Adoni Santos: The mindframe of a kicker


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Kicker Adoni Santos sends another one through the uprights

Emilly Nogueira

It’s a long-discussed debate: are kickers really “football players?”

Certainly a breed of their own, position players often embrace their kicking brothers because of the pressure and responsibility placed upon the back – or foot – of a placekicker. 

Adoni Santos, the starting kicker for the Crimson Tide football team, continuously proves that kickers are more than meet the eye. 

The sophomore started his first season at Everett High strong, beginning when he was thrust into the spotlight following an injury to starter Kevin Andrade. The team barely skipped a beat, with Santos recording 31 points while growing in reliability throughout the Tide’s 9-1 season. 

That’s not to say it was easy, particularly a jarring hit he took during a kickoff return in a late-season game at rival Malden. 

“The other team received it,” he said, “ and with that not happening often, it was something I wasn’t prepared for. I put myself out there and took a pretty bad hit in order to stop the other team from scoring.” 

The collision put him in the ER and forced him to miss Everett’s playoff loss at Methuen the following week. It was an isolated negative in a season that was filled with great moments. 

He was perfect on field goal attempts and recorded three touchbacks in the following game against Andover, and Santos grew amidst the pressure that envelops kickers. 

“One hundred percent, I think that being a starting varsity player on a team where all over the state people talk about us definitely puts a different kind of pressure on me,” Santos said. “I always try to give it my all and meet the expectation…(but)  I don’t even consider it an expectation, it’s a responsibility. Waking up to a game day, I already know the pressure I’m going to face and my nerves start from there.”

There is no one who has higher expectations for Santos than himself. 

“There are practices where I feel like I’m not practicing enough or when I miss a kick in a game, I tear myself down and say ‘I could be better,’” he said.  “But I have to look at it from the perspective of, ‘If I think negatively about my kicks, they are going to be just as negative as my mindset.’”

This pressure might take a toll on a less-focused player, but Santos constantly reminds himself of his motivation to keep going. 

“My mom has always worked extremely hard and provided everything for me,” he said. “I want to go to college and be able to not have a single penny taken out of her pocket. Even when I feel like giving up, my mom keeps my head up and reminds me to keep going. I want to make her proud, and seeing her happy for my success is all the motivation I need to do better.”

There is no question that being a kicker has taught Santos how to keep things in perspective. His experience this season should continue to benefit the Tide as he turns toward his offseason training. 

“There’s always going to be negativity,” he said, “and it’s your choice whether or not you ignore that. You’re the only one who knows your full potential, and when you go out on that field, give it your all, prove everyone wrong.”