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Juan Esquivez
Orestimba High running back Juan Esquivez

Two months ago, when Orestimba High kicked off its 2023 Southern League campaign against Le Grand, senior running back Juan Esquivez carried the ball 27 times for 233 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Warriors to a 49-36 victory.

When the SL foes met again last week in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 7-A semifinals, Esquivez probably figured he needed to be twice as good to help Orestimba earn its first-ever trip to a section final. 

He was.

Esquivez rushed for an eye-popping 460 yards — one of the top five totals in the history of the section — and five TDs on 27 carries as the Warriors bested the Bulldogs 49-14.

The 460 yards, believed to be a section postseason record, establishes a new single-game school record, while pushing his season total to 2,227 yards, also a new school mark.

For his historic performance, Esquivez has been named the Turlock Journal’s Athlete of the Week.

Though Newman lies just outside of the Journal’s traditional coverage area, OHS is covered by the Journal’s sister publication (the West Side Index) and competes within a conference (the Southern League) that is covered by the Journal. Besides, his statistics were so incredibly rare, his story would be of interest regardless of boundaries.

“I knew my coaches were going to give me the ball and Le Grand knew the ball was coming to me,” said Esquivez, who now has 38 touchdowns on the season. “I just had to be ready to play how I play. I prepared myself all week for that game.”

An even bigger test awaits this Friday as the Warriors brace for another SL rematch, this time against league champion Ripon Christian.

The Knights, who beat the Warriors 42-12 on Sept. 22, are the only team this season to hold Esquivez under 100 yards rushing (84 yards, 16 carries).

“We’ve got to prepare ourselves for another dogfight,” said Esquivez. “We need to have four quarters of high effort.”


Age: 17

Grade: Senior

Favorite class: History

Favorite food: Seafood

Hobbies: Riding horses, working out

Pets: Horses (Chocolate and Canelo) and dogs (Chano, Barbie and Canelo)

Dream college: Fresno State or San Jose State

Favorite movie: “The Fast and the Furious”

Secret talent: My ability to read holes and make people miss

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite athlete: Christian McCaffrey

Favorite team: New Orleans Saints, LA Dodgers

Favorite artist: Too Short

Three songs on my playlist: “Like This” by DB Boutabag; “Blow the Whistle” by Too Short; “Bartender” by T-Pain

Finish this sentence: I can’t live without … working out

Finish this sentence: In 10 years I will be … a dentist