SanFranPreps.com Male Athlete of the Year: Jack Stinn

St. Ignatius quarterback Jack Stinn led the Wildcats in an offensive renaissance of sorts, employing a potent aerial attack in 2011. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Jeremy Balan

The St. Ignatius football and baseball teams won unprecedented section titles in the 2011-2012 school year and one player was at the center of it all.

At quarterback and in the outfield, junior Jack Stinn led each team to its first respective both to Central Coast Section titles in school history.

That’s why he’s the SanFranPreps.com Male Athlete of the Year.

On the football field, the 6-foot, 183-pound left-hander was far and away the best passing quarterback in the West Catholic Athletic League and was named Junior Player of the Year by the league. He lead the largely run-oriented league in passing yards (2,597), touchdowns (18) and completions (168), and he’s also the best quarterback on the 37th Avenue campus since Zac Lee, who graduated from the school in 2004 and went on to play at the University of Nebraska.

Stinn didn’t make his biggest impact for the Wildcats on the mound, but was a valuable asset in the bullpen. (Photo by Willie Eashman)

While his individual highlight on the football field was a heart-stopping, come-from-behind victory over Valley Christian in the Central Coast Section semifinals, in which he threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns, he steadfastly stuck to the winning game plan in the section championship game against rival Sacred Heart Cathedral.

“One of Jack’s strengths is his competitive spirit,” said St. Ignatius head football coach John Regalia. “What’s really special is that he likes to compete in a group effort. There was never a question in his mind about a game plan this year, but we know that when he has something to say, he’s offering it for the right reasons and he has good ideas, because he’s a student of the game.”

While others would seek the spotlight in front of more than 12,000 fans at AT&T Park, Stinn threw only six passes and completed none, but continuously fed St. Ignatius running backs for 51 total rushing plays, successfully grinding down the Irish defense.

“Throwing would have been fun, but in the end, if we got the win, that’s all I really cared about,” Stinn said. “I wish I could have played better, but it is what it is and I’ll have another shot [against Sacred Heart Cathedral] next year.”

Stinn’s competitive spirit was on full display frequently on the sideline, when he had a chronic problem with a cut opening up on the bridge of his nose after particularly violent hits that would come when he scrambled from the pocket. With blood dripping down his face, while the training staff worked to close the wound, Stinn could not take his eyes off the field and often shouted words of encouragement.

He also ran into injury trouble on the baseball field in the WCAL championship game against Serra, in which he tried to make up for an error-riddled play with a throw home from the outfield, but threw the so hard and off-balance, that he tore the labrum in his shoulder.

Still, his coaches are hesitant to reign in his sometimes all-or-nothing playing style.

“If you ask him to hold back, you’re asking him not to be who he is,” Regalia said. “It definitely speaks to his toughness and you have to have that mental and physical toughness to compete at a high level.”

Stinn didn’t have his best games on the biggest football stages in his junior year, but he had a penchant for clutch hits in the baseball season.

He led the Wildcats in RBIs (19) even though he regularly hit in the bottom half of the order and had much fewer at-bats than the other team leaders. He hit .355, but no hit was bigger than a game-winner against St. Francis, which was nationally ranked for most of the season.

Locked in a scoreless tie on the road, with ace Collin Monsour locking the Lancers down, Stinn crushed a solo home run off the scoreboard in left-center field in the top of the seventh inning to give the Wildcats the edge in a 1-0 win.

Stinn didn’t complete a pass against rival Sacred Heart Cathedral in the CCS championship game at AT&T Park, but stuck to the game plan that led to an SI victory. (Photo by Eric Luis)

“He’s one of those guys who is just a gamer,” said St. Ignatius head baseball coach Matt Stecher. “You get him in a tough situation and he has a knack for producing big runs.”

When the Wildcats lost Stanford-bound junior center fielder and pitcher Jack Klein to an injury early in the season, Stecher shifted Stinn from left to center and also moved him into the starting rotation.

Most of his innings were in relief, but he had a 0.51 ERA and was a key left-handed arm Stecher used late in games.

“I don’t think there are many players that compare to Klein, but knowing that we had someone like Stinn to step into that role was tremendous,” Stecher said.

Next season, Stinn figures to be part of a nasty three-man rotation that will include Klein and hard-throwing lefty Matt Krook. All three are part of a lauded St. Ignatius senior baseball class that has been talked about for years.

