*The 49ers High School Player of the Week Award for week 9 goes to #12, Cheto Vasquez of Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, CA. *
After a three-week hiatus from the game, the Monta Vista Matadors arrived at Gunn High School with pent up energy and enthusiasm to play in the Titan's Homecoming game. Due to the poor air quality in the Bay area, Monta Vista's homecoming game was cancelled the week before, making the game against the Titans extra special for the Matadors. "We came back after a hard loss early in the season, a bye week and no Homecoming for our school, so were excited to play again…not to mention during another schools Homecoming game. We needed to respond in the right way and that's what we did," said Head Coach Adam Herald. Monta Vista would go on to steal the show, claiming a 26-14 victory over Gunn.
As star of Friday Night's show, Junior quarterback, Cheto Vasquez, showcased his talented run game throughout the night, rushing for 141 yards on 24 carries and scoring 2 touchdowns on the ground. "Our opponents defense has to factor him in as an extra running back on the field. He is an offensive weapon for us and one of our best running backs," boasted Coach Herald.
As a portable light was brought in before the game because one of the light standards in the southeast corner of the stadium went dark, the Matadors strategized how to use their run offense on that end of the field. Cue Vasquez. Darkness and the Titans defense were no match for #12 as he ended the second quarter with the team's second touchdown on a 19 yard run to the end zone in virtual darkness.
Coming out of the half, Vasquez continued being patient in the pocket and focused on the run game as the Matador defense was able to show what they were made of, keeping the Titans offense scoreless in the second half. Later in the 4th quarter, Vasquez's patience paid off when he ran for another 40 yard burst and scored with 4:32 left to play, putting the game away for the Matadors.
Known for his consistency in the quarterback position, Coach Herald explained these were the same kind of stats Vasquez has put up in the team's previous games this season because they rely on him a lot on offense.
When asked what it means to have a Junior quarterback like Vasquez on the team, Coach Herald responded, "He has bought into this program. Our team sees his preparation, hard work and commitment to the game which has earned him the trust and respect of his teammates and the coaching staff. Although he is a younger quarterback, his buy in has translated into buy in from both the Juniors and Seniors on the team."
Vasquez does whatever it takes to make himself and his team better and is a great model of leading by example. Coach Herald explained, "He will come to practice early or stay late to get extra reps in with our receivers. Missing practice or weights would never cross his mind. He is fully committed to this team."
On defense, Vasquez doesn't take a break. Whether he is talking through the previous series with an assistant coach, working through the next offensive drive with Head Coach Herald or throwing to stay warm with a teammate, he stays involved and in game mode.
"As a coaching staff we admire his resiliency. When plays or calls aren't going our way on the field, Cheto continues to push himself to do the best he can for the team. He continues to be patient, stay calm and execute."
Looking into the off season, Vasquez is excited to join the Matador track and field team as he works to build his speed for his 2018 Senior football season.
As the home school of the 49ers High School Player of the Week, Monta Vista will receive a $500 grant for their football program from the 49ers Foundation. As part of this award, Vasquez will receive two tickets to a 49ers home game where he will be recognized on the field during pre-game. At the end of the season, Vasquez will be invited to the SAP Performance Facility to watch a closed practice where 49ers head coach, Kyle Shanahan, will officially present him with his award.
Congratulations Cheto and keep up the hard work!