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Goddard senior guard proves himself

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Jonah Chavez drives toward the basket and draws a foul in a game earlier this season against Valencia. (Scott Stevenson Photo)

The 2018-19 school year at Goddard High School for senior Jonah Chavez was about proving himself to his fellow teammates at Goddard.

Goddard’s Jonah Chavez drives to the basket against Valencia earlier this season. (Scott Stevenson Photo)

You see, Chavez never wore the Goddard blue up until last year. He played at neighboring Dexter as a freshman and transferred to Goddard in his junior year.

“During the summer ball, I didn’t play as much as I wanted to. But every day I worked hard — I got up around 5:30, 6 a.m. and practiced in the morning. I was determined to prove myself to coach (Anthony) Mestas, and my teammates that I could play with them and contribute.” Chavez said.

Chavez, however, is a multiple athlete. His first proving ground was on the gridiron with the Goddard football team. And at 5-foot-6, that was going to be a task. The Rockets football team was still going to play in 5A with the likes of eventual state champ Roswell High. And coming from Dexter, which was in 3A this year, it was going to be a physical and emotional challenge for Chavez.

“I never shied away from making the team,” said Jonah. “He made a great sacrifice to come to Goddard. He was a starter on the football team over in Dexter,” said Goddard basketball coach Anthony Mestas. “I was thrilled when they won the state championship. I could have been on that team,” Jonah said.

But Jonah was not going to look back. During football practice before the season began, he showed his teammates his worth. “It took me a couple of games before my teammates realized that I could contribute.”

Jonah Chavez goes for a layup in a game against Roswell High earlier this season. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

So much so, as post-season awards were announced, Jonah made first team on the 5A squad. However, the Rockets came up short in the semi-finals against Los Lunas who lost to Roswell High in the state title game.

The loss fueled Chavez. “After football, it took me a little bit to get my basketball legs.”

Now almost two months later, Chavez is the starting point guard and, for his opponents, it’s hard to keep up with him.

“As a new athlete, if you don’t come through their (Goddard’s) system, it’s going to be a challenge,” but Chavez met it head-on.

His father Steve Chavez is a big reason why. “I wouldn’t be the athlete I am now if it hadn’t been for my dad. After practice, I would come home and practice again on dribbling drills and passing.” And Jonah was committed to getting better with each passing game. And just like in football the ultimate goal was to get a shot at a state title.

“If you can’t think big, why play?” Chavez said. Our goal with this team is to get to The Pit. It would be one of the greatest feelings I could ever experience.”

The Rockets are very capable of accomplishing that goal, and with district play a couple of weeks away, and the pending 4A playoffs, Goddard could very well prove to everyone that they belong at The Pit and a chance to play for the Blue Trophy.

As for Jonah, he is planning to enlist in the Air Force. “It will be an honor to serve my country,” Jonah proclaimed proudly.