His high school athletic career ended with a home run. Before that, his last act on the football field was joining his teammates in celebration of a state championship.

It’s been a fantastic ride for Desert Vista senior-turned graduate since breaking into the varsity scene as a left-handed starter for the Thunder baseball program.

One of the lasting images of his time at Desert Vista came just before halftime of the football state semifinals against Basha.

Rodriguez made a rare bad read, threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown to give the Bears life heading into the break, although Desert Vista led 21-17.

Rodriguez was on his back around the opposing 30-yard line. It was unclear whether or not he was hurt, angry at himself for the interception, or both.

It wasn’t long before his teammates came to his aid and helped him before heading into the locker room.

He came out determined and led the Thunder to three second-half scoring drives on the way to the win.

Rodriguez was calm, precise and calculating.

In other words, he was his usual self.

He was selected to the first team Division In All-Section III and the All-Tempe football first team as a quarterback. He has also been selected to the 2012 All-Tempe baseball team as a pitcher and first baseman.

This week he was picked for the Bill Kajikawa Scholar Athlete Award of Excellence Winner at the All-City Awards for Tempe.

Before he heads to Utah on a baseball scholarship, Rodriguez receives one more accolade: The Ahwatukee Foothills News Male Senior Athlete of the Year.

One last look at

Hunter Rodriguez

Date of birth: Oct. 3, 1993

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 210

Family members: Father Daville Rodriguez, younger brother Chase (aka Chunker) Rodriguez, mother Connie Watson, stepdad Mark Watson

Car (year and make): 2006 Nissan Titan

Hobbies: Guitar, reading the Bible, volleyball, watching movies

Favorite TV show: SportsCenter

Favorite movie(s): “Passion of the Christ,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Dumb and Dumber,” “Gladiator”

Favorite actor: Will Smith

Favorite athlete: Derek Jeter

Favorite song: “Love Song for a Savior,” Jars of Clay, also “Back of the bus Rhyme,” credit to (baseball teammates) Ryan Snelson and Luke Leftwich

Favorite book: The Bible

Favorite number: 10

Best compliment: Being chosen for this award

Worst advice: I am so blessed with a lot of people who give me nothing but great advice. However, it would have to be anyone who tells me not to chase after my dreams

Best advice: It’s not about winning, it’s about the effort it takes to get there. And learning every step of the way — DV baseball coach Stan Luketich

The thing I like most about sports: Its ability to bring out the best in people

What I dislike most about sports: Sometimes sports get put too high on the priority list for people. It is just an avenue for people to learn the importance of so many crucial qualities and life skills

If I could do one thing over in my life: I would have slowed down and not rear-ended a car a few months after I got my license

Last dream you remember: Me winning “American idol”… I am a horrible singer

What I will remember most about high school: The trip I took to Israel (to be baptized in December 2011)

If you won the lottery what are the first three things you would do: Cry. My grad party would be pretty sweet. And then I’d probably try to save some

Describe your perfect day: Just being with the friends and family I care about the most

Where will you be in 10 years: Hopefully doing what I love and doing it for the right reasons

Where will you be in 20 years: Traveling the world

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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