Edgar Castaneda says of his field goal that beat Colorado: “I looked up and saw it go through the middle (of the uprights). ... After that, I kind of blacked out."
Sac State’s Hornet football team was down 28-27 against Colorado on Sept. 8 with mere seconds remaining in the game.
Edgar Castaneda, a junior walk-on from Alameda, strapped on his shiny green helmet and strolled onto the field. He already had kicked two field goals: a 28-yarder that gave the Hornets the lead at halftime and a 31-yard boot early in the fourth quarter to put the Hornets within a point of the Buffaloes at Folsom Field in Boulder.
“My players said, ‘If you miss it, we still love you, but we know you can do it,’ ” Castaneda remembers. “I knew that this was what I signed up for. I just tried to stay calm, took some deep breaths and went out there and did my job.”
Castaneda’s 30-yard kick put the game away for Sac State as the clock ran down. It was the Hornets’ second win over a Pac-12 team in consecutive seasons.
“Right when it went off my foot,” he says, “I looked up and saw it go through the middle (of the uprights). It was the best experience I’ve ever felt in my life. After that, I kind of blacked out. I was so excited. I just kept jumping up and down. My teammates hugged me and picked me up.”
The team carried him off the field, chanting the Sac State fight song.
Castaneda and Hornets quarterback Garrett Safron, who completed 25 of 37 passes for a career-high 312 yards and two touchdowns, both were named Players of the Week by the Big Sky Conference. Castaneda is five for six on field-goal attempts this season.
After the game, Hornets Head Coach Marshall Sperbeck offered his 21-year-old kicker a football scholarship.
Castaneda played football his freshman year of high school but got his goal-kicking licks from having played soccer since age 4. After graduating from Alameda High, he attended San Francisco City College for two years before transferring to Sac State in time for the 2012 fall football camp.
“I wanted to get an education,” Castaneda says, “and I knew that for soccer, it’s really hard to get a scholarship. If I play football, it’s a lot easier to get a scholarship.”
He’s a Criminal Justice major and wants to become either a criminal investigator or join the Secret Service. Or better yet, take over Sebastian Janikowski’s job as the Oakland Raiders kicker.
Castaneda’s father, Martine, recently was laid off from his job at a metals company. His mother, Rosa, makes a living washing dishes. He has two sisters and a brother.
“My family is really proud of me,” Castaneda says. “I always say to myself: If you work hard, it pays off.”
– Dixie Reid