Sebastian Corrales’ mind was blank.
The Gatesville kicker was not thinking about what he needed to do, the severity of the moment or what would happen if he missed.
He simply lined up and kicked the ball as he has done numerous times.
This time it did mean more, though.
After another rally by Gatesville sent the game into overtime, Corrales hit a 35-yard, game-winning field goal to lift the Hornets to 37-34 win over Monahans to advance to the Division II-3A quarterfinals.
“There was nothing going through my mind at that moment,” said the senior. “There was absolutely nothing.”
And afterward, he was speechless.
But what else can anyone say about the Hornets’ ability to pull off these wins.
The regional-round victory at Shotwell Stadium was just another display of poise and determination by the Hornets, who find new ways to win every week.
Sure, most of the plays are made my quarterback Cole Edmiston, running back Jake Kee or wide receiver and cornerback Tyler Jaynes.
But, almost every time, it also involves Corrales.
Kickers hardly get any love, but Gatesville is not where they are now without him.
They probably are not even close.
They certainly are not 13-0. They do not have a shot at a state title. They are maybe not even in the playoffs.
The team has faith in its senior kicker.
It always has. Last season, Corrales kicked a 47-yard field goal to lift the team to a win over China Spring midway through the District 19-3A slate.
And with time winding down, the Hornets did not even really try to get any extra yards. Edmiston just ran the ball to line it up for his kicker.
He knew they were already within Corrales’ range.
So Friday, when the Gatesville defense held and Monahans missed its own field goal attempt, the Hornets knew in their hearts that they had the game all-but locked up.
Starting at the 25-yard line, all they had to do was not turn the ball over.
Unlike most high school teams, they have a kicker who can treat a 42-yard attempt like a chip shot. Sure, it isn’t, not really, and Corrales has missed a few kicks.
In fact, one extra pointwas blocked that could have given Gatesville the win in regulation.
But Corrales can’t block defenders, too. He just kicks the ball and watches it sail through the uprights.
Sure, he shanked one earlier this year in Gatesville’s 24-8 win over Waco Connally.
But that was nondistrict play and it was his only miss of the season.
Corrales is 11-of-12 on his field goal attempts and has made 61 of his 66 extra point attempts in 2012. Like every other Gatesville football player this season, Corrales simply does his job.
When the Hornets needed an onside kick to steal momentum away from Alvarado in the area round, Cooper did not hesitate to call for it. After taking a 35-28 lead in the fourth quarter, Cooper decided to attempt an onside kick with 5:11 remaining in the game.
The choice was risky considering an unsuccessful kick would give Alvarado good field position with plenty of time to engineer a game-tying drive. Corrales sent the ball toward the Hornets’ sideline, and J.D. Nolte made the recovery.
It was just another play in a string of big ones for Gatesville this season.
It was just another play that involved Corrales. A play that he can do at this point without even thinking about it. Because that is how Corrales operates.
That is how and why the Hornets work.
Contact Nick Talbot at email@example.com or (254) 501-7569