When Hylton junior quarterback Darius Reynolds took his first snap late in the first quarter of Friday night's 27-3 victory over visiting Woodbridge, it was junior offensive tackle William Alvarez who ensured that the ailing quarterback made a successful entrance.
Reynolds, playing with a bruised tailbone, came into the game with two minutes left in the first quarter and his team trailing 3-0. On his first play, he dropped back and completed an 18-yard pass to junior T.J. Clark, who was stopped at the 1-yard line.
The play, which set up senior Courtney Anderson's one-yard touchdown run, might never had happened were it not for Alvarez's pulverizing block of a would-be Vikings tackler coming from Reynolds's blindside.
"To know that you're a main part of a play when someone catches a pass that leads to a touchdown, it feels real good," Alvarez said. "When you're a lineman and you keep your man from sacking the QB, you know you've done what you need to do."
Such big plays are becoming a frequent occurrence for Alvarez, who at a massive 6 feet 5, 310 pounds, was the only thing on the field that rivaled the Hummer stretch limousine that accompanied Hylton's halftime homecoming festivities.
Alvarez has been playing football for only three seasons, but has already been offered a scholarship to Virginia, where he impressed coaches at a camp over the summer. He also has attracted interest from Maryland.
He moved to Prince William County from Fairfax before his freshman year. Previously, Alvarez concentrated on playing basketball. But since Hylton Coach Lou Sorrentino pulled him up to varsity that year, the focus has shifted to football. From his time on the court, Alvarez has retained some nimbleness in his feet, a fact that makes Reynolds comfortable on his blindside.
"He's a pretty big blocker and I trust him over there," Reynolds said. "He's gotten a lot of pancakes [blocks] this year and helps control the offensive line."
Sorrentino likes what he has seen from Alvarez and expects him to continue improving, which could only help the Bulldogs (8-0, 3-0 AAA Cardinal District) keep their undefeated season from being sacked.
"William is obviously an imposing figure, and he gets better and better for us each week," Sorrentino said. "He just needs to play."