We can tell you all day long how unselfish and unassuming he is, but a classic anecdote will speak volumes instead.
Edinburg North’s Marco Adriana was asked Sunday night how it felt to be named first team All-Valley running back over the weekend.
“Really? I didn’t know…” responded the dynamite senior who rushed for 1,619 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2008. “I haven’t really been keeping up, I started to look for the paper this weekend but I didn’t see it.”
Now how’s that for humble? Most guys would have been climbing the walls in anticipation of such an accolade, but Adriana? He was more concerned with his nephew’s birthday party last weekend.
And he was a calm customer all season, was the 165-pound flash, leading the Cougars into the playoffs for the second straight season. His brilliant moves and sprinter speed made him one of the area’s most elusive threats, and from Zero Week, when he burned Rio Grande City for 291 yards and five total touchdowns, Adriana was off and running, with style.
He would eventually surpass 200 yards three times, including 208 versus Sharyland and 221 against Pharr North, both playoff combatants, and get over 100 eight times. With an uncanny knack for making tacklers miss, and the penchant for leaping defensive backs with a hurdle at full speed, Adriana was one of the most exciting individuals to grace the Valley gridiron this year.
Having been switched from receiver to runner to start his final campaign with North, Adriana says in hindsight that he wasn’t worried too much about the pressure of replacing Oscar Hernandez, who had led the Coogs with over 1,500 steps in 2007.
“I had played running back all the way from middle school into freshman year,” he said. “So I knew what it was like. My first goal was to make the playoffs and win the district championship. But we fell short of that.”
Typical Adriana, thinking team first and himself a distant second. He’s always been one of the program’s shining lights, as much for his fabulous attitude as for his awesome skills. Quiet and polite, he was nonetheless a rough man to bring down once on the green, leading the team by example with toughness along with athletic ability.
“I guess I was always just thinking about the next play, and not the stats,” said the 4.4 burner who was also a superstar in track and field guy at North. “I was sure I would do good, but not this good.”
Good enough to average 7.2 yards per carry in 2008, placing his name in the books alongside such city greats as EHS legends Carlos Esquivel and Orly Montalvo, former North stars Hernandez and Orly Montalvo, plus Econ ex Ryan Richardson, among others.
“Right now I am looking forward to running track in college, maybe at Pan Am but maybe at UT-Arlington,” said Adriana, who plans on going into mechanical engineering at the next level. “I am going to miss football, but I will probably still play some in intramurals or something like that.”
After a magnificent season in which he scored a total of 150 points, the North flyer earned a spot on the All-Valley team next to Player of the Year Erick Nino of Edcouch-Elsa and another lightning-fast back, 2,000-yarder Andrew Alvarado of Weslaco East. He was the only city athlete to gain honor from the squad, beating out Michael Blackmon of Weslaco, Juan Vega of Progreso, and Jose Bocanegra of La Joya Juarez-Lincoln, all great ones who had to settle for second team.