Aguilar, Cody and Me

This blog is usually about keeping up with the sporting careers of our past area prep stars. But in the wake of former area prep star Felipe Aguilar being named just the fourth football coach at Los Altos last week, I thought what better time than to discuss how in 2000 I picked Aguilar over Shaun Cody, who is now with the Detroit Lions, as this area’s football Player of the Year.
A variety of different people have asked me over the years how I could make such a decision when Cody had more upside potential for future greatness of the two.
But my view of Player of the Year, as does college football’s Heisman Trophy, is not all about what player has greater potential, but who had the better season that year and who is more valuable. That’s always been my criteria, and will continue to be.
It’s the same reason I didn’t didn’t select Charter Oak’s Chuck Tiffany first team all-area during his junior season. While he was clearly the player in the area with the most talent, he didn’t play enough due to injury that season, in my mind, to warrant first team all-area. But that’s an argument for another post.
Back to the topic.
Cody was clearly the most-talented player in the area in 2000. You knew he had the potential to be a collegiate All-American, and to eventually play in the NFL. But again, I’ve always judged it by what happens on the field, not potential or talent.
The Aguilar argument:  He had arguably the single-best season ever by a Valley quarterback, matching Pat Haden’s Valley record of 42 TD passes and coming within 67 yards shy of Mike Smith’s passing yardage mark. He also  marched  Los Altos back from playoff elimination, leading them on an 80-yard TD drive with less than two minutes to play in a 28-27 victory over  California in the divisional semifinals.
The Cody argument: From an athletic standpoint, the most talented player in the area in 2000. He would later become an All-American at USC and play for the Detroit Lions of the NFL. He was a sack machine at Los Altos, getting 33 his junior year and backing it up with 23 in 2000. He also was the top tight end in the area, and also showed is worth as bull-dozing fullback near the goal line. He also came up big in Los Altos’ victory over Charter Oak in the divisional finals.
The final decision: As far as I was concerned, there was no wrong decision here. Cody, like stated above, was clearly the most-talented player in the area, but matching a Valley record that was held by arguably one of the area’s all-time players, was hard to overlook, and in the end, I couldn’t. Also, Aguilar leading Los Altos on the drive in the semifinals ranks, on the high-school scale in my mind, right up there with John Elway’s “The Drive.” It’s what quarterbacks are expected to do, and when they do, they are rewarded. I did the same with Aguilar.
Final thoughts: I still have no regrets and stand by my decision to this day.
I’ve never heard any arguments from either player, so I will take that as approval.

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