THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — The Thomas County Central football team opens postseason play Saturday, and kicker Hector Rodriguez could be the difference maker for the Yellow Jackets as they look to advance.
For Rodriguez, fall afternoons weren't always spent on the football field.
"Throughout middle school, I was like coach, I might go out there and kick one day," he reflected. "One day junior year, I was watching the Cairo scrimmage, and I was like, it looks like we could use a kicker."
The rest is history. The soccer stand-out also happens to be pretty good at kicking a football.
"Even in practice, he's gotta be 85-90% of his field goals in practice," said assistant coach Gavin Wilson.
"From the soccer background, the accuracy and stuff," added Rodriguez of his quick success. "Also it's my line, my holder, and my snapper. They make me look good."
And in turn - he makes the Yellow Jackets look good. He's 18 of 19 on point after attempts this fall.
"He has one of the best work ethics on the entire team," said Wilson.
That carries over to the classroom, where Rodriguez has a 3.7 GPA.
"My dad taught me if you're not successful in the classroom, successful on the field, you're probably not going to be successful in life," he said.
"He's going to work. He's actually taking college classes, and then he's coming to football practice," said Wilson. "He's very motivational. Anybody down, he's there to pick people up when they need to be picked up."
As the Jackets start their postseason run? Rodriguez needs little motivation to make sure his short time wearing navy blue and gold is remembered.
"I really want to be on that board at the Nest," he said. "I just want to be a part of that."
A part of history -- for a guy who just decided, to go out there and kick.
Rodriguez said his plan is to major in business. He's looking to kick at the next level, either by walking on at Valdosta State, or he said if that right scholarship offer comes along, he'd take it.