This week’s guest is currently trending up the McKinney football team’s single-season receiving record books and is motivated by a desire to honor his late brother, Adrian Solorzano, to have a strong final campaign with the Lions.
Please relax and enjoy the McKinney Courier-Gazette’s Sunday Spotlight Conversation with McKinney senior wide receiver Isaiah Rojas
What did you do over the summer that has helped you have a great start to your senior season?
Rojas: This summer was (full of) intense workouts with Performance Course, installed with speed and agility. After Performance Course, I also did a full-body workout at Second Chance boxing gym with coach Garcia. I also would look up film and critique myself and see what I could improve on the field.
This summer, I also gained a lot of chemistry with my teammates by hanging out off the field and building a brotherhood that has only gotten stronger throughout the years.
How does it feel to be one of the most productive receivers in the area after the first few weeks of the season?
Rojas: Honestly, I can’t take the credit all to myself. It seriously hasn’t even hit me that I was at the top of the list. First and foremost, I have to thank my brothers on the front line. Without them being the hogs they are, Sampson “The Sandman” Nazarko wouldn’t be able to give me the opportunity to make the play.
Football isn’t a one-man game. Anything I gain, my bros ride with me – like (McKinney head coach Marcus) Shavers installed in us, “We All We Got, We All We Need.”
What are you doing to adjust to the increased attention you are receiving every Friday night?
Rojas: I have a great coaching staff behind me. We are always big on film and studying our pros and cons and what I need to do to improve.
That doesn’t stop there – my dad is big on the game and is always my No. 1 supporter and critic. Aside from that, I’ve always tried to stay humble and keep a good head on my shoulders and let the lion out on the field when need be.
Can you let us in on how the connection you have with sophomore quarterback Sampson Nazarko has helped you score a touchdown in every game this season?
Rojas: Sampson and I have a connection on and off the field. He is honestly like a little brother.
I see so much of myself in him. We built a strong bond this summer, which has helped so much on the field. Working out with him this summer, just me and him, helped us see each other’s style, and it only grew from there.
The connection we have is seriously as if I was playing catch with myself. Sampson has an amazing future in him, and I’m glad to be able to share my senior year with him.
Give some insight into your relationship with head coach Marcus Shavers and how has he impacted your career.
Rojas: Coach Shavers has not only impacted my career, but my life. He has been the first high school coach who really wanted to know who Isaiah Rojas was on and off the field. He didn’t just care about “Zay” and what Zay could do on the football field.
This man has been in my home and eaten a real Mexican breakfast with us, didn’t leave my side when I struggled with losing my brother this summer and has helped my family with dealing with such a great loss. The love and support he shows is not only in someone’s time of need, but is 24/7.
I know I will make it far because of the time and effort he has installed into me.
Describe the emotions of making the play to seal McKinney’s first “Crosstown Showdown” victory over Boyd in nine seasons last year.
Rojas: Man, now that is one game that I still can’t get over. The emotions were out of this world, as that play was just perfect for me. The ball literally fell in my hands.
The Boyd game has always been a big deal, especially since I played with most of those guys in middle school. I can’t lie, we were on fire that night, and the whole team showed out.
That game was dedicated to my grandfather, who I lost the summer coming into freshman year.
How has the death of your brother, Adrian Solorzano, inspired you to have a great senior season and make your dreams come true?
Rojas: Me and my brother have always been super close. At one point everyone, even ourselves, thought we were twins. Since we were 4 and 5 years old, we have always played ball, and I have always been my brother’s keeper, as he was always much smaller but louder than me.
Coming into freshman year, we lost our grandfather and made a pact to make him happy and ball out on and off the field. We had so many plans for senior year and even college.
When Adrian started wrestling is when I realized how much heart he really had, which is so much bigger than I could have ever imagined. I visit my brother in his resting place about two or three times a week and still talk to him about our dreams, school, football and just everyday life.
This is a loss nobody ever prepares you for. It’s not anything I will ever forget. He was supposed to be here by my side all the way. Now, in memory of him, I will continue to live our dreams. I will make it big in whatever I do, and I will always keep his memory alive.
As the pastor said at his funeral, Adrian was a “true general.” He lived right, tight and loud. Our hashtag in memory of Adrian is #WEGOINGFED2020, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m going fed this season.
How big of a deal would it be for you to finish your career with another appearance in the playoffs and to get a scholarship to play college football next fall?
Rojas: Honestly, right now, I haven’t even thought about the playoffs. I take things one game at a time and get better day by day, not week by week.
My main focus right now is knocking these next few games out and to keep the scores and my position rising. A scholarship has always been my main goal, and it’s what my parents and coaches have been preparing me for my whole career.
But, back to the playoffs – I know we will be there, and we will show out.