The Bee's Fall All-Stars: Football Player of the Year Edgar Segura

The Fresno BeeJanuary 23, 2014 

He's called a "warrior" by the last high school football coach to oppose him, Mike Nolte of Liberty-Madera Ranchos.

He's called an "angel" by a Mendota booster, Jaime Quezada.

And this is how they'll remember the great Edgar Segura.

The angelic fighter.

Unusual description for a football player. But fitting, really, for there's nothing normal that can be attached to the Mendota senior running back — not statistically.

He's the most prolific rusher in the 111-year history of the Central Section.

He's the state's leading scorer all-time.

He hails from an economically depressed community and a Division V school of 700 students.

His mother works the fields.

He works the fields.

He hasn't seen his imprisoned father in nine years.

And he's The Bee's Player of the Year.

"He's a reflection on the community," Aztecs coach Beto Mejia says. "A hard worker, a never-give-up attitude: 'Hey, all odds are against us, but no matter what, I'm going to overcome.'

"He gave me everything I could ask for as a coach. Probably more."

Segura gave the community more than they could ever have dreamed.

"He's a legend," Quezada says. "He's God's gift to this town."

Segura brought 8,029 career rushing yards.

He brought 137 touchdowns.

He brought 900 points.

He brought a 32-4 record with the school's first two section titles and a runner-up finish.

He brought packed stadiums.

He's bringing season-long documentaries by ESPN and ABC News 20-20.

Above all, he brought hope.

"He's an angel for this town and he doesn't even know it," Quezada says. "This town has water problems. That means less crops, which means less jobs, but he's brought money to this town because of the football games and the playoffs. What the kid has done is unbelievable, but, to him, it's nothing."

True.

Just ask him.

A legend?

An angel?

God's gift to Mendota?

"No, I can't accept that," he says. "Not yet."

Why not?

"Because I want to be the first player from Mendota to play at the higher level, like college, maybe the pros. And if I get there — maybe — I'll accept that.

"Until then, I'm still the same person; I'll be the same guy."

Quezada, hearing this while joining a recent interview in Mejia's office, just shakes his head, smiles and says: "So humble. Yet he's done so much, and he has no idea. Incredible."

Mejia is the master link to the improbable Segura success story.

As a coach.

Above all, as a father figure.

"He's been there for me when I needed something," says Segura, who communicates with his biological father via letters. "When I asked, (Mejia) has been right there by my side — right away."

Mejia, as the school's junior varsity coach in 2010, identified Segura as a potential star, fed him the ball and he rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a freshman for a 10-0 team.

Mejia was promoted to varsity coach in 2011, and history would be written.

Segura, while growing from 5-feet-6 and 140 pounds to 5-8, 180 in a couple years, delivered 2,062 yards rushing and 39 TDs as a sophomore, 2,507 and 41 as a junior and, finally, section records of 3,460 and 57 last fall as a senior, according to section historian Bob Barnett.

His final score came on a 3-yard run that gave Mendota a 19-17 lead over top-seeded Liberty-Madera Ranchos in the third quarter of the D-V championship.

But the Hawks would wear down the Aztecs and Segura for a 31-19 win.

Segura — his career extraordinary 770th carry having been lugged by the end of it all on that chilly Dec. 6 night in Madera Ranchos — could hardly walk to the bus.

"He was a warrior and he battled," Nolte says. "We did a good job of hitting him and, bang, by the fourth quarter, he was pretty wore out."

Never, though, did Segura tap out in a game in which he also made a significant impact as a defensive end and linebacker: "I was too tired, but I couldn't leave the field."

And now the question: The next field for a smallish running back and average speed?

Mejia, of course, is biased: "There's no doubt in my mind he could play at a Division I program."

Segura's preference: Fresno State as a walk-on.

An option: Division III Greenville College of Illinois, a private school of 1,100 students whose coach, Robbie Schomaker, has made the 2,000-mile trip to offer Segura a scholarship.

More realistic: A local junior college.

Regardless, Segura won't leave the memories behind.

And his highlights reach not for all the personal gaudy statistics, but for the emotional bond with a dusty town that found football, not water.

"We've gone through a lot," he says. "And I'm most proud that the community was always there, no matter how far it was. Being from Mendota, that's what I'll miss most.

"Friday night lights."

The reporter can be reached at aboogaard@fresnobee.com or @beepreps on Twitter.

Player of the Year: Edgar Segura

School: Mendota

Grade: Senior

Section's No. 1 pack mule — ever: He's the most prolific running back in the 111-year history of the Central Section and one of the state's all-time leaders as well. He set section records this season with 3,460 rushing yards and 57 touchdowns. In the process, he became the section's No. 1 career rusher with 8,029 yards, the state's No. 1 career scorer with 900 points and tied the state standard for career TDs with 137. The Aztecs, drawing from an enrollment of 700, went 32-4 with their first two section titles and a runner-up finish in his three-year varsity career. He also had a defensive impact at multiple positions.

He said it: "There were times he was too tired; there were times, I'm sure, he was hurt. But he's given me everything I could ask for as a coach. Probably more. This kid had a lot of heart; he demonstrated that you can't coach that as an athlete. He said, 'Hey, all odds are against us and, no matter what, I'm going to overcome.' " — Mendota coach Beto Mejia

"I want to be the first player from Mendota to play at the higher level, like college, maybe the pros." — Edgar Segura

Mobile readers: Go to www.fresnobee.com/high-school-sports/ to see the rest of The Bee's football all-stars, including Outstanding Offensive Player Bolu Olorunfunmi, Outstanding Defensive Player Kody Beckering and Coach of the Year Mike Nolte.

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