Ontiveros signs to play football for DII Fort Lewis College in Colorado

DERRICK STUCKLY BROWNWOOD BULLETIN derrick.stuckly@brownwoodbulletin.com
Ontiveros signs to play football for DII Fort Lewis College in Colorado

After wrestling with his options, Brownwood Lