The McNary High School freshman football team closed its season with an awards and recognition banquet Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Coach Ted Anagnos began by recapping the season applauding the boys for their persistence after starting 0-3 in non-league games to rally to a 4-1 second place finish in the Central Valley Conference. “I was real proud of these coaches and players for working hard and not letting up after the Barlow game,” he said.

The goal of the program, Anagnos said, is “not only trying to make good football players, but we are trying to make better citizens. We ask kids to be prompt for practice every day, work hard for the betterment of the team, and stick together. We want them to work hard to become taxpayers, not tax collectors.”

The banquet then moved to the awards ceremony. Anagnos stressed that the freshman level awards are not passed out to only the best players.

The first two awards were voted on by team members. Anthony Bugado received recognition as the most inspirational player and Jordan Cagle was voted most improved.

Bugado was always seen and heard encouraging his teammates, even in the toughest times, Anagnos said. Cagle moved from being a third and fourth stringer to starting every game after week four.

Each coach then presented their coach’s award.

Offensive Coodinator Justin Barchus awarded David Gonzales for working hard and coming to practice every day after an early season suspension to become a leading player at receiver and cornerback.

Offensive Line Coach Jared Van Cleave presented Cody Harrison his award for playing consistently week in and week out thru sickness and injuries at offensive tackle.

Defensive Line Coach Todd Scott recognized offensive/defensive lineman Juan Marquez for his hard work in practice everyday. “He has a great smile, excellent work ethic and loves the game,” Scott said.

Defensive Coordinator Tony Vredenburg praised Tyler Clemens for his relentless and hard play on every down. “Clemens started at linebacker and played running back. He rarely took a play off,” Vredenburg said.

Anagnos then awarded Connor Goff, Cole Thomas and Cagle his coach’s awards. Thomas was fourth stringer, but worked hard in practice every day. “When he did get to play against North Salem he played so well he earned playing time the rest of the season at reciever and defensive back,” Anagnos said.

Cagle wouldn’t quit and went from fourth stringer to starter on both sides of the ball, Anagnos said. “After being one of our leading tacklers at nose guard and a reliable blocker center, he played nearly every down the rest of the season,” he added.

Goff packed his lunch and came to work every day, Anagnos said. “Despite being a leading tackler at linebacker on defense and the leading scorer as the running back on offense, Connor always put the team ahead of his personal accomplishments. He is an exceptional leader.”