I believe kickers are the most overlooked players in football, and deserve more credit. Today, we were lucky enough to meet with Seattle Dragons kicker, Ernesto Lacayo.
Lacayo played college football at Hastings College (NAIA), where he holds all kicking records in college history. Ernesto went un-drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft and signed with the Nebraska Danger of the IFL. After one year with the Danger, Ernesto then signed with the Louisiana Swashbucklers (PIFL). The Swashbucklers folded in 2013, he then signed with the Wichita Wild (CPIFL) in 2014.
Ernesto set an All-Arena/Indoor record of 30 field goals made in a season, and set a CPIFL record with a 55-yard field goal against the Salina Bombers. Ernesto also kicked a 51-yard game-winning field goal against the Dodge City Law to put the Wild in the CPIFL Championship.
In 2014, Ernesto then signed with the Wichita Force (CIF) for the 2015 season, where he played only 10 games before being called up to play for the Las Vegas Outlaws (AFL) in 2015. In 11 games with the Outlaws, Lacayo led the league point after touchdown percentage connecting on 54-of-59 (91.5%).
HIS XFL EXPERIENCE:
Ernesto Lacayo was the kicker for the Seattle Dragons in the 2020 rendition of the XFL. Here’s what he said was the best part of Seattle. “The best part of Seattle was the fans, they truly made the game day experience special at Century Link Stadium.” When asked about the crowd noise in Seattle he went into detail about how loud it was. “The crowd noise in Seattle was unreal, never in my career have I experienced anything louder. I couldn’t even hear myself count my steps on kickoff. But it definitely is an advantage for us.”
During our interview, I asked him what he thought about the BattleHawks crowd in Saint Louis. “The crowd in St. Louis was awesome. It’s great to see a city like ours in Seattle embrace the XFL.”
During his week 4 matchup against the BattleHawks he had a near missed 44 yard field goal, that hit off the post and in. I asked him about this and he said, “After my 44 yard field goal in St. Louis all that went through my mind was no matter what happens as a long as it goes in. Then forget about it and move on to the next kick.” The perfect mindset a kicker needs to be successful.
His training leading up to the XFL worked. He put a lot of effort in to get to the XFL and was successful, “My training is all year round. Working out every day in the gym and Field work three times a week is what keeps me ready at all times. So when the XFL called I was ready.”
HIS PERSONAL LIFE/FUTURE:
Ernesto Lacayo has been around the block. I asked him about his steps leading up to the XFL and Seattle Dragons roster. “My Journey From Hastings to the XFL has been a long one from the NAIA Division, to the Arena Leagues (9 years), it taught me to persevere and to be humble along the way and having the amazing support from my family is what made it all happen.” Another thing that I asked Mr. Lacayo is what his future after football might look like. “After football I hope to start a family and begin helping the kids of tomorrow follow their dreams.” It sounds like family is important to him, and that’s important in life.
HIS EXPERIENCE FROM OTHER LEAGUES:
Ernesto Lacayo has a unique kickoff routine, no question. I asked him about how that uniqueness came to be, “My kickoff routine goes back to my college days at Hastings College. Having to kick off from the 30 yard line I wanted to build momentum on my approach to the ball, so I can generate power at the point of contact. Over the years I became known for my unique set up.” The thing about kickers is that every kicker is different. They also need to channel out noise. Ernesto told me how he does this, “All the years playing Arena football and my years of fighting in Taekwondo help me block our noise and concentrate on the task at hand. My ability to focus when called upon is one of my strengths.” Another trait some kickers have is being superstitious, “I’m not very superstitious. But I will say I am a man of routine. Especially on game days, I have had the same routine for about the whole length of my career.” It’s kind of surprising to see that. But, like I said every kicker has unique traits to them. When asked what his game day routines are he said, “Typical game day for kickers is different for everyone. For me it’s making sure I’m getting enough fuel in my system is important. Mentally preparing for each scenario of the game. Then heading to the stadium about 4 hours early so that I can have the field to myself and feel the field and wind patterns. After the game, jump in an ice bath or hot tub and just relax sums up my day.” Finally, I asked him if he’s had any NFL workouts. He mentioned that he has worked out for the Bears and 49ers.