“He’s got great leadership qualities and I’m going to look for that net year,” Stecher said. “We want him in the lineup every day and want to work him into the rotation. We’re going to set [a WCAL championship] as a lofty goal, but we have the potential to reach it. We have those guys on the mound and we have young guys coming up too. It’s a realistic goal.”

Even with all of the success he had with the Wildcats in 2011-2012 and the Ivy-League interest he’s receiving, it’s still the losses that bother Stinn, especially the error-filled defeat to Serra in the WCAL championship baseball game. The Padres also took down St. Ignatius in football the football season, a 49-28 rout.

“There is no one I hate losing to more than Serra,” Stinn said. “Sacred Heart is not that bad, because we grew up with those guys and know them, but there’s just something about Serra.”

Honorable Mention: Antoine Porter, junior, Mission

Antoine Porter was an impact player for the Mission basketball and football teams last season. (Photo by Devin Chen)

The junior point guard didn’t have the breakout basketball season that many expected, but still led the Bears to a Academic Athletic Association title, averaging 11 points per game, 4.8 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals.

On the football field, Porter wasn’t a main ball-carrier, but when he did get the ball, he was electric, including a go-ahead touchdown run on a reverse that gave the Bears their first AAA football championship since 1954.

Honorable Mention: Will McKee, senior, St. Ignatius

Will McKee’s touchdown-saving tackle of Sacred Heart Cathedral standout running back Valentino Miles may have been the difference in the CCS title game between the two City rivals. (Photo by Doug Ko)

McKee, who was awarded the Brophy Award by St. Ignatius as the school’s best senior male athlete, was one of the most dynamic athletes in the City last season, with enough athleticism to play cornerback for the football team and also enough skill to become a master of faceoffs for the lacrosse team.

The latter earned McKee a scholarship to play lacrosse at at Lehigh University, but it was his shoestring, touchdown-saving tackle of Valentino Miles (pictured) in the CCS championship football game that will always be remembered by SI faithful.

Honorable Mention: Connor Mattoon, senior, Bay

A stone-cold shooter on the basketball court, Connor Mattoon also led the Bay golf team to its first league championship in school history. (Photo by Eric Luis)

Known best for his shooting touch on the Bay basketball team, where he led the Breakers to a Bay Counties League Central championship by scoring at 15.9 points per game, Mattoon also was a top player on the school’s golf team that won its first league championship in the sport in the spring.

Honorable Mention: James Cullinane, junior, Riordan

Arguably the Crusaders’ best hitter, even though a mid-season slump lowered his season average to .299, Cullinane led Riordan in runs scored (14), hits (23) and doubles (7), and had a 3.33 ERA in 21 innings pitched on the mound.

On the soccer team, Cullinane was one of just two Riordan players that earned second-team All-WCAL honors, scored three of the Crusaders’ 13 total goals in the winter and led the team in assists (2).

Honorable Mention: Nick Johnson, senior, St. Ignatius

Nick Johnson was the Wildcats’ most consistent hitter and was also a solid contributor on the basketball team. (Photo by Doug Ko)

Johnson, a lanky left-handed hitter, settled in as a top-of-the order threat for the Wildcats in his senior season, hitting .404, but was also a solid contributor for the basketball team. He averaged 7.5 points per game on the hardwood, primarily as a 3-point shooting threat, and also took in 3.6 rebounds per game.

Honorable Mention: Isaiah Boone, senior, Lick-Wilmerding

Boone led the Tigers to a BCL West title in basketball and was also an accomplished high jumper in his senior season. (Photo by Devin Chen)

The fact that Boone finished second in the North Coast Section Class A high jump finals would shock no one who saw the senior play basketball for the Tigers.

Listed at a generous 6-foot-3, Boone slashed through defenses with regularity and had enough lift to dunk on several occasions in the winter, and led the Tigers in scoring at 13.3 points per game and also led the team in assists.

Honorable Mention: Max Pollard, senior, Lowell

Max Pollard was a defensive leader on the basketball court, but a main scoring threat on the soccer field. (Photo by Devin Chen)

A deadly threat in the air on soccer field, Pollard regularly scored on headers, was named first-team All-AAA and helped the Cardinals complete their second-straight undefeated AAA season.

