Michael Cisneros has spent his whole life in Mercedes. At seven years old, Cisneros first stepped onto the gridiron, beginning his journey to becoming a Tiger.

After beginning his career at running back, the agile athlete made the move to quarterback at age 12, a move he’s stuck with since.

Since making the move, Cisneros had dreamed of becoming the next quarterback at Mercedes, watching players like Zach Gomez and Mark Ledesma leave their mark on the Tigers’ program.

His opportunity arose going into his sophomore year, being named the Tigers’ starter for the 2019 campaign.

Cisneros solidified the Tigers’ quarterback position for the next three years, capping off his career with a dominant senior season, throwing for 2,631 yards and 30 touchdowns, while adding 762 yards and 11 scores on the ground.

With Cisneros at the helm, the Tigers fielded the Valley’s most explosive offense, averaging 453.3 yards and 43.3 points per game. The Tigers rode their offense to a 9-2 overall record, earning a share of the District 16-5A DII crown for the first time since 2016.

For his offensive prowess, Cisneros is The Monitor’s 2021 All-Area Player of the Year.

“I’m extremely grateful. All the hard work I’ve put in, it’s finally showing. It showed this football season and I’m just grateful for it,” he said. “It’s not just me though. My teammates helped me get this award. My lineman, running backs and receivers, just my whole team especially my head coach, coach (Roger) Adame. He’s a good coach, one of the best to ever do it. It’s not just my award, it’s my whole teams.”

Mercedes quarterback Michael Cisneros (4) passes the ball against Mission Veterans in a 16-5A DII matchup Friday, Oct. 22 at Tiger Stadium in Mercedes. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The Tigers’ offense ran through Cisneros all season long, with the senior signal-caller leading the team in total yards in each of their 11 games. Cisneros slashed defenses with both his arm and legs, finishing second in the Valley in passing yards during the regular season, while ranking second on the team in rushing yards.

No game showed off Cisneros versatility more than the Tigers’ week 9 game against the Mission Veterans Patriots. With the Patriots keying in on the Tigers’ passing attack, Cisneros was limited to a season-low 105 passing yards.

Never phased, Cisneros took to the ground, dicing up the Patriots’ defense for a season-high 133 yards, while scoring the go-ahead score to help secure a share of the district title.

Mercedes quarterbackk Michael Cisneros (4) carries the ball against the Mission Veterans defense during a 16-DII matchup Friday, Oct. 22 at Tiger Stadium n Mercedes. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

“You have to trust yourself and your team,” Cisneros said. “But most importantly, you have to take what the defense gives you. That’s the most important. The defense is always going to leave spots. Whether it’s a check down or a run, they’re always going to leave something wide open. They can’t guard both the pass and the run. You just have to take advantage, keep calm and be composed. If everybody’s freaking out and you’re the quarterback freaking out too, that’s not good.”

Since arriving on campus, Mercedes head coach Roger Adame said he knew he had something special in Cisneros, with his teammates following his lead despite his youth.
Cisneros natural leadership and determination was a key to his success on the field during his three seasons leading the offense.

“His biggest strength is his ability to lead and have people follow him,” Adame said. “That’s something special because for people to respect you and follow you, you have to show you’re willing to be down there, get the work done and take the big hits. He was one of those players. It didn’t matter what adversity we went through, whether we were down or fumbled, he’d get on the sideline and tell the guys let’s get this done.”

During the playoffs, Cisneros showed his leadership once again, giving the Tigers a late lead over Boerne Champion on a three-yard touchdown run during the fourth quarter. Despite ultimately losing the game 36-29, Cisneros left it all on the field, finishing with 257 passing yards, while adding 65 rushing yards and two scores.

The three-year starter wrapped up his career with 5,938 passing yards and 56 touchdowns, adding 1,767 yards and 19 scores on the ground. With a 22-8 career mark, Cisneros has cemented his name among the greatest to ever do it at Mercedes, Adame said.

“He’s going to be one of the top players out there to come to Mercedes,” Adame said. “He has the stats. He’s at the top. He’s one of the top quarterbacks to come out here, if not the top quarterback. We’ve had great athletes and quarterbacks who have done special things, but Mike is going to be right up there with them.”

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