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Out of gym class and on to the field, Avina has excelled for Buena

TUCSON – And the Friday Football Fever Week 10 Tucson Roadrunners Player of the Week award goes to Buena Colts senior defensive end Jesse Avina.

Avina had four sacks last Friday night in the Colts 27-0 win over Ironwood Ridge. He now has nine sacks on the season and leads the team with 16 tackles for loss.

Avina is a two-way player who has also caught 15 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns.

Head coach Joe Thomas, who is in his 5th season (18-31), famously tells the story of how he saw Avina in a gym class early during the 2017 school year and recruited him to come out for the school’s football program.

The 6’3 220-pound edge specialist is now a team captain who has 16 career sacks and 28 pass receptions.


The victory over the Nighthawks kept the Colts in the heart of the Conference 5A state playoff picture.

Buena is ranked 11th but with the top three teams in 5A (Centennial, Horizon and Higley) currently qualifying for the new Open Division playoff, the Colts with a win Friday night over Sunnyside could finish in the Top 8 and secure a 1st round home playoff game.

The post-season berth would be the first for Buena since they went 8-3 in 2012. It would come just four years after the first of consecutive back-to-back 0-10 seasons.

Thomas coached both of those teams and senior Jovoni Borbon played on the winless 2016 squad. The pair lived through the Buena losing streak that stretched 22 games over four seasons.

Borbon has been one of the players at the forefront of the Colts turnaround.

The four-year player has run for 12 touchdowns this season, thrown for 13 and returned three interceptions for scores.

Kickoff against Sunnyside is 7 p.m.

Copyright 2019 News 4 Tucson. All rights reserved.

David Kelly

David Kelly is the weekend sports anchor at KVOA in Tucson. He is a 28-year veteran of the sports broadcast business.

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