He used that elevation to be a rebounding leader for the Lowell basketball team, as well as being a plus defender. Although he struggled at times to score, in many ways he embodied the Cardinals’ lock-down defensive identity.

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36 Comments

  1. Prep Sports Observer says:

    Congrats to Jack, Will, and Nick! Way to go Wildcats!

  2. Irishman says:

    No SHC athletes in the group? Miles? Fox? Johns? Rojas?

    Good list overall, but some pretty notable omissions in at least Rojas’ case, if not the others above as well.

  3. Avery N-A says:

    Im pretty biased seeing that Max Pollard was my teammate and also is one of my best friends, but I think he deserves to be on this list. He led the lowell soccer team to its second consecutive league title and undefeated season. He was also a huge presence on the basketball court, helping us get rebounds and usually guarding the other teams best player.

    • jbalan says:

      He is a very worthy selection, but wasn’t nominated by any coaches or ADs and I overlooked him. I’ll add him when I get back to a computer.

  4. Wildcat Nation says:

    Couple things, it was SI’s second CCS football title. The first coming in 06-07 over Los Gatos. Which leads me to my next point; Stinn is the best qb at SI since Chris McCafrey, class of 07, who quarterbacked the first CCS championship team and was WCAL player of the year. Many would contend he was a better quarterback than Lee, but that’s a whole different discussion. Anyways, congrats to all the athletes. GO CATS

    • JJ says:

      Although Chris McCaffery was a great QB, I don’t really think he was better than Zac Lee. Lee threw 50 yard TD bombs into the endzone. McCaffery threw 10 yard screens and had the best offensive line in the WCAL which included Matt Summers-Gavin who will probably be drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft.

      • jp says:

        Ahhh…Lee …50 year touchdown bombs……? I remember that was the backup doing that, Greg Mangin. If his old man wasn’t Bob Lee, he certainly wouldn’t have been the QB for SI.
        Also, Lee, didn’t get to Nebraska via SI, he had to go to City College to get that. (good athlete, but never was an accurate passer)
        BTW…McCaffery was a better QB hands down.

        • JJ says:

          How can you say McCaffery is a better QB? He never threw the ball farther than 20 yards. Like I said, he either threw an out pass to the running back or threw a 10 yard screen, then the guy would run for 20 yards making it a 30 yard pass completion. In college, McCaffery ended up sitting on the bench at USC as a baseball player because his 10 ERA caused him to quit the team. No D1 offers at QB, while Zac Lee got a D1 to Nebraska. Oklahoma, Fresno State, and Mississippi State recruited him, out of CCSF. Besides, OJ Simpson, the HAll of Fame running back, went to CCSF as well as Zach Madoli’s brother who eventually lost in the Rose Bowl. It’s safe to say Zac Lee had a better college career.

          • Wildcat Nation says:

            Your argument has no legs. Firstly, we’re talking high school careers here so anything post high school (college career/recruitment) is irrelevant. Secondly, you can’t say he was a better QB b/c he threw 50 yard bombs. That’s ridiculous. To go along with those “bombs” he threw a lot of INT’s. McCafrey threw ONE. His team was also WCAL co champs and went 5-1 in league play. So if you want to judge QB’s based on wins and losses, the ultimate stat, McCafrey has the advantage over Lee

            SI ran a true west coast offense McCafrey’s senior year and McCafrey executed the offense about as well as you can at the high school level. According to your logic Dan Marino is a better QB than Joe Montana bc Marino threw “bombs”

            • JJ says:

              In that case, Taylor Johns is a better basketball player than Stephen Domingo since he had more wins. Don’t know why Domingo had more recruiters after him? Taylor Johns only had low D1′s after him, not even USF recruited him.

              • Ari Gold says:

                who wants to go to usf???? the dons havent been relevant since quinton dailey and even farther back bill russell. st. marys is the top dog in basketball in the bay area.

              • JJ says:

                De’End Parker is going to USF now, so things are changing. If USF recruited him, Taylor Johns would’ve went there in a heartbeat. Stanford seems like a rising basketball program, although I agree that St Mary’s is the program that’s making the most noise in the Bay Area.

              • IC Stars says:

                Don’t forget Bill Cartwright, Ari. 29 straight and a number one ranking until some Jesuit dude ruined the program.

