CANYON, Texas (KFDA) - The West Texas A&M Buffs kick off their spring football game this Saturday, and Head Coach Hunter Hughes is excited to show off his talented team after a season of overcoming adversity. Returning safety Satchel Escalante is ready to defend for the buffs. The upcoming senior safety provides security for the West Texas A&M Buffs’ defense.
“He can stand back there and see everything happens, so you’ve got to have a guy number one you can trust. Number two he’s a pretty physical player. When he sees the opportunity he triggers, and he goes and he arrives with violent intentions,” said Head Coach Hunger Hughes.
“What I like about Coach Hughes is he brings tenacity to the game,” said Escalante. “Go out there play fast. Physical is a big thing that he wants us to do.”
The University of Idaho transfer played five games for the Buffs during the COVID season, recording the 40 tackles on the team, two pass breakups, an interception and a 27-yard fumble recovery that led to a touchdown against North American. Turnovers are a priority for Coach Hughes this spring.
“Like every other spring practice we’ll do a turnover circuit, so we’ll all run through it. Offense and defense,” said Escalante. “We’ve got to be prepared, so just stripping at the ball, getting our hands ready, picking up fumbles, everything like that.”
“He’s kind of taken over back there in the secondary as a safety. He helps get those guys lined up. He helps make sure the calls get right and he’s a true leader on the field,” said Hughes. “I think from that position it’s just as important as a quarterback position.”
COVID was not the only obstacle the Buffs faced last season. Escalante overcame a neck injury and played through it. He’s overcame obstacles his entire life, but it’s his teammates and family that support him through it.
“I grew up with a single mother, you know. Bounced around house to house when I was younger, but football just kind of guided me. My brother has always been there too,” said Escalante. “He taught me a lot and he helped me grow up as kid. You know, I had to grow up fast.”
Escalante has grown fast and will be one of the top Buffs defenders to keep an eye on this upcoming 2021-22 season. The Buffs kickoff their annual Spring Game on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Buffalo Stadium. It’s free admission and open to full capacity.