APTOS — Aptos High head football coach Randy Blankenship didn’t call Marcos Reyes into his office, give him a ra-ra speech and tell the junior running back that he needed to step up.
Blankenship didn’t need to.

Reyes, the Mariners’ lone returning offensive weapon with any notable varsity experience, said he and his coach were on the same wavelength heading into the 2017 campaign.

There was no need for any dramatics.

“He knew and I knew what I needed to do and what he expected out of me,” Reyes said.

Reyes not only lived up to Blankenship’s expectations, he shattered them.

The power-running downhill back bulldozed his way to a spectacular season in which he led Aptos to its eighth straight Central Coast Section playoff appearance, was recognized as the top offensive player in the Monterey Bay League Gabilan division and etched his name into the program’s record book.

Now, the Pajaronian is adding another line to Reyes’ long list of accomplishments. We are naming Reyes our All-RP Football Player of the Year.

With Aptos graduating all of its offensive firepower from the 2016 season and moving into the MBL-G after the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League disbanded, the Mariners needed new stars to step into several roles.

A handful of newcomers did and Reyes, who only ran the ball sparingly last season, spearheaded the effort.

“He was a junior, but you could tell that everyone really looked up to him,” Blankenship said. “He had to step up and be a leader a year before we expected him to, but he really took on the role.”

He measured in at only 5-foot-7 and 176 pounds, but Reyes played like Hercules when the Mariners needed him to. He guided Aptos to a second-place finish in the brutally tough MBL-G behind Salinas High, which went on to also win the CCS Open Division I title and play in a California Interscholastic Federation regional bowl game.

Over the Mariners’ seven-game league slate, Reyes ran for more than 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns, according to stats provided by Aptos, and was named the MBL-G’s co-Offensive Player of the Year.

Reyes’ solidified himself as one of the top offensive difference makers in the Monterey Bay by rushing for 292 yards and four touchdowns against Monte Vista Christian. His performance tied Mike Allshouse’s single-game rushing record set in 1991.

In total, Reyes ran for 1,276 yards and 17 touchdowns. His season rushing total was good enough for third most in program history, and he will enter next season just 332 yards from the career record of 2,082 yards, also set by Allshouse in the early ‘90s.

Reyes, who also started at inside linebacker, could have possibly gotten even closer to the record if he had not injured his ankle during the Mariners’ final regular season game.

Aptos was bounced in the first round of the CCS Open Division III playoffs by eventual finalist Terra Nova High without Reyes and several other injured starters.

Blankenship said the Mariners’ fortunes could have been different if Reyes had been available for the playoffs.

“If he doesn’t get hurt in the last week of the regular season,” Blankenship said, “I think we make a run at another CCS title. He was that good.”

Reyes said he started playing football at the age of 6 but didn’t lineup in the backfield until he reached high school. In Pop Warner, he was a heavyset guard that loved the game, and in junior high he was cut from the flag football team.

All of that only served as motivation.

“I was big, I was chubby — that’s just the way it was,” Reyes said. “It helped. It motivated me.”

Blankenship said that motivation was apparent throughout the offseason strength and conditioning program, where Reyes flashed signs of greatness. The coach said his running style, footwork, burst and toughness reminded him of Palma High alumnus Emilio Martinez, who as a senior last season ran for 2,482 yards and 39 touchdowns.

“The other coaches were saying, ‘I don’t know coach, that guy was pretty good,’” Blankenship said. “Then he comes out in the Jamboree and has that big performance. I said, ‘I told you guys. I think we might have something special this year.’”

They did.


_Bautista, Nicholas_online

M.V.C. junior receiver Nick Bautista was one of the best pass catchers the CCS had to offer. 

Tough, explosive and blessed with a great set of mitts, the 6-foot, 180-pound wideout finished the year ranked second in total receiving yards (1,102), third in receiving yards per game (110.2), fourth in total receptions (69) and tied for 14th in receiving touchdowns (10) among players from the CCS.  

His 13 receptions and 257 yards receiving against San Benito High were both the second best single-game performances in program history.  



St. Francis High senior linebacker Josh Kovacs was the Sharks’ stalwart at the heart of their stingy defense, which helped produce a program record eight wins as well as the team’s first league title.

Kovacs and Co. posted three shutouts and allowed only 10.9 points per game this season, as St. Francis earned a share of the Mission Trail Athletic League Coastal division championship. 



For the eighth straight season, a Blankenship-led Aptos team advanced to the CCS playoffs. 

This year’s postseason berth, however, might be the most impressive.

The Mariners graduated a multitude of starters on both sides of the ball and yet they were not only able to compete during their first year in the MBL-G, they nearly won the league title.

Aptos, which has captured three section crowns under Blankenship, won six of its seven league games — only falling to champion Salinas — by an average margin of 29 points.



>> Sean White, M.V.C., Sr.

Running backs
>> Marcos Reyes, Aptos, Jr.
>> Cody Paresa, M.V.C., Sr.

>> Nick Bautista, M.V.C., Jr.
>> Daniel Brierley, M.V.C., Jr.
>> Blake Wheeler, Aptos, Sr.

>> Carson Cuzick, S.F., Sr.

Offensive linemen
>> Alex Austen, Aptos, Sr.
>> Johnny Ceballos, S.F., Jr.
>> Joseph Gutierrez-Lee, Aptos, Sr.
>> Andres Galvan, Watsonville, Jr.
>> Justin Torres, Aptos, Sr.

>> Diego Moreno, Watsonville, Jr.


Defensive linemen
>> Cory Margo, M.V.C., Sr.
>> Irepan Romero, P.V., Sr.
>> Darian Gutierrez-Lee, Aptos, Sr.
>> Cory Parker, S.F., Sr.

>> Shane Modena, Aptos, Jr.
>> Evan Delozier, Watsonville, Sr.
>> Josh Kovacs, S.F., Sr.
>> Desmond Mendoza, Aptos, Sr.

Defensive backs
>> Andrew Seymour, S.F., Jr.
>> Garret Laine, M.V.C., Sr.
>> Nick Arroyo, M.V.C., Sr.
>> Joseph Ramirez, S.F., Jr.

>> Isaac Baltazar, Watsonville, Sr.

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