled for 2,849 yards and 49 touchdowns. Combined with what Garcia did through the air and he finished with 3,190 and 53 touchdowns. All are records he had set the previous season. Plus, he rushed for over 100 yards in all 16 games, adding up to 178 yards a game on average. On the defensive side of the ball he had 79 tackles with 11 for loss and seven sacks. He also had two interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
As the season rolled on, it seemed Garcia’s talent got better the brighter the lights shined. Garcia rushed for 270 yards on 44 carries and five touchdowns in a rematch of the 2016 D-6A State Championship game against the St. Patrick-St. Vincent Bruins. While capturing the D-6AA Northern California Regional Championship. Eight days later he reeled off 40 carries for 223 yards and four touchdowns in the D-6AA State Championship 31-29 win over Orange.
In the win over Orange, Garcia, along with his teammates realized a dream, and completed the 16-0 perfect season. For Spartan head coach Jeromy Blackwell there is no mystery as to who brought home the title for Strathmore.
“We absolutely rode that guy to a state championship,” Blackwell said just minutes after the final play at El Modena High School.
For Garcia the individual accolades are a nice addition what has already been accomplished. Yet, nothing will replace the thrill of winning state with his team, and some of his family members.
“This year was something unique,” Garcia said. “Not everyone can say that they have won state with their own cousins, along with my teammates.”
Right now, Garcia is unsure where he will dawn a football jersey next. Currently he is in talks with the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen.
Regardless of where Garcia will play he will go down as one of the best Spartan running backs. He finished his career with 6,250 yards. All three years on varsity he rushed for over 1,000 yards. The only Spartan to accomplish that feat. Garcia also scored 102 career rushing touchdowns.