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MaxPreps recognizes Hawk RB
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The honors keep pouring in for Ja'Quan Gardner.

The Central Valley High School senior running back was selected to the MaxPreps 2013 All-Northern California First Team on Jan. 9.

"He's the best football player I have ever coached," Hawks leader Jason McCloskey said. "I'm really proud of him. I can't wait to see him play on Saturdays."

Gardner shattered the Stanislaus District's career and single-season rushing yard records this past season.

He totaled 2,467 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2013. Ja'Quan ranks first on the District's career rushing yards list (6,014). Gardner tallied a program-best 67 TDs.

Ja'Quan piled up 378 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries during 15th-seeded Central Valley's 69-55 loss to No. 2 Manteca in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs. He also tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Christian Romo.

The Buffaloes (13-2) captured section and Valley Oak League titles.

Gardner rushed for 330 yards and three TDs in a 43-34 loss to Central Catholic in Western Athletic Conference play.

The Raiders (15-1) won State, NorCal and Section championships.

"It's not just me," said Gardner, who was quick to praise his teammates. "They helped me along the way. They kept me grounded."

Central Valley reached its team goal of qualifying for the playoffs for the first time thanks in large part to Ja'Quan's dominance on the gridiron. The Hawks also secured their first-ever winning record (6-5).

"I wasn't really thinking about it (breaking individual records)," Gardner said. "Getting wins, that was the most important thing."
Ja'Quan was selected to the MaxPreps 2013 All-Sac-Joaquin Section First Team on Jan. 6.

He was voted USA Today/Asics Ultimate Athlete of the Year in December.

Gardner was also named WAC MVP.

Ja'Quan hasn't received any college scholarship offers yet.

"The recruiting doesn't pick up until mid-January and February," McCloskey said. "He'll have success wherever he goes."