Mohawks’ Alvaro Rojas-Penas making an impact as kicker

Morley Stanwood kicker Alvaro Rojas-Penas aims to help the Mohawks qualify for postseason play. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

MORLEY — Moving to a new school can be difficult. Moving to a new school in a different country all the more so.

Playing a new sport in a new school in a different country may seem daunting to some, but Alvaro Orjas-Penas was up for the challenge.

A foreign exchange student from Madrid, Spain, Orjas-Penas enrolled at Morley Stanwood High School and decided to give football a try. While soccer was his favorite sport, Morley Stanwood doesn’t have a varsity program. Football allowed him to make friends and see what American football was all about.

It didn’t take long for Orjas-Penas to shine on the field. With 25 seconds remaining in the game, the junior kicked a 27-yard field goal to lift the Mohawks to a 16-14 win over Lakeview on Sept. 7.

“This is my first year playing,” he said. “It’s not too difficult being a kicker here, but I know I have to get better.  Before coming here, I didn’t know anything about football. When I got here, during the three weeks of camp I learned all of the tactics and stuff.

“I really like it. It’s a strange, exciting sport. It’s been really fun to play.”

Moving from a city with a metro population of over 3,000,000 to a community of roughly 1,000 was quite the culture shock for Orjas-Penas, but it wasn’t the biggest difference in his mind.

“The amount of junk food here is crazy,” he said. “I’m going to have to do some extra workouts. The food here is great, though.”

Orjas-Penas makes sure to follow his favorite soccer club Real Madrid whenever he can. His favorite player is Lionel Messi.

“Messi is the best,” he said. “He plays the best fútbol I’ve ever seen. He’s one of the reasons I love fútbol .”

He may be the most inexperienced player on the team, but Orjas-Penas is a major asset to the Mohawks’ program and aims to help the team accomplish its goals.

“Our main goals are making the playoffs and winning the conference,” he said. “As far as school goals I just want to get the best grades that I can.”

Leave a Reply