MISSION — After a season of eliciting the words “what a catch,” “what a run” and “what a throw” from football fans across South Texas, Mission Veterans receiver and quarterback AJ Gonzaque received his 2019 Whataburger Super Team Award on Thursday at Mission Veterans High School.
Dave Campbell Texas Football and Whataburger teamed up to honor the top stars in Texas high school football with the Whataburger Super Team. According to TexasFootball.com, “Texas high school football fans across the state cast over 300,000 ballots on TexasFootball.com, and 40 outstanding athletes from all parts of Texas rose to the top to be named with this unique honor.”
“It’s just a blessing. All the hard work and dedication that I’ve put into this game that I love to play just pays off in the long run,” Gonzaque said. “This is a prestigious award and I’m just thankful and blessed, honestly.”
In the past week, Gonzaque, a junior, was named to the Texas Sports Writers Association Class 5A All-State team, won the championship at the prestigious Pylon 7 on 7 Tournament in Dallas and was named the Most Valuable Player, was named the MVP of the 2019 Mission Veterans Patriots at the team’s banquet, and most recently received a trophy representing his spot on the 2019 Whataburger Super Team.
As a sophomore, Gonzaque was an all-state receiver. Through six games in his junior season, he was on pace to shatter a number of Patriots program receiving records as he brought in 29 receptions for 480 yards and nine touchdowns.
But an injury to the Patriots starting quarterback in Week 7 left Mission Veterans head coach David Gilpin searching for an answer after the game.
“Before I even got out of my desk that night after the Donna game, I did not have to go find him. He showed up at my door and said, ‘Coach, I know you’re going to need me to be the quarterback and I’m willing to do it,’” Gilpin said. “I never even had to ask him and that speaks volumes because it’s very easy for a superstar to be selfish and say I’m going to get my numbers first, forget about the team wins. AJ chose to go the opposite direction and unselfishly did what the team needed him to do.”
In five games as a quarterback, a position he hadn’t played since the eighth grade, Gonzaque racked up 1,288 passing yards, 529 yards on the ground, and 26 combined passing and rushing touchdowns, leading Mission Veterans to a third consecutive district championship.
“I’m the type of person that I’ll do anything for my team. When our quarterback went down, someone had to fill those shoes, so I decided I should go and fill those shoes,” Gonzaque said. “Coach Gilpin told me that we’ll be OK, and I trust anything my head coach tells me, and we ended up winning a district title.”