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By ROY HESS | The Brownsville Herald
Just having him touch the ball meant the three-year starter would find ways to accumulate substantial rushing and passing yardage that often led to a touchdown.
As a highlight to his final season of playing for the Tarpons, Aguilera is The Brownsville Herald’s 2018 Football All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year.
The Metro area includes Brownsville, Los Fresnos, and Port Isabel.
“It’s an honor to receive this award,” said Aguilera, who hopes to play in college. “I couldn’t do what I did without my teammates and the coaches, and my family, too. Actually, I can’t believe I got this award.
“I’m just proud of my teammates,” Aguilera added. “We gave it all we had.”
For the season, Aguilera rushed 121 times for 1,174 yards and 20 touchdowns. He averaged 9.7 yards per carry. As a passer, Aguilera completed 69 of 150 attempts for 804 yards and nine TDs with eight interceptions.
Under first-year coach Jason Strunk, who came to Port Isabel from Lubbock, the Tarpons, 4-6, ended the season playing at a much higher level than they started.
Strunk said his QB was a big factor in helping the team make some big strides throughout the 2018 campaign.
“Cesar was one of the few kids that knew my name on Aug. 6, when we started training camp (since I had just been recently hired),” Strunk said. “Getting here so late was a unique experience, a beneficial one (actually), in terms of growing as a coach.
“Well, from Day 1, I knew I could count on Cesar,” Strunk added. “I knew immediately that he was a leader. He practiced with confidence, he carried himself with poise and he was a hell of an athlete. I could see it.”
Aguilera came up with some explosive offensive showings during the season.
Against Progreso on Oct. 19, Aguilera highlighted a 46-9 victory by completing seven of 10 passes for 110 yards and four TDs, and rushing nine times for 155 yards and two scores.
The Tarpons came up short 57-56 in their bi-district loss to West Oso on Nov. 16 at Mercedes. In that game, Aguilera rushed 30 times for 291 yards and five TDs, and completed nine of 13 passes for 120 yards and a pair of scores.
Also, during a 48-21 win over Grulla on Oct. 5, Aguilera rushed 13 times for 270 yards and five TDs.
Strunk said Aguilera is just an amazing athlete.
“He learned three offenses in three years (under three different head coaches),” Strunk said. “That is tough on anyone, let alone a QB. He picked it up quickly (when I installed my offense). I learned more about him each week, and he turned it on each week.
“With him and (running back) Brayan Medina in our backfield, we turned things around,” the Tarpons coach added. “They were a dynamic duo. When we lost Brayan to an injury in Week 7, teams zeroed in on Cesar, and he still put up eye-popping numbers.”
The playoff loss to West Oso was Aguilera’s most productive outing. The Tarpons almost came away with the win, missing a field goal during the final seconds. The two teams combined for more than 1,100 yards of offense.
“Cesar had an unbelievable playoff game,” Strunk said. “I never saw anything quite like what he pulled off that night. He showed people what we are all about and what we will be about moving forward. He bought in (to our system), and he left it all on the field.”
Aguilera was named the top offensive player in District 16-4A Division II this season as well.
“Coming back from last year (with a 2-7 record), and coming into this season with a new coach, we were all in (with the new system), and our hard work really paid off,” Aguilera said. “Going from two wins to four wins this season was good. We all put in hard work (to make it happen).
“I believe this season will be a good start (to better seasons ahead for the Tarpons),” Aguilera added. “I’ve been seeing what the guys are doing in the offseason, and everyone is working hard. Not one person is slacking. That’s something I like to see.”
Strunk said if it works out for Aguilera to play college ball, some school will be getting a standout player.
“He is a tremendous talent,” the Port Isabel coach said of his QB. “He is going to make a college program very happy when he arrives on campus.”
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