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Chatting it up with #32

•CV star running back/defensive back Ja’Quan Gardner

Chatting it up with #32

Ja’Quan Gardner is Central Valley’s all-time greatest running back.

POSTED August 29, 2013 10:32 a.m.

Promoted to Central Valley High School's varsity football team as a sophomore in 2011, Ja'Quan Gardner has piled up a program-record 3,547 yards and 40 touchdowns on the ground. He also ranks among the city of Ceres' all-time greatest running backs. Ja'Quan, a 5-foot-7 170-pound senior, will add to his offensive totals in 2013.

Sr. 5-7, 170
QUESTION: Pressure doesn't seem to bother you. Is that something that comes naturally?
ANSWER: I felt pressure my sophomore year. I know what to expect now. I got guys up front that block. I just like to go out there and have fun.

Q: This is your third season playing varsity football. You're a leader on the team. Do you enjoy filling that role?
A: It's a big role to take on. I'm not a vocal leader. I just try to lead by example.

Q: What have you done over the past couple of months to get ready for the upcoming season?
A: I've been hitting the weights. Coach (Jason McCloskey) has a good team workout plan in place. If you put in the effort, you're going to get something out of it.

Q: What do you enjoy most about football?
A: I love the team part. You got a group of dudes that have your back no matter what.

Q: Where do you get your athletic talent from?
A: From my mom's side of the family. Grandpa was quite an athlete. He played everything. He tells me stories all the time.

Q: Have you set any individual goals for the 2013 season?
A: I don't have any individual goals. I'm going to do everything in my power to help my team win.

Q: What's your favorite movie and why?
A: I like Coach Carter. There's something about that movie that gets me every time. I love watching it over and over. I also like watching ESPN's 30-for-30 documentaries. My favorite ones are You Don't Know Bo and the story about Marcus Dupree.

Q: Food you refuse to eat?
A: I hate olives. I don't know why.

Q: Any fears/phobias?
A: If I did have any, I wouldn't say what. I can't let my opponent get the upper hand on me.

Q: If you could meet any celebrity, who would it be?
A: Michael Jordan. He'd hook me up with some of his shoes.

Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
A: I like sleeping. I turn my iPod on shuffle, let it play and rest my eyes.

Q: Web sites you visit every day?
A: I check out Eastbay and YouTube a lot. I love shoes. I like to watch videos, highlights and comedic things.

Q: What's the best football-related advice you've received from a person?
A: I had my football stuff on while eating at In-N-Out Burger yesterday after the Buhach Colony team camp and some random man walked up to me. He told me to stay hungry and keep grinding. That's all you need.

Q: Central Valley has never had a winning season, won a league title or qualified for the playoffs? Will this year's team accomplish any of those goals?
A: Right when last season ended, coach made us write down our goals. We plan on making history. The talent is definitely there. We need to bring more emotion and fun to the game instead of playing like robots. We just got to put it together.

Q: Central Valley has experienced a tremendous amount of success against Ceres High since losing the inaugural Ceres Classic showdown in 2006. Will the Hawks extend their unbeaten streak versus the Bulldogs to seven games this season?
A: They have a lot of athletes over there. It should be a great game. They'll be prepared. We'll be prepared. I wish them the best.

Q: Do you have a favorite NFL team?
A: I don't have a favorite team. I like college better. They're trying to make it to the NFL. They play a lot harder.

Q: Who's your favorite NFL player?
A: I like watching (Minnesota Vikings All-Pro) Adrian Peterson. He can do it all, everything and anything. He's one of the greatest running backs of this generation.

Q: You're already considered Central Valley's greatest running back. You also rank high on the city of Ceres' all-time list based on your production for the past two seasons. Is that something you take a great deal of pride in?
A: It's an honor. I'm blessed. I just want to open doors for others. I want the younger players to be better than me. I know there will be better. Maybe it can be my brother.

Q: What's your Super Bowl prediction?
A: Niners and Texans. I don't like the Niners but they look good. You got to give credit where credit is due. I use the Texans when I play Madden Football.

Q: Central Valley opens the 2013 season at home against tradition-rich Manteca of the Valley Oak League on Aug. 30 at Bulldog Stadium. The Buffaloes compiled a 6-5 overall record, advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs and finished third in the Valley Oak League (5-2) last season. Do you have a prediction for the game?

A: I know they're over there working hard like we are. We're looking forward to playing them. It's going to be physical.

Q: What are your college plans?
A: I'm not really sure right now. I'm just waiting to see how it plays out. I want to go to a school that offers me a chance to play and a great education. I'm not picky. I like Fresno State. I went to their camp. It's a nice campus.



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