Sallisaw coach Craig Benson doesn't take for granted the value of Sinue Rodriguez, the Black Diamonds' kicker and punter.
“He is a weapon anytime we cross the 30-yard line or get close to the 30-yard line,” Benson said. “He is pinpoint accurate at punting, averaging 40 yards a punt and can place it wherever we want him to, so it helps our coverage.
“On kickoffs, he can either place it on where we want him to if the wind is in our face, and if it is not, he consistently kicks it in the end zone and makes the other team go 80 (yards).”
Rodriguez, a 5-7, 150-pound junior, is The Oklahoman's All-State kicker for 2012. Rodriguez was 8 of 11 on field goals this season (two were blocked) with a season-long 55-yard field goal against Wagoner in the first round of the playoffs.
Rodriguez, who nailed a 50-yard field goal as a sophomore for the Black Diamonds, was surprised by the All-State selection.
“Honestly, I didn't think I had a very good year,” he said. “I started out kind of slow.”
Rodriguez has been a soccer player his entire life and started kicking footballs in the seventh grade at Sallisaw.
“I wasn't even thinking about football, but in the seventh grade one of my friends told me I should try out for the kicking,” he said.
“Finally at the end of practice, the coach asked, ‘Who wants to be a kicker?' I raised my hand. We had a little tryout and I made it. Ever since then, I've been a kicker.”
But Rodriguez is not only a kicker. He also plays wide receiver for Sallisaw and had 350 yards receiving and four touchdowns this season.
“He is a good athlete,” Benson said.