The Sports Informant

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Graves receives award, signs autographs in school’s gym

By Patrick Ibarra

High School senior Dano Graves is no celebrity. If you saw him in the street, you wouldn’t think he was famous, or that he was a superstar football player who has accomplished things most athletes could only dream about. Yet on a beautiful Tuesday morning, the 5-foot-9-inch quarterback was signing autographs like he was the next Tom Brady.

Dano Graves poses with this National Player of the Year award. (Photo courtesy of Tom Paniagua)

Graves received the National Player of the Year Award in Folsom High School’s gym on Jan. 12 in front of a crowd consisting of teammates on the school’s football squad, coaches, family, friends, and a whole lot of media. For one day, Graves was a star.

After leading the Folsom Bulldogs to the Division II section title and California State Championship, Graves made his way into the record books. But for two years, he’d already made his way into the hearts of local fans.

Graves jumped up to varsity for the Bulldogs well before taking the reins at quarterback his junior year. In fact, he played receiver as a sophomore while his older brother David led the show under center. David shone in his lone season at the quarterback position, earning a scholarship to the University of Hawaii, while little brother Dano battled to get recognized amongst one of the most talented receiving corps in Northern California.

But when David Graves graduated, and Dano shifted positions, the fireworks truly began. Dano Graves jumped into an an established explosive offense, one of the best in the Sac-Joaquin Section, and put up amazing numbers immediately. In his junior season, he secured 4,756 total yards according to, including 66 total touchdowns. His dual threat (passing, rushing) campaign  continued this past season as a senior, and he finished at Folsom High with a whopping 9,452 yards and 151 total touchdowns over two seasons.

Today, he was rewarded for his remarkable effort as the U.S. Air Force National Player of the Year presented by MaxPreps. He was given a plaque in his high school’s gym, and his closest friends, and teammates, lined up after to get his autograph.

Graves brought the spotlight to Folsom High School and Northern California, and capped an incredible high school career with every honor he could ever have dreamed of. The one he may have expected the least, though, was to become an icon along the way.

Slideshow from Award Presentation

(Photos courtesy of Tom Paniagua)


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