Football coaches have to have something to worry about. It is in their nature. But when you lead 61-0 at halftime, such as the case for Canadian Wildcat coach Chris Koetting last week, in his team's home encounter with Clayton, NM, what do you fret about?
"Our extra point kicking has me at a loss," he said Monday. "We have always had someone step up and fill that role. Last year our kicker was 84-88 and he never kicked before his senior year. But this year...," Koetting shook his head as his thoughts tailed off.
The Canadian PAT kicking results of last week – 4 out of 7 - by the winner of the weekly kicking sweepstakes contest, Salvador Escamilla, was a huge improvement over the 0-6 performance of the previous week against Fritch. “Big Sal gets another chance his week,” said Koetting, after Wednesday’s practice.
His newly claimed kicking throne aside, Escamilla is perhaps the Wildcat’s most formidable lineman. A 6’1, 250 Senior, Salvador has attended the Canadian schools since half way through his kindergarten year. Amazingly, he never played football until his sophomore year of high school. “I had to have help and be taught just how to put on my pads. I knew nothing,” Escamilla now admits. "But everyone here has been so helpful to me. I am so glad I got the chance to play."
A young man who tips the scales at 250 pounds as a freshman walking the hallways of Canadian High School and is not out for football in a school where football is king? “The coaches were always on me to come out, but my parents didn’t want me to play. I had a bad accident to my leg when I was little and they were afraid I would hurt it again.”
Salvador gives the majority of credit for his meteorical rise as a football player to former teammate and All-State Canadian lineman Kyle Alexander. “He got me in the weight room in the off-season of my freshman year and he really made me work.” With Alexander, who is now a cadet and freshman football player at the United States Military Academy Prep School in West Point, NY, serving as the task master, Escamilla’s football stock soared. “I weighed the same back then as I do now,” Salvador says. “But back then I was fat. I am not fat now.”
Escamilla would like to continue his development as a football player some where in college next year. The coaching staff feels he is still a work in progress and will become a more complete player as experience helps him grow into the game.
Have mom and dad changed their mind about football, the muscular lineman (and now kicker) was asked? “Oh yeah, they come to every game. They are learning. They grew up in Mexico and know nothing about football. When I get home from the game now, they ask me all kinds of questions about why this and why that."
Escamilla has a 9 year old brother. Will he wait until he gets to his sophomore year to put on the pads for the Wildcats? “No way,” says Escamilla with a wide grin. "He is already playing. You just wait until he gets to high school. Now he is going to be good!"