You spend copious amounts of time talking to no one in particular and kicking the pigskin into a net time and time again.
As a kicker, you spend countless hours convincing yourself that every kick is a last-second game winner.
Chase Ellerbee didn’t have to convince himself of that late Friday night.
His last kick was a game winner. It was the kick that ended Beeville’s woes.
It was the kick that lifted Beeville to a 24-21 overtime victory over Kingsville at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“That’s exciting,” Ellerbee said when asked what it felt like to hit the game winner. “I never thought it would happen. ... I never thought I would be able to make an impact like that.”
After a 21-all deadlock in regulation, Kingsville failed to convert on its overtime possession.
Beeville took advantage, moving the ball down to the Brahma 1 before taking a delay penalty to give Ellerbee a better angle from the left hash.
“It was a lot easier backing up,” he said. “I just went through my routine, and I just slowed everything down and just followed through.”
He didn’t even watch the ball go through the goal posts on the east end of the newly renovated Vet.
“Whenever you follow through perfectly, you can just feel it come off your foot,” Ellerbee said. “I didn’t even have to look up for the ball. I just knew it was dead center.”
Dead center, that’s exactly where Ellerbee found himself in the mob of Trojans who rushed the field to celebrate the program’s first victory since Nov. 9, 2012.
“It’s wonderful. It’s exhilarating. You’re just jumping and grabbing people. It’s like Jim Valvano,” said Trojan coach Jimmie Mitchell about the moments right after the kick.
“You don’t even know what you’re doing, but it’s just so much fun. It’s such a good feeling. To see our kids as excited as they were just warms my heart. It was great.”
Things could have ended differently had Mitchell not decided to trot Ellerbee back out after the senior had missed a 32-yarder at the end of regulation that would have won it.
“I thought they were going to hang me from the goal posts,” Ellerbee said about the first miss.
But, Mitchell said the decision to put Ellerbee back on the field was easy.
“It was immediate. He’s a good field goal kicker, and he’s got a great leg,” he said. “I’ve got confidence in him. And I’ve got confidence in Ryan (Pena) who is holding it, and I’ve got confidence in our snapper.”
Fellow senior Matthew Botello was confident about his kicker as well.
“Chase is a great kicker. He’s practiced really hard for it. For him to kick and us to win the game, it’s just a relief, man, just a relief.”
Botello and his mates on the defensive front were a big part of why Ellerbee had a chance to win it at the end.
The Trojan defense recorded five sacks on the night, holding a high-powered offense to just 21 points on more than 70 plays.
Beeville’s offense was on the field for just six plays in the first quarter, but its defense kept the game scoreless.
Kingsville went up midway through the second, only to see Beeville answer 2 1/2 minutes later on an 11-yard Pena scamper.
The Brahmas went up 21-7, but Beeville again responded.
Robert Rodriguez found the end zone late in the third to make it 21-14 and scored again 41 seconds into the fourth on a 13-yard run to tie it at 21.
Rodriguez then picked off a Brahma pass late in the fourth to give the Trojans a short field, a possession that ended with Ellerbee’s 32-yard miss.
“It was real exciting,” said Pena, who threw for 149 yards, about the win. “Had a little scare for a little bit, but the team just got together, came out in the second half and put it up.
“Even after they had that score up by two touchdowns, we said we were going to get it. We worked all summer for this.”
Mitchell said that the win was proof positive that hard work pays off.
“This is an amazing feeling,” he said. “The thing I’m most happy about is the fact that these kids who played tonight bought into a system of hard work and commitment, and it paid off for them.
“That is one of the big reasons we’re in this business, is to teach kids ... that hard work pays off.”
Then he added that he certainly preferred the feeling of winning to the feeling his team experienced 10 times last year.
“I told them that they’ve got tonight and tomorrow to enjoy it, then Sunday, it’s focus on Ingleside. We’ve got to go and get ready to learn how to deal with success. ... It’s sure better to have to work on dealing with success than it is dealing with failure.”
Kevin J. Keller is the sports editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5223, or at sports@mySouTex.com, or follow him on Twitter, @beepicsports.