Juan Carpio didn’t have an opportunity to make the playoffs while at North Dallas, but now in his second season at Langston University, Carpio and the Lions are competing in the 2017 NAIA Football Championship Series.
The No. 7 Lions play host to No. 10 Northwestern (Iowa) at 2 p.m. Saturday in the first round. Langston is making its seventh postseason appearance in NAIA, and the first playoff trip since 2014.
“To be honest, I’m scared and nervous because it’s my first time being in the playoffs for football,” said Carpio in a Facebook message. “I don’t know how will that go.”
Langston defeated Wayland Baptist 38-19 in Plainview, Texas, last Saturday to complete a 10-0 regular season and capture the Central States Football League title. Carpio kicked a 24-yard field goal and five extra points in the win.
For the season, Carpio said he has kicked in only seven games and missed three games because of injuries. He has converted 18 of 20 extra points, one field goal and has one tackle.
“Yesterday, I had the best game out of this season, and I hope to keep on going and stay away from injuries,” he said. “I got to play like seven games and in one game, I only went in for one time. It was hard more to get back to kicking after my first injury. I was out for six weeks. I struggled in getting my momentum back but I finally got it back.”
Listed at 5-8 and 150 pounds Carpio said he’s healthy and ready for more, but he still has to convince the Langston coaches.
“I believe it was [24 yards] but I have prove to [the coaches] that I can make a 40-yard field goal but I guess they still don’t trust me. Well, this Thursday in practice, I was able to kick a 50-yard field goal bare-footed and the coach was watching. But I guess there’s still not the trust where he can let me kick that far, like the kicker from Wayland. He made a 56-yard field goal that was amazing. I want my coaches to have trust on me like that as well.”
Carpio said he doesn’t know much about Northwestern (Iowa) but the Lions are preparing for them.
“I think we had improved so much since most of the players left,” he said of this year’s team. “Basically, we had a new team but it’s really good. We hope we can go far in the playoffs.”