That’s because 2 is the jersey number for this year’s recipients of the top football awards from each school, Depray Celestine from Tracy High and Dexter Alcala from West.
When Celestine got past the crowd at the line of scrimmage, he was often on the way to one of his 25 touchdowns, or at least a big gain for the Bulldogs.
Celestine is this year’s recipient of Tracy High’s Peter B. Kyne Award, the perpetual trophy that honors players for their accomplishments on the field as well as for their team leadership and citizenship.
Across town at West, Alcala was the Wolf Pack’s go-to player for the majority of their offensive yardage in 2009. He’s the first player to earn the John C. Kimball Award two years in a row.
Also honored for a second year was Tracy High senior lineman Mark Lanfranki, who received the Weeks Cup scholar-athlete award after receiving it during his junior year. West High’s Booster Club scholar-athlete honor went to junior quarterback Jake Peterson.
The two taking center stage at Tuesday’s awards luncheon, hosted by the Tracy Breakfast Lions and other local service clubs, have been all about football since their days with the Tracy Raiders youth football organization.
Alcala and Celestine were a winning combination for the 2005 Raiders varsity team that won its Delta Youth Football League championship.
“I made a nice block, and (Celestine) went right off that block into the end zone,” Alcala said, recalling the touchdown that sealed the Raiders’ title four years ago, before the two went to separate squads.
Both players joined their teams as sophomores and have received all-league honors, Celestine as Most Valuable Player in the San Joaquin Athletic Association this year, and Alcala as a repeat on the Tri-City Athletic League first-team offense after double honors last year as a first-team offensive and defensive player.
Celestine said the awards mean a lot to him, but at the start of the season he was more concerned with what the season had in store for the Bulldogs.
“I think about my team first and what I can do for my team,” he said. “I just get at what I do, and football is what I do. Anything that I do, I try my best at it.”
Tracy coach Mark Stroup said Celestine brought a work ethic to practices that set the tone for the team’s 11-1 season, including a 10-0 record in the regular season and two playoff games.
“There was no more dynamic player in the area than Depray Celestine. Every time he touched the ball, he was electric,” Stroup said. “He put in a lot of hard work to get where he is. God knows he had the talent from the get-go.”
Celestine also receives the award two years after his brother, Tim Celestine, was named the Peter B. Kyne winner for the 2007 season.
In recognizing Alcala, Dr. John C. Kimball described an all-around player who could fill in anywhere on the field.
Alcala said he just tried to live up to the dedication of West coach Steve Lopez and other team coaches put in to help him grow since he joined the varsity team as a sophomore.
“They helped mature me to where I am now. Coach Lopez has always been there for me,” Alcala said. “My teammates, from freshman all the way to now, they’ve always had my back.”
For the Weeks scholar-athlete award, Stroup described the time commitment to play varsity football and how Lanfranki handled that while earning straight As in seven International Baccalaureate classes. His academic commitment gained Lanfranki admission to next year’s freshman class at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
Matt Loggins, West High’s athletic director, said his school’s team had two players who had five As and a B on their midterm report cards, but two of Peterson’s As were in honors classes, giving him a 4.17 grade-point average.