Sebastian Corrales did not believe it.
Despite kicking less than 10 field goals during the regular season, Gatesville’s senior landed on the 2012 Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Class 3A All-State Football Team on Tuesday, beating out kickers from 190 schools to be named first-team kicker.
And when teammate J.D. Nolte informed him of the honor, Corrales thought he was the punchline of a joke.
“I didn’t believe him at all,” Corrales said, “I thought it was a prank and he was messing with me. But then they came and showed me, and as soon as I saw it, it just brought light into my eyes.”
Corrales provided the exclamation point to virtually all of the Hornets’ 51 touchdowns this season, connecting on 47 of his 50 extra-point attempts as Gatesville outscored its regular-season opponents 383-178 en route to an undefeated season.
Along the way, he made eight of nine field goals, and the Hornets won their first district championship since 2000. And regardless of whether he was kicking for one or three points, all Corrales wanted to do was put points on the scoreboard.
“I always wanted to score, and I was not ever really worried about me kicking,” he said. “So, thanks to them, the offense, even though I didn’t get many field goals.”
While it was difficult for any team to keep the Hornets’ potent offense from reaching the end zone, Corrales provided his team with the ultimate insurance policy.
With a season-best 47-yarder topping the list, Corrales produced four 40-yard field goals during the regular season, but the highlight of his career occurred in the playoffs, when his 35-yard field goal in overtime against Monahans gave the Hornets their only lead of the game. The 37-34 victory propelled Gatesville into the regional quarterfinals.
The season-saving kick, however, did not even factor into the voters decisions as the award is based on regular-season performance. While the moment is something Corrales will always treasure, it is merely part of what made the season meaningful to him.
“This whole season was special to me due to us being undefeated (through 13 games)”, Corrales said. “Who would have thought we’d be that good.”
Corrales was not the only Hornet to receive recognition, though.
Gatesville senior center Trevor Barton was named as an honorable mention at offensive line. Barton was integral in the Hornets’ success on offense, helping Gatesville field the district’s most balanced offense.
“I was happy,” Barton said of hearing he was recognized. “Anytime you can get on an all-state team, you’ve got to be happy.”
And after helping Gatesville produce the second-best record in school history, Barton viewed the recognition as an ideal way to punctuate his career.
“Once you find out your career is over, it is really the journey that makes you happy,” Barton said. “But it was definitely a good way to end it.”
The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder helped the Hornets average 406.1 yards per game, leading Gatesville to regular-season totals of 1,997 rushing and 2,064 passing yards.
And the offense seemingly grew stronger as the season went on. The Hornets beat each of their five district opponents by at least 20 points, outscoring the quintet by 123 points, 201-78, with Gatesville’s two all-state honorees combining to produce a significant portion of the points.
“I said, ‘Thank you’ to my holder Tyler Jaynes and (snapper) Barton because I couldn’t have done it without them,” Corrales said. “I’m the last part of the whole play. But having two all-state (selections) on the team is just awesome.”