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NOTEBOOK : Football Team to Honor Slain Garfield Graduate

October 16, 1994|KIRBY LEE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Garfield High football team will wear No. 34 on its helmets in memory of Carlos Alvarado, a starting fullback on the Bulldogs' 1993 Southeastern Conference championship team who was killed Oct. 7.

Alvarado, 19, was shot in the back while driving through East Los Angeles at about 10:30 p.m. shortly after attending Garfield's home football game against Jordan.

Alvarado was able to drive his convertible jeep another five blocks before he collapsed at the wheel and died. Authorities, who said the killer may have wanted to steal his jeep, are still searching for a suspect.

"I talked to him for a few minutes the week before and he waved to the school police as he was leaving the game," Garfield Coach John Aguirre said. "Within 15 minutes he was dead. It's just a sad thing. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The shooting is the second tragedy to strike the Garfield football program in the past two years. Coach Steve Robinson died of a heart attack in 1993.

Alvarado was academically ineligible as a junior, but earned a starting position after raising his grades in order to play his senior year.

"He showed a lot of potential his 10th-grade year, but he got sidetracked his junior year," Aguirre said. "As a senior, he made some changes in life and showed he was really headed for something. It's a shame he never got to reach those goals."

Alvarado, whose father was shot and killed at age 21, was raised by his mother, aunt and grandmother. Alvarado was attending Rio Hondo College to become a paramedic and working part-time installing windows.

About 60 people, including former teammates, coaching staff, family and friends, showed up at a car wash Tuesday to raise money for Alvarado's family. A collection was also held at Garfield last week.

The Garfield football team attended a wake Oct. 6 and a funeral at Rose Hills Cemetery the next day before its game against South Gate.

Armando Figueroa, a childhood friend and teammate of Alvarado, remembers Alvardo for his generosity. He said Alvarado gave him some of his best clothes after Figueroa's clothes were stolen from his yard.

"That's the kind of person he was, a friend everyone wanted," Figueroa said.

*

Double trouble--Quarterback controversy at Bell Gardens High?

Not after the performance of Eddie Negrete and Guillermo Alvarez in Bell Gardens' 20-7 victory over El Rancho on Oct. 7.

Negrete, a safety who replaced Alvarez at quarterback after the first game of the season, completed 10 of 15 passes for 184 yards.

Meanwhile, Alvarez found his niche at receiver after sitting out three games as the backup quarterback. He caught five passes for 147 yards, including touchdowns of 67 and 22 yards.

"That's a pretty neat deal," Bell Gardens Coach Dave Newell said. "It's a great lesson for the other players, too. Guillermo thought he was lost in the shuffle but he came back and played a great game. We feel real good that we have found a spot he can be successful at."

Alvarez shouldn't rule out playing quarterback yet. Alvarez proved a qualified backup after Negrete suffered an ankle injury midway through the third quarter with the Lancers' clinging to a 14-7 lead.

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