Utilizing sharp technique, Friendswood senior wide receiver Austin Alvarez has emerged this season as a go-to receiver for the Mustangs and a frustrating enigma for opposing defensive backs.
“It obviously shows, winning routes and catching balls,” Alvarez said of his route running ability. “It’s just such a good feeling to win every time, put on a show for the community and get first downs for my team. … It’s a good feeling, but, you know, I just want to keep doing it and keep winning.”
While Alvarez may not have the speed to simply blow by some defensive backs, his high-level, precise route running and ball awareness have given him an advantage this season.
“I’ve been here a long time, and I don’t know if we’ve had anyone run routes better,” Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann said. “We’ve had kids who were faster, but with his route running, he just turns kids around. It’s fun to watch.”
“He’s just smooth when you watch him,” Koopmann added. “He’s kind of become a technician. He takes pride in turning kids around, and that’s what he tries to do.”
After the Friendswood offense struggled in a win over crosstown rival Clear Brook, coaches made a concerted effort to get the ball to Alvarez in the next game against La Porte, Koopmann said.
“That’s when we decided that he’s going to be our guy,” Koopmann said. “We move him around and try to isolate him on DBs that we think he maybe can deal with.”
Alvarez led the Mustangs in receptions in that game with six and compiled 79 yards and a touchdown in a 43-7 blowout. It turned out the be a coming out party for the Friendswood offense, as the team has since scored 34 points against Texas City and 35 points against Ball High.
“Ever since that La Porte game, we’ve been looking pretty good,” Koopmann said. “We’ve been throwing the ball a lot better.”
Alvarez was again a major part of the game plan in those two District 10-5A-I contests, hauling in seven receptions for 107 yards and two touchdowns against Texas City, and 10 receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns against Ball High.
Still, ever the perfectionist, Alvarez says he still has yet to reach his peak performance.
“I go watch film after every game, and there’s a lot of things I can improve on,” Alvarez said. “So, I’m just looking to improve after every game.”
In addition to route running and ball awareness, Alvarez said other qualities that make for a quality wideout include confidence, physicality and never giving up on a play. In his third year on the varsity level, Alvarez — who is also the team’s place kicker and currently leads the district in points — is looking to continue to exude those qualities in what he hopes will be a memorable senior season.
“I learned a lot over the past two years, and this year is just my year to show out,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez and the Mustangs (5-0, 2-0 in district) host the Richmond Foster Falcons (3-2, 2-0) this week in a key 10-5A-I matchup scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Henry Winston Stadium.