          • Ari Gold says:

            Zac Lee was a huge disappointment at Nebraska. He didnt LEAD Nebraska to anything. It was their defense led by N. Suh. In fact, his senior year, he lost his starting job to a freshman QB, Taylor Martinez who was primarily a runner. Now if your head coach would rather have his QB run the ball instead of throw the ball, you must stink as a passer.

            My personal SI QB favorite was Anthony Buich. I found it funny how SH always was good for one fake punt pass for a huge play (Buich was the punter also). I think Buich did that back to back years in the BM game.

            • JJ says:

              Zac Lee would’ve done better at Nebraska if he didn’t get injured. Due to his injury, he basically lost his starting job. I think he might’ve had a better opportunity to the NFL if he went to a diiferent college. Nebraska has always been known as a running school, remember Eric Crouch?

              • jp says:

                Wow, a running commentary, which I didn’t expect.
                Oddly enough, for SI, Lee was an good athlete who could run,
                and the backup was known for his great passing skills.
                That with his great pedigree, he had Carte blanche at SI.

                Sadly, No DI recruited Lee out of SI. Even heard college coaches asking about was it true that the backup was better.

                He went to his fathers alma mater, CCSF, grey shirts for a year and gets an offer from Calihan’s Nebraska (HC), even before he plays a down.
                Now ANY QB that plays for City is going to get a D-I scholarship, Oklahoma, Fresno State, and Mississippi State from what I understand were interested in talking to him….didn’t know he was offered by them, much less that he made any visits.

                At Nebraska, for a while he was the most hated guy in the state and as far as his arm injury, did you know that his surgery was elective?

                Sorry, but watching him play was pretty dreadful and he really was very fortunate to get all that he did get. I must say though that when he was benched in favor of Martinez, he did a good job of being a backup. Wonder where he learned that from?

            • Wildcat Nation says:

              Alright JJ it seems you have an affinity for college recruits so let me be the first to tell you that McCafrey turned down a full ride from Boise State to play baseball at USC. Would you consider Boise State low level D1 college football? I didn’t think so

              Also, how does McCafrey’s college baseball career factor into the discussion?

              • JJ says:

                If he really got a D1 offer to Boise State, it’s unfortunate he didn’t take the offer. I’m sure he would’ve wore a headset and held a clipboard in his hand if he went there, because there was a pretty good QB there named Kellen Moore. I assumed he chose USC baseball because he wanted to be a pro athlete someday, and it would be easier to make the pros as a middle reliever, than a QB. With that being said, comparing who’s the better QB is based on preference. I bet some people think Alex Smith is a better QB than Philip Rivers, but I bet the Chargers would never make that trade. As far as the baseball career, I just used it to compare college careers between the 2. The high school football careers are debatable, since both won WCAL player of the Year, but Zac Lee started varsity as a soph, Chris started as a junior.

  5. Nicholas S says:

    “There is no one I hate losing to more than Serra,” Stinn said. “Sacred Heart is not that bad, because we grew up with those guys and know them, but there’s just something about Serra.”

    Quote of the year, I just forwarded to all my SI friends.

    Go Parades.

  6. Nicholas S says:

    Can’t spell, that is why I couldn’t go to SI. Please hook me up and correct “padres”.

    If not it will make everyone laugh. =)

  7. wcalsf says:

    I think all of the City WCAL schools can agree with Stinn’s quote.

  8. city fan says:

    I do recall this website being titled “SAN FRAN PREPS” not “san mateo preps”

    Nicholas, that was an unnecessary post.

  9. Prep Sports Observer says:

    What Jack said…“There is no one I hate losing to more than Serra. Sacred Heart is not that bad, because we grew up with those guys and know them, but there’s just something about Serra.”

    What Jack meant…”Losing to Sacred Heart is like losing to your cousin and having to wait until the next family gathering to redeem yourself. Losing to Serra is like losing to the annoying neighborhood kid down the street.”

  10. Chris says:

    Does anyone know where Valentino Miles is going to college to play ball, or if he is?

  11. Ari Gold says:

    Too much SI love Balan. Heres an update on SHC running back great Desarte Yarnway at Cal. He recently has been named starting fullback for Cal this upcoming football season.

  12. Brown and Yellow says:

    What about Miles Prescott from Mission?!?!
    He’s a triple sport athlete.
    Got the game winning sack on turkey day to win the football championship.
    Was a walking double double for the championship winning basketball team.
    And the best player on the mission baseball team

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