Christopher Wuensch, CWuensch@ExplorerNews.com
Nov. 30, 2005 - It's been three days since the Canyon Del Oro High School football team's season has come to an end, eliminated in gut-wrenching style from the state playoffs, and Peter Romero is already itching to get back on the field.
Football may satiate his competitive appetite, but soccer - or football depending on which part of the world you live - is his lifeblood.
It was football, however, where Romero made a name for himself. On the gridiron the stocky senior was a major force behind CDO's 10-2 season and playoff push.
Arguably the most dangerous threat out of any backfield in the Northwest or Foothills area, Romero followed up a solid junior campaign with a monstrous senior season. In 12 games, he rushed for an average of 114 yards per game and nearly nine-yards-per-carry en route to a 1,262-yard season. He finished the year ranked 25th in the state in rushing and third overall in Southern Arizona behind Sunnyside High School's Mike Smith (1,813 yards) and Sabino High School's Glyndon Bolasky (1,711).
His 19 touchdowns and 146 total points were enough to double up his next closest teammate, which in both cases was tight end Aaron Tevis.
Romero's finest hour may have come against Marana High School on Oct. 14. The Marana defense was no match for Romero, who torched the Tigers for 281-yards and a new school single game rushing record. By half-time, he had already accumulated 250 yards on only 12 carries.
Despite taking a beating on the field, Romero says he is ready to go for the soccer season, where more records await to be broken.
"Right now, I'm 100 percent," said Romero. The forward was held out of the lineup for CDO's first game of the season a 2-2 tie against Douglas High School.
After one game, the competitive fire is still burning.
"I think I could have made a big difference against Douglas," he said. "I really wanted to come out and win coming off of the (playoff) loss."
The first soccer record to go down this season may be a personal one if the senior has his say. In his final year, he is looking to eclipse nine goals, a mark he's hit each of the last two years. Goal No. 1 came four days after the football season ended in CDO's 6-0 win over Santa Rita High School. The forward will have a deep and experienced team to help him score goals this season and vice versa.
On either the football or soccer field - which at CDO is the same - Romero is as dynamic an athlete you will find in all of Southern Arizona; problems arise, however, when the senior doesn't allow his feet to do all the talking.
It's a trait that CDO head football coach Pat Nugent chalks up to Romero's unparalleled competitive nature.
That un-caged zealous drive has been the bane of Romero and has often drawn the ire of opposing teams and fans. Whether it's spouting off offensive quotes to the press about other teams or dancing mid-field after a touchdown at Ironwood Ridge High School, Romero has earned his share of detractors and time on the bench for disciplinary reasons.
"Peter Romero is a very talented player," said CDO soccer coach Pedram Mahinpey. "If he can stay focused, then we'll be very successful."
Despite the reputation, Romero is confident a life in either sport, in some capacity, awaits him after high school.
"I think I can go farther in life in soccer," said Romero before practice on Nov. 23. That still isn't going to dissuade him from trying to catch on with a college football team willing to give him a shot. A position at running back would be ideal, but Romero hasn't ruled out the possibility of kicking.
For CDO this season he booted two less PATs (17) than touchdowns and punched in 5 of 7 on his field goal attempts, his longest a 46-yarder.
Schools that peak his interest are Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. and Northern Arizona University.
"We'll see if anyone wants me," he said.