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The City Journals

Sidearm gunslinger follows in family tradition as Alta quarterback

Oct 03, 2019 12:42PM ● By Ron Bevan

Alta senior quarterback Cinco Lucero is the third family member to suit up for Alta, as well as the third family quarterback. Lucero’s older brother, Chipper, was an Alta quarterback, while Alex played center. Cinco’s father, Bob, was a quarterback at Lehi High School. (Photo by Ron Bevan/City Journls)

By Ron Bevan | [email protected]

His speed is on display during conditioning workouts after practices at Alta. Running the width of the football field with the rest of the team, the lean, curly-haired quarterback zips along as fast or faster than any other teammate.

But it didn’t seem that would be the case during Cinco Lucero’s childhood. Lucero didn’t develop certain motor skills as fast as his four older siblings. He didn’t roll over, crawl or walk until he was about one and a half years old. 

“It was the craziest thing,” Karen Lucero, Cinco’s mother, said. “I wish I had a good story as to why, but there was never any real reason for it. We even had physical therapists come in who couldn’t figure it out.”

And he communicated by snapping his fingers, something that helped the Cinco get his parents and siblings attention.

“I actually was very quiet when I was young,” Cinco said. “To get people’s attention I would snap my fingers. I was a really good snapper when I was little and that was how I would talk to people.”

“He is a very bright person, even at a young age,” added Karen. “He figured out that he could snap his fingers and get us to do things without having to speak.”

Now Cinco uses that intelligence to lead the Alta offense. And he is no longer shy, barking out orders and assigning routes, all without snapping his fingers.

Perhaps it was fate that brought him to the quarterback slot. His older brother Chipper Lucero played quarterback at Alta. His father Bob was also a high school quarterback at Lehi High School.

Bob even coached all the Lucero boys as they entered through the little league football system. 

But it might be Chipper behind some of Cinco’s success as quarterback.

“I think Chipper was his idol for a while,” Karen said. “They have a lot in common. They both have the skills a quarterback needs. Cinco grew up watching Chipper on the sidelines.”

“Chipper is somebody I look up to in so many things,” added Cinco. “Since he had already been through this program as a quarterback I am always asking him for help.”

But one help he hasn’t taken in is his throw — many coaches that tried to change Cinco’s throw to a more conventional overhand release. Cinco developed a side arm release as a baseball player, and transitioned it to football.

“Many coaches have tried to change my throw, but I feel I am more accurate with the delivery I am accustomed to using,” Cinco said. 

Cinco credits the bulk of his success, however, to his teammates, a group of athletes that have forged a bond as they came up through Alta’s ranks.

“We are all like a large family,” Cinco said. “My offensive line and I are all like brothers. And the receivers I have are amazing. They are really tall so I am able to throw the ball high to them. I wouldn’t be even remotely close to a good quarterback if I didn’t have these receivers and my line.”

Among Cinco’s receivers are seniors Jaden Kinnersley and Daniel Thomason, and junior D’Andre Randolph. The trio are the main targets when Alta puts the ball in the air.

“This is a small senior class for our football team so we have to shuffle players around to make it work,” Alta head coach Alema Teo said. “We don’t have that big time recruit like everybody has. We have several guys that are really good and great leaders.”

While Alta remained in Region 7 after this summer’s reclassifications were made by the Utah High School Athletic Association, many of its region opponents are new faces. Gone are the days of playing crosstown rivals Jordan and Brighton. Now nearly all of Alta’s opponents are in Utah County, including Lehi, Mountain View, Orem, Timpanogos and Timpview. The closest high school the Hawks will be facing is the freshly opened Mountain Ridge High School in Herriman.