Walden Grove High school graduate Adrian Alvarado has made a lasting impact on the football field since stepping foot on it his sophomore year and trying out for the placekicker position.
The decision for the soccer player to become a two-sport athlete was an easy one for him, seeing that his friends were also players on the team.
Alvarado spent his first year of football on the junior-varsity level before becoming the full-time varsity kicker his junior and senior year.
He has been impressing both spectators and recruiters alike with his dynamic leg power and accuracy.
Alvarado says the transition to placekicking was a smooth one for him through out the years.
“Soccer definitely helped with the power, but my junior year is where I worked on my mechanics,” Alvarado said. ”What definitely helped was my coach, coach (Kyle) Day. And then after my senior year and playing in the (Southern Arizona Senior) All-Star game, I had Pierre Arnaud from Salpointe, which boosted my power and accuracy to a whole other level.
“Without coach Day and Pierre Arnaud, I would not be where I’m at.”
Alvarado took his newfound passion and quickly excelled at it, becoming the No. 64-ranked punter and No. 71 placekicker in the nation going into his senior season. He was also the No. 2 kicker in Arizona.
It was that senior season when Alvarado knew that football was the sport for him.
“My junior year, I kind of figured I would stick with it,” Alvarado said. “My senior year, when I started going to all these camps (and) got that rating, that’s when I started really sticking with it. That’s when I left soccer and came to football.”
Although Alvarado had a multitude of scholarship offers coming in for him, Alvarado made the choice to stay close to home and play his first two years of college football on the Sonoran Sidewinders.
“I wanted to stay close to home because my dad passed away, I didn’t wanna leave my mom,” Alvarado said. ”I decided to come here and do my two years here. Then I’ll be transferring after the season.”
Alvarado’s father, Raul Alvarado, was highly respected at Walden Grove, where he worked for more than 10 years as a monitor.
The student-athletes on both the soccer and football teams cherished him and he enjoyed supporting his son and teammates during sports events.
The elder Alvarado passed away on Dec. 10, 2020, due to COVID-19.
The Sonoran Sidewinders have a tough test ahead of them with the Papago Pumas on Saturday at the Santa Rita High School football field.
The two teams were scheduled to play each other on Sept. 24, but that game was postponed due to health and safety protocols by the Pumas.
With only 21-25 players on the active roster, it is going to be a challenge for the Sidewinders to finish strong.
Despite this, Alvarado does not see the low numbers as a setback, but rather a chance to see who really wants to step up.
“I don’t see it as a disadvantage,” Alvarado said. ”I think it shows who really is a hard worker, who’s dedicated to playing football, (and) who wants to go to the next level.”
The Sidewinders and the Pumas are set to kick off at 7 p.m, The game will be streamed on the HJCAC YouTube channel.