By Sebastian Noel
For Enchantment Sports
Two years ago, football and wrestling standout Diego Pavia decided to transfer from St. Pius High to Volcano Vista and applied for a hardship waiver, which would have allowed him to compete right away.
He didn’t think it would become much of an issue.
“Not everyone has the money to go to St. Pius, they have to let me play (without sitting out),” is what Pavia, Volcano Vista’s starting quarterback said he was thinking at the time. He said his parents suffered a financial hardship and he would no longer be able to attend St. Pius.
The New Mexico Activities Association didn’t agree and the hardship waiver was denied.
He made the transfer, despite being ineligible to play varsity for the Hawks last season.
But he says his weight lifting and work away from the field intensified his desire to get back on the field.
“Everyday before school, after school I worked. I got up to 190, gained thirty pounds of muscle,” says Pavia, who is the Dreamstyle/Enchantment Sports Player of the Week.
It is not lost on him what his decision to transfer may have cost him in the future.
The state’s premiere dual threat quarterback realizes his junior season being wiped out by that decision may have cost him college looks for next year.
“I don’t have enough offers right now,” Pavia laments.
His focus now is on this year and his teammates, many of which he played with even before his early years at St. Pius. He compares his addition to Volcano Vista to Kevin Durant, “a lot of all stars playing together hoping for one dream.”
His senior year has also had some hardships.
Opening Night, with his team leading La Cueva, Pavia took a hit from Noah Woisin, landed awkwardly and thought his ankle was broken.
Luckily it was not, and after missing a few weeks he was back out.
Week five against Sandia, Pavia, a great rushing quarterback (48 carries for 312 yards on the season) , hurdled a Matador defender and was hit again. A “major setback” Pavia thought at the time.
Pavia told his head coach, Chad Wallin, “I’m coming back for the Cleveland and Rio Rancho games no matter what happens.”
He came back one week ahead of schedule to face Atrisco Heritage.
And did he ever come back.
Pavia was 21-25 passing for 310 yards and had 129 yards rushing with a total of four combined touchdowns in a 51-43 win against the Rams to clinch the District 1-6A title.
Last week, the Hawks capped their unbeaten regular season with a 41-14 rout of Cibola to clinch the No. 1 seed and a bye for this week’s first round of the playoffs.
Sebastian Noel is a play-by-play announcer for ProView Networks, and also is host of “Local Focus with Sebastian Noel,” airing weeknights at 10 p.m., on ProView. Noel, also serves as the on-field reporter during the My50TV game of the week during the football season.