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CANYON – Four years ago, former La Joya soccer standout Sergio Castillo thought he was going to play soccer in college and never imagined he would be an All-American college football player for West Texas A&M University.
Castillo, 22, was recently named a NCAA Division II All-American and also garnered All-Conference honors from the Lone Star Conference for the third year in a row as a placekicker for West Texas A&M.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it,” said Castillo. “The main thing was team first. I knew that I was putting up good numbers and good stats, and they were telling me that there was a chance.”
The former La Joya standout was West Texas A&M’s leading scorer this season with 129 points. Castillo converted 20-of-23 field goals and 69-of-70 extra points in 2012. His longest field goal of the year was a 56-yarder against Abilene Christian during a mid-season game.
“It gives me a lot more confidence, but there’s still a lot more work to do and try and get better,” he added. “I owe it to God because He gave me the abilities to kick and it just goes to show you that if you keep working hard, you’ll reap the harvest. The most important thing I’ve learned this semester is to have confidence in myself.”
Castillo was part of this year’s West Texas A&M squad that went 12-3 overall, 7-1 in the LCS, and advanced to the NCAA Division II semifinals. The Buffaloes claimed the LCS co-championship and missed advancing to the championship game after falling 41-18 to No. 2-ranked Winston Salem State University.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Castillo. “We didn’t play our best football. It’s something to work on in the offseason, remember that pain and try to get better for next year.”
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Castillo and West Texas A&M had an unforgettable season that turned a lot of heads and was rewarded with All-American and 10 All-Conference first team honors.
“This year’s been a blessing and full of opportunities,” said Castillo. “I’ve been asking for an opportunity and the coach had confidence enough to put me on the field.”
Castillo, a history major, redshirted his first year at West Texas A&M in 2009. In 2010, the 5-foot-11 placekicker went 9-for-13 in field goal attempts and duplicated the effort the following year. He went 49-for-50 in extra points in 2011 and scored 76 total points.
The La Joya graduate first got into football when his soccer coach Julián Tamez encouraged him to try out for the football team. La Joya special teams coach Aarón García gave Castillo the opportunity and he hasn’t looked back since. As a Coyote, he played under head coaches Oscar Villaseñor and Leonel Casas.
Academically, Castillo has also excelled and is a scholar-athlete. He holds a 3.0 average and plans to pursue his master’s degree in sports management.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.