Cienega sophomore quarterback Adriell Alvarado has turned plenty of heads with his play so far this season. But there's at least one person who hasn't been surprised - Alvarado.
In his first season at Cienega after transferring from Salpointe Catholic, Alvarado leads Southern Arizona passers with 1,389 yards to go along with nine touchdowns and just two interceptions.
"Everything's gone like I imagined," Alvarado said. "I came into the season thinking I was going to be one of the top players in Arizona. I was just not being cocky, but doing it for motivation. I wanted to do well my first season so I could build off that every year."
Alvarado applied for and was granted an AIA hardship waiver after his lone season at Salpointe, which, with then-sophomore quarterback Andrew Cota, seemed set at the position for the next few years.
So Alvarado saw the writing on the wall that said if he wanted to get significant playing time before his senior year, it would have to be with someone other than the Lancers.
"Last year, I was always thinking about how I wanted to play so bad. … I'd never been in that kind of situation," Alvarado said. "Now that I get that chance to play, I just want to prove to everybody that I can play to my ability."
The 5-2 Bobcats have averaged 33.5 points per game under Alvarado's lead, and coach Nemer Hassey said Alvarado has "some real natural abilities that not every player has at the position."
"He's really advanced as a kid his age … as a sophomore, his mechanics are the best I've ever seen at his age," Hassey said. "What he has that's a natural quarterback skill, which is the case with all the best quarterbacks, is the rush is insignificant to him. It doesn't affect him."
Alvarado said he felt some nerves at the beginning of the season, but now he's experienced enough that each Friday night feels like it's just another game.
"He's one of the best quarterbacks I've ever coached," Hassey said. "Hopefully he'll get over 6 foot and have a shot for a future in football."
Peña first to reach 4,000 for Salpointe
Salpointe Catholic running back Johnny Peña became the first player in the school's history to crack the 4,000-yard mark in his career during Friday's 59-0 win over Flowing Wells.
While Peña has an edge on most players because he's been on varsity for four years, Salpointe coach Dennis Bene said Peña - who's one touchdown away from 50 in his career - is arguably the best running back he's ever coached.
"He's just so reliable and durable," Bene said. "He makes his living, so to speak, between the tackles. That's his trademark - he runs so hard and he runs behind his pads. He's so durable for a guy that runs that hard. It's amazing that he's been able to run and stay health for four years."
Suspensions, injury hurt Devils' chances
Sunnyside is in trouble heading into a game against Yuma Cibola that could put a serious dent in the Blue Devils' playoff hopes.
Receivers Aurelio Gonzalez and Marco Carlos, along with lineman Mel Arellano, have been suspended as the result of a scuffle that came after Cholla recovered an onside kick during Sunnyside's 47-14 win Friday.
Then, to make matters worse for the Blue Devils, starting receiver Steve Islas broke his collarbone during Tuesday's practice.
"Those are really great kids that have done great jobs," coach Glenn Posey said. "This is their first little slip-up. It just kills me that we had guys that had done such a good job for us, then in a split second it costs all of us.
"We're going to go to bat without two of our biggest weapons, and that hurts Sunnyside football."