MISSION — Even prior to his first snap of the 2018 RGV high school football season, Bears quarterback Trey Guajardo knew that his senior season on the football field at PSJA High would be the last time he played the sport.
The Bears passer threw his way into school, local and state recognition. Guajardo is the Monitor’s 2018 All-Area Offensive Player of the Year.
“Coming into the year I knew that, it being my last year putting on the pads, I just knew that every game I was going to give it my all for my team,” Guajardo said. “To bring back a district championship, something that hadn’t been done at PSJA in a very long time. We were able to get it done.”
He had attended football and baseball camps during the offseason. After a serious discussion with his family and coach Guajardo knew that his future would be on the diamond.
“I know his love for football and his passion for football is just as great as it is for baseball,” PSJA coach Lupe Rodriguez said.
His path to collegiate athletics revealed itself after receiving an offer for a full-ride to play baseball for UTRGV. That gave him a guaranteed 10 games to leave his mark on the gridiron.
If his goal was to become an unforgettable talent for years to come, consider it “Mission Accomplished.”
In 11 games, Guajardo threw 32 touchdown passes (to only four interceptions), completed 261 of 401 passes and racked up 3,371 passing yards. He was named to the Associated Press All-State honorable mention team and collected district MVP honors.
Bears football saw him have two seven-touchdown games in 2018.
All of that success came after the Bears graduated most of the receiving core from the 2017 team. That group, in Rodriguez’s first year in charge, found success but the 2018 Bears were able to improve on their 7-4, runner-up campaign in a new district.
“No doubt coming into my senior year we had to work,” Guajardo said. “Graduating a lot of those senior receivers, we knew it was going to hurt a little bit, but this offense just comes down to studying and knowing all the routes.”
There was no drop-off at the receiver position. The duo of Miguel Flores and Marco Guajardo even surpassed the numbers Nathan Sanchez and Nathaniel Miranda put up the season prior.
The potent, offensive play calling wouldn’t have been possible without the coach who took Guajardo under his wing after he came to PSJA from Mission Veterans following the 2016 season.
While the 2019 graduate just completed a career that will almost certainly be remembered for decades to come, his head coach was a shot caller from an era that paved the way for pass-first offenses in the Valley.
“We were very fortunate to be one of the teams at that time back in the late 80s to run that type of system,” Rodriguez said. “The coaches we had at the time, coach Rusty Dowling and coach (David) Lee came from out of state. They brought this type of offense down to the Valley.”
The veteran football mind and promising coach said not much has changed from those powerhouse throwing attacks of yesteryear.
“A lot of the system that I run is based off the things that we did as players back then, the things that I was taught growing up,” Rodriguez said. “And they still work. We’ve had several successes running the offense they did when they ran with us.”
After working with prolific passers at Mission Veterans such as Diego Hernandez and Landry Gilpin, Rodriguez knew that he had that type of athlete on his hands with Guajardo.
“When I got to PSJA, I knew that we would be okay because I knew the type of quarterback that was there,” Rodriguez said. “The very, very, very talented quarterback. He definitely made things go. Running that spread, you always have to have a trigger man and I’ve been very blessed.”
With an experienced offensive line and young, but capable receivers, Guajardo didn’t make the Bears wait any longer for their first district title since 2005.
“I’m very proud of what he was able to accomplish in such a short time,” Rodriguez said. “He did play a little looser knowing he already signed somewhere. He really wanted to make this year really special not only for him, but for his team, for us, for his school. He really did that. He played lights out and I couldn’t be more proud of him.’
Guajardo, who has been humble in success, victory, failure or defeat, was glad to have the award to take with him as he trades his quarterback towel for a baseball glove.
“This is the stuff I work for,” Guajardo said. “There’s no doubt I’m satisfied with the way my career ended.”