Pinela named PI’s Male Athlete of the Month
October 17, 2016
Editor's note: The Post Independent this week begins a new, regular feature recognizing high school student-athletes. We will name a male and female athlete of the month, fall semester and year, nominated and selected by athletic directors. September's female honoree was featured Monday. Top academic achievements will be recognized close to graduation.
Things might not be going as well as he'd hoped coming into the year for the Roaring Fork Rams football team, but senior Aldo Pinela is having one impressive individual season on both sides of the ball.
Through six games, Pinela has proven to be the big-play threat for the Rams on offense while showcasing his speed and instincts on defense, where he's playing outstanding football as a safety. On offense, Pinela is averaging 62.5 rushing yards per game while adding 37.2 yards per game receiving to go along with two receiving touchdowns of more than 60 yards. The senior has really stepped up as the big-play threat for the Carbondale program, but where he seems to be making his hay is on defense, with 25 total tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery on the season to go with a handful of pass breakups.
Pinela came into the year wanting to lead the Rams to the playoffs and be named to the all-conference team. Despite the early-season struggles for the Rams, they're still in the playoff picture in the 2A Western Slope League. As for Pinela, he appears well on his way to an all-conference selection. Receiving the Post Independent's September Male Athlete of the Month is just one small step in a grand picture for the senior leader.
"It's just a great honor to get this award," Pinela said. "Having this support just feels good knowing that you have people who have your back and see that you're playing well. It's just a proud feeling. When I told my parents, they were really happy, and to see them happy was so rewarding. It's one of my goals to represent my school and family the right way, so to be able to accomplish that is very fulfilling."
He's been fulfilling a lot of promise in Carbondale over the last few seasons on both sides of the ball. While also a standout basketball and baseball player, Pinela has quietly been one of the most consistent players for Roaring Fork through six games for the 2-5 (2-1 2A WSL) Rams, who sit alone in second place in the league behind Basalt and Moffat County, who are tied at the top with identical 3-0 records in league play.
"I've just worked hard all year," Pinela said. "I think I've had a pretty good season so far, but I'm going to keep working hard these last few weeks and hope everything works out well for us as a team."
As for his play on the field, Pinela plays an integral role offensively, and it's something that he looks forward to each and every week, while also taking pride in stepping up on defense for a shorthanded team.
"I enjoy just kind of mixing it up being in the backfield and then lining up outside to keep defenses off balance," Pinela said. "I'm able to use all of my skills in terms of speed and catch, being able to get away from defenders. It just helps out the team, especially for [quarterback] Hayden [Bernot] having more weapons to work with.
"I've gotten used to the role since that's what I've been doing all throughout high school. I'm pretty confident in this role. Last season as a junior it was one of my goals to go both ways during the game, so I've done a lot of work to be able to endure the workload throughout the game. It helps out the team, since we don't have a lot of players. If I can go both ways and fill one of those roles then I feel like I'm doing my part and feel like I've accomplished something."