By Adam Wolfe
Senior kicker Luis Elizondo joined the Maricopa High School Rams football team during the second week of the season in order to turn around the team’s lackluster kicking game.
As a junior, Elizondo showed interest in kicking for the Rams, but nothing came of it. As the team gathered for summer workouts, he again elected not to participate. He even chose to stay away during the first few weeks of practices.
Then, as he watched the first game from the stands, he saw four kickoffs go out of bounds and two extra points go wide. In that moment, something reignited his interest in the team, and Elizondo – a young man of few words – approached the coaching staff.
“He’s a kid that expressed interest in kicking for me last year, but all he did was express interest,” MHS football Head Coach Chris McDonald said. “It was a situation where I hadn’t seen him all summer, and I don’t know if he got cold feet because it’s football and it’s new to him, but he came out to the first game and saw what transpired. Then he came to me and expressed interest again.”
Despite the kicking woes for the Rams, Coach McDonald was unwilling to just give a roster spot to Elizondo. He had missed months of work with the team. He would have to earn his spot like everyone else.
“I said, ‘Well, if you’re really serious about this, you have to put in 10 practices before [he could be part of the team],’” McDonald reflected. “I told him to show up at certain times and he showed up and worked his tail off for 10 straight practices. Then he got out there and did what he did.”
Elizondo has continued his work with the team into week three of the season, and McDonald expects him to remain an important part of the kicking game for the remainder of the season.