Prior to the game a little known kicker, at least to most, was booting field goals from 40 and 50 yards out that sailed easily through the goal posts and into the street.
Several vehicles were hit, and not just glancing shots, but full force footballs coming at dent-producing speeds.
That kicker was West St. Mary’s Carlos Alvarez, who has moved on to the college ranks and kicked the opening kick off and several others in the University of Louisiana Lafayette’s win over San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl this past weekend.
Alvarez started the year as a red-shirt freshman but an injury late in the season in the Western Kentucky game thrust him into kickoff duty, losing the redshirt in the process.
Alvarez said it was tough making the transition from being a starter to a back up, but he knew his time would come.
“It was hard to take in, but I knew it was best for the team,” Alvarez said. “I knew I would get called upon sooner or later, so I just take it as it is.”
Growing up in Baldwin, Alvarez played soccer and always knew he had strength in his legs. It wasn’t until a high school football tryout that he realized he had a future on the gridiron.
“I played soccer and always had a strong leg, it just came to me naturally,” Alvarez said. “I was a striker or forward. When I got to high school I saw football and figured I would try out.”
At West St. Mary the talented kicker was named first-team All-District three times and ranked No. 44 in the nation by KohlsKicking.com and 52nd by ESPN.com as a senior.
During his senior season with the Wolfpack, he had touchbacks on 88.9 percent of his kickoffs; he was 40-for-40 on extra points and 6-for-12 on field goals with all of his field goals 45 yards or more with a career long of 50 yards.
The Ragin’ Cajuns starting kicker this season, Brett Baer, will be a senior next year so Alvarez will have to bide his time for another year before taking a more prominent role.
“We did a lot of hard work this summer and it feels great, I’m speechless at the moment,” Alvarez said following the tro-phy presentation and celebration on the field. “All this hard work wasn’t for nothing, it paid off.”