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Football: Andre Apodaca nabs 2013 Times-Call Player of the Year honor

A defensive stalwart throughout his career, Silver Creek linebacker Andre Apodaca is the 2013 Times-Call Player of the Year.
Matthew Jonas
A defensive stalwart throughout his career, Silver Creek linebacker Andre Apodaca is the 2013 Times-Call Player of the Year.

When outsiders heard there was yet another Apodaca in the fold after record-setting quarterback Austin graduated from Silver Creek two seasons ago, they wondered which position this one played.

Another QB? A running back? No, maybe he was a receiver. He must have grown up catching passes from his brother.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Andre Apodaca is a linebacker, and a pretty good one at that. So good, in fact, that he has been named the Times-Call football Player of the Year for 2013. The younger Apodaca played an enormous role in helping the Raptors to the 3A championship game each of the past three seasons, including a title in 2012.

“He’s set his own niche and that’s neat,” said Raptors coach Mike Apodaca, who doubles as their father. “It’s hard enough to follow in a sibling’s footsteps, but I think he’s done a good job.”

Andre joins Austin Apodaca, now at Washington State, with a gaudy postseason honor — Austin was the overall Player of the Year in 2011 — even though the two are nothing alike on the field.

“We grew up with different body styles,” Andre Apodaca said. “He was taller and longer and I always was shorter and stockier. I always gravitated towards the positions on defense a little bit more, and I like to hit people, so it kind of worked itself out.”

After starting at a linebacker during his sophomore season, Andre knew defense was his calling card. He has yet to sign with a college program, but that process is underway and will really heat up after the holiday break, he said.

The success of the Apodacas has been particularly enjoyable to their father/coach, who found their distinct styles fascinating.

“Even as a coach sometimes, I’m kind of an average football watcher, for lack of a better term,” Mike Apodaca said. “When the play happens, whether it’s on offense or defense, you follow the ball. As a quarterback, since the ball is in his hands, you tend to see it a little bit more.

“On the defensive side, you watch the ball and it becomes something of a clutter. But the thing that has been a fun thing to watch is Andre setting his own mark.”

He did so to the tune of 153 tackles (12.8 per game), a total that included 8.5 for loss, five sacks and six caused fumbles. He was the Tri-Valley League defensive Player of the Year and has been nominated for the All-State game, a prospect that seems well within reach.

“In order to have a successful defense, it’s got to start in the middle,” Mike Apodaca said. “Just like a catcher, pitcher, shortstop of a baseball team or a point guard in basketball, on that side of the ball the guy in the middle has be someone who commands the respect of his teammates. I think that’s what Andre did.”

Andre’s achievements were well recognized around the school. When Johns Hopkins University-bound basketball player Emilie Rembert was asked her thoughts on Apodaca, considering he is one of Silver Creek’s most notable athletes and she one of the most notable female, Rembert said: “It’s an honor for me just to be compared to Andre because he’s a phenomenal athlete.”

Naturally, Andre wishes his Raptors would have corralled more than one championship in their three trips, but he’s not letting that tarnish anything about the remarkable run he’s been a part of.

“You can’t be disappointed with getting to the state championship three times in a row,” he said. “That’s pretty rare for that to happen, and to win one was just really special. I see it as a great journey through three years.

“Yeah, it’s disappointing at times that we didn’t win more, but you take the good with the bad and be thankful about where we got and how we played for those three years.”

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