Student-Athlete Spotlight

Student-Athlete Spotlight: Pelletier Twins Hoping to End Careers Strong at Salpointe, Ironwood Ridge is running a series of brief stories about Southern Arizona high school senior student-athletes entering this school year. The series, first-person accounts from the student-athletes, continues with a profile on the Pelletier twins — Parker of Salpointe (defensive back) and Peyton of Ironwood Ridge (quarterback).

Parker Pelletier

School: Salpointe

College scholarship offers: Trine, Simpson, St. Norbert, Concordia (Minn.), UW-River Falls, Sewanee/ University of the South, Norwich, Hamline, Kalamazoo, Monmouth, Lake Forest, Greenville, Culver-Stockton, Graceland and Clarke.

I first started football when I was 6 with flag football. Every year I enjoyed it more and more, until I eventually started tackle football in third grade. I was good, but there was so much talent out there that I had never seen. I ended up not playing tackle again until 7th where I played with the Dolphins. Again, I knew I was good, but I always felt like there was something I had to improve on.

Peyton (left) and Parker Pelletier are entering their senior seasons at two different high schools (Pelletier photo)

Come to high school, I was a 130-pound corner and receiver. That’s when I started to realize how much work I needed to put in. From my freshman to sophomore year, I gained 30 pounds, and then just during this quarantine I’ve gained 20 more, edging 180 pounds.

Don’t get me wrong though there is still a lot more work to be put in.

My first year of varsity last year was a culture shock, competing with Lathan (Ransom) and Bijan (Robinson) everyday at practice, which ultimately led me to the player that I am. I always knew I could compete with the best of the best, and this year I finally get to showcase it.

My greatest hope for the season is to be able to compete for an Open Title again, which I believe is 100 percent possible. The amount of work this team has put in during the offseason goes to show how badly we want it. No one knows who half our team is, but I promise you everyone will be knowing who we are by the end of the year.

Parker Pelletier is a senior defensive back at Salpointe (Pelletier photo)

I love how much we have to prove. With losing so many starters last year, on top of an entirely new coaching change, everyone believes we will be on a down year. But so many kids on this team have so much to show. So a down year just wont be the case. I think with all we have to prove, we will be better than last year.

My future goals are to play football for as long as I can, then get a career that revolves around football. Whether that be coaching, athletic training, or more, I want football to be a part of my life for years to come.

Peyton Pelletier

School: Ironwood Ridge

College scholarship offers: Simpson, Olivet, Millikin, Finlandia, Greenville, Trine, Simpson, St. Norbert, Concordia (Minn.), Norwich, Hamline, Kalamazoo, Lake Forest, Greenville, Culver-Stockton and Clarke.

I started playing football around when I was 7 years old when I played in a flag football league in Marana. I played flag football all my life and that is how I really started playing football. I played tackle football for the first time in third grade and didn’t play very much while all of the older kids played. I was in a league where seventh graders played against third graders.

My parents thought I should develop through flag football up until high school. After sixth grade is when I seriously started playing quarterback. In my flag football league, my team won 10 championships in 12 seasons.

Parker (far left) and Peyton with their sister Piper, who is on the pompon squad at Salpointe (Pelletier photo)

I decided that I wanted to make the jump once again to tackle football in eighth grade. I played for the Oro Valley Dolphins. That year, I realized that there is a drastic change that needed to happen for me to play quarterback.

I was so used to throwing dump-off routes in flag football that when I first threw a 15-yard out in tackle football, it was a huge shock to me. That was really my development year and it got me ready for my freshman year.

I went to Salpointe the next year and I started my freshman year on the freshman team and our team went 9-0. My sophomore year I think was my biggest jump in improvement in throwing and my mental game. That year, I played both JV and varsity. I finished with six games on varsity.

Coach Aaron Ravenell, who is now my offensive coordinator at Ironwood Ridge, helped me with the mental game at quarterback so much and taught me how to read a defense in tackle football really well. That year, my accuracy went up, my throw power went up and I felt like I had matured so much that year. The JV team ended up going 9-0 and the varsity team went undefeated and lost to Saguaro in the state championship game.

Peyton Pelletier looks to fulfill his promise as a high school QB during his senior season at Ironwood Ridge (Pelletier photo)

My junior year I really thought I had a shot at starting, but early that year I ended up tearing my MCL and was out basically the whole summer. I came back and was behind the other three quarterbacks, and it wasn’t looking like I would start that year as I had basically no time to prove myself.

For a better opportunity to achieve my goals and dreams, I transferred to Ironwood Ridge High School where I feel like I can showcase my talents and really prove to everyone and shock a lot of people. As soon as I got there, I felt an immediate connection with my teammates and Coach James Hardy. I sat out the whole season because of transfer rules and I never looked back. I trained every single day.

This offseason has been such a huge improvement for me I feel like as my ability to throw and make good decisions with the ball has improved tremendously. I have put on 20 pounds of good muscle weight as well.

I just feel like my high school career has had so many ups and downs but I have never looked back, regretting any decisions and choices I’ve made.

I am praying for a season, as this I feel like is a huge year for the Ironwood Ridge football team and a huge year for me.

My greatest hope for 2020-21 is to have a football season. Football is one of the most important things in my life next to God and my family, and I feel like without it, I don’t know what I’d be doing.

What I like most about our team this year, is our strong bond and connection. Ever since I got there, I felt a connection with that class and our chemistry on the field and off the field. We’re all working so hard TOGETHER for this upcoming season as we all know it is our last high school football season.

My future goal beyond school is to go and play college football, and after that, play football in the NFL one day. Playing football doesn’t last forever, so I’ve always had another dream of being a coach one day, whether it being a high school, college or professional coach.

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