At least Castillo is get­ting his kicks

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DREW ED­WARDS

While the 0-4 Hamil­ton TigerCats may have their prob­lems at the mo­ment, the kick­ing game is def­i­nitely not one of them.

Ser­gio Castillo has been ex­cep­tional af­ter win­ning the job com­ing out of train­ing camp, hit­ting all nine of his field goal tries this sea­son, eight of which have been from be­yond 30 yards.

He’s also made five of his six convert at­tempts.

While his kick­offs have been less spec­tac­u­lar — he’s eighth in the league with a 62.2 yard av­er­age — his punt­ing has been solid, av­er­ag­ing 44.7 per boot (fifth in the CFL.)

“The field goal kick­ing is go­ing well right now and I’ve felt that groove since train­ing camp,” Castillo said.

“I think there are cer­tain things I can fix in my punt­ing and there are some ar­eas in my kick­offs that I can fo­cus on a lit­tle bit more, just be a lit­tle more crisp.”

The 26-year-old Castillo was one of seven kick­ers who at­tended the team’s mini-camp in April, then beat out three con­tenders in train­ing camp to win the job.

Af­ter their first pre-sea­son game, Hamil­ton re­port­edly took a run at Brett Ma­her, who was the team’s kicker last sea­son, but he signed with Ot­tawa. Ma­her is 12 of 14 this sea­son, one of the misses com­ing on 59-yard, game-win­ning at­tempt against Toronto.

Castillo says he’s de­vel­oped in­stant chem­istry with snap­per Aaron Craw­ford and holder Luke Tasker, both of whom have plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence.

“One of the rea­sons I’m hav­ing suc­cess is that I don’t have to worry about the snap or the hold,” Castillo said. “Both guys have been amaz­ing.”

Castillo is set­tling into life away from the foot­ball field as well. A Texas na­tive, he’s spent the last three weeks liv­ing in an Airbnb with his girl­friend, who will soon head back to the U.S. and her teach­ing job.

They’ve be­come fans of Saltlick Smoke­house, a James Street eatery spe­cial­iz­ing in ribs, brisket and fried chicken.

“I wanted to be down­town and ex­pe­ri­ence some of the city, eat in some of the great restau­rants,” he said. “I love BBQ and Saltlick beats some of the Texas BBQ I’ve had.”

De­spite his early run of suc­cess, Castillo says he re­mains anony­mous when out and about in the city. That’s fine with him, given the team’s re­cent per­for­mance and an aware­ness that kick­ers gen­er­ally only garner at­ten­tion when things aren’t go­ing well.

“If we lose, it’s frus­trat­ing — it’s al­ways more im­por­tant to win,” he said. “I’m happy liv­ing on the down low right now.”

Tiger-Cats rookie de­fen­sive

back Keon Lyn suf­fered a bro­ken fe­mur in last Thurs­day’s loss to Ed­mon­ton and will miss the re­main­der of the sea­son.

Lyn was in­jured while at­tempt­ing to make a tackle on Eski­mos re­ceiver Bran­don Zyl­stra in the third quar­ter.

His foot ap­peared to get caught in the turf and his leg bent awk­wardly as he crum­pled in pain.

The 25-year-old was mak­ing his first start at bound­ary cor­ner af­ter see­ing ac­tion at the strong side line­backer spot.

Tiger-Cats head coach Kent Austin vis­ited Lyn in the hos­pi­tal on Fri­day.

The CFL has sus­pended Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos de­fen­sive back Garry Peters one game for mak­ing con­tact with an of­fi­cial in last Thurs­day’s con­test against the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats.

Peters was flagged for ob­jec­tion­able con­duct on the play, which oc­curred af­ter an on-field al­ter­ca­tion with Ti­cat re­ceiver Jalen Saun­ders, but was not ejected.

“Mak­ing con­tact with an of­fi­cial is clearly be­yond the ac­cept­able stan­dards of con­duct in the CFL,” said CFL com­mis­sioner Randy Am­brosie said in a state­ment.

“Of­fi­cials, who play such an im­por­tant role in our game, must be treated with re­spect.”

Ear­lier this sea­son, Ticats de­fender Will Hill was sus­pended for one game af­ter grab­bing an of­fi­cial dur­ing a game against the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers. He was also ejected.

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