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Family tragedy fuels a player’s desire

08/01/2013, 12:01am PDT
By Steve Brand, Special to the U-T

Chris Boguille knows who he wants to emulate. His coaches say he is succeeding.

Chris Boguille, a 15-year-old sophomore, has already displayed similarities to half-brother Todd Doxey in ability, his coach said.

Many football players have extra motivation pushing them toward what they hope are bigger and better things.

Bonita Vista High sophomore Chris Boguille says he thinks of his half-brother, the late Todd Doxey, daily.

Doxey was one of the best football-basketball combination players ever to attend a San Diego-area high school, earning All-CIF honors in football and basketball at Hoover High before heading off to the University of Oregon on a football scholarship.

Tragically, before he could play a down, he drowned in 2008 after joining Ducks teammates jumping off a bridge into the Willamette River while enjoying some free time.

“We got along real well,” says Boguille, who at the time lived with his mother while Doxey stayed with his father. “I was 10, but when we would get together with our grandmother (Gladys Doxey, who passed away soon after Todd’s fatal accident), we’d throw the ball around and stuff.

“After it happened, I took it very, very hard. My family explained what happened to him, and the only thing I could think of was stepping up and following in his footsteps. It took me a week or two to realize I needed to get over it and to be like him. He was always helping family members, and I decided right then I wanted to be like Todd.”

Chris Thompson, the new Barons head football coach, who was an assistant at Mira Mesa High in the City Conference, said even before he realized that Boguille was related to Doxey, he saw numerous similarities.

“Although they’re physically different (Doxey was tall and thin at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds; Boguille is 5-9, 170), Chris is explosive like Todd,” Thompson said. “Todd had that ability to just take off, and Chris has that same explosion.

“Chris has that wiggle you look for in great backs. He has a vertical step to elude tacklers and then the burst to get into the open field. He’s a prototypical every-down back in the NFL in that he can pass block, catch the ball and runs with vision. And he’s still growing.”

Thompson says there is no doubt in his mind that Doxey would have been playing on Sundays with an NFL team had not his life been taken so tragically. He also says Boguille, despite only being a 15-year-old 10th-grader, is already the starting running back even though the Barons are in the early stages of practice.

“Chris is a very mature kid with a great attitude,” said Thompson, who was an assistant coach for 25 years with stops at Mira Mesa, Vista and most recently Poway before accepting the Bonita Vista position.

“The biggest comparison is Chris, just like Todd, is humble. That’s so rare today.”

Boguille plays three sports — football, basketball and track — but he clearly favors football and is focusing on trying to get his grades up to the same level as Doxey, which assured the Hoover graduate a college scholarship.

“I grew up playing football. I just love the game,” he said. “All the time I was growing up, I said I wanted to be like Todd. He had a great work ethic.”

Asked about personal goals, he disdained things like yards gained, touchdowns or postseason awards.

“I just want to be a better person and a better player,” Boguille said. “I want to make the varsity (he was the quarterback on the freshman team a year ago) and hopefully start. I want to stay humble and I’d love to go to Oregon — like Todd.”

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