Kicking off for Cyclones has become 'like normal' for Monticello's Paddock

Peyton Paddock of Monticello kicks off for Iowa State during the second half of the Cyclones’ game against Oklahoma State Oct. 26 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. Paddock is a senior. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Following through on a kickoff during a warmup at halftime of the Oct. 26 game is Peyton Paddock.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     You look out onto the field at Jack Trice Stadium, and there is Peyton Paddock, graduate of Monticello High School, setting the ball on the tee to kick off for Iowa State in front of 61,500 people.

     Does he ever stop and think of the enormity of a kid from Monticello kicking off for a Division-I school?

     “I don’t,” Paddock said in an interview after the Cyclones were upset by Oklahoma State, 34-27, Oct. 26 in Ames.

     “When I first got here I was (thinking about it),” he said. “Now it’s just like normal. You don’t really notice it.”

     Paddock, a senior, admits there were a couple of times this season when he got caught up in the moment before his kickoffs. The first was his first kickoff of the season, Aug. 31 against the University of Northern Iowa, after he had earned the starting kickoff position for the first time (he does not kick extra points or field goals for the Cyclones, just kickoffs).

     The second time was Sept. 14 against Iowa, when ESPN’s College GameDay crew was in Ames. Other than that, though, he’s just doing his job.

     “Everything’s kind of zoned out, so you don’t really notice,” Paddock said.

     There were plenty of times to see Paddock on the field against the Cowboys. He got to kick off six times, averaging 54.7 yards each. While he has the ability and leg strength to kick the ball through the end zone for touchbacks, he instead was keeping the ball on the playing field, toward his left, between the 10-yard line and the goal line.

     “It’s what our game plan has been,” he said.

     The game itself didn’t go well for Iowa State. The Cowboys scored on pass plays covering 71 and 50 yards, and a 65-yard run, all in the first half, as the Cyclones fell behind 21-13.

     In the second half, a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown by OSU’s Malcolm Rodriguez broke a 27-27 tie, and two more Cowboy interceptions in the fourth quarter sealed the outcome.

     Paddock said his performance in the Oklahoma State game “could have been better. The ground was soft, so I switched cleats at halftime to get better traction. In the first half I was kind of planting and sliding.”

     His best game this year?

     “I’d probably say Baylor (a 23-21 ISU loss in Waco, Texas), when we were down there,” he said. “I was hitting the ball real well. And obviously down south the ball flies a little bit better.”

     He probably wasn’t at his happiest after the Oklahoma State game. Not only did the Cyclones lose, but Paddock suffered a minor MCL sprain in his knee.

     “I went in for a tackle and it just got rolled up on,” he said.

     Paddock said he believes the team will bounce back, as it did early in the season after losing two out of three games to fall to 2-2. The Cyclones won three straight after that to earn a No. 23 national ranking before falling to OSU.

     “I think we’ll be good,” he said. “We’re focused on the process, which helps. I know early this year, if we just focused on the result, we would have fallen apart.”

     It was fortunate for him that Iowa State had a bye week after the Oklahoma State game. Paddock said he was optimistic he’d be back from his knee injury in time for the game at Oklahoma Nov. 9. Sure enough, Paddock was back kicking off for the Cyclones, who wound up losing to Oklahoma 42-41 when a big fourth quarter rally fell just short.

     He is optimistic about his own future as well. He already has a post-college job lined up: Following the football season he will move to Jefferson, Iowa, and teach special education at Greene County High School.

     “It’s 45 minutes west (of Ames),” Paddock said. “I’ll move over there. I’ve been looking at houses (to see) whether to buy or rent. I’ll see how everything works out.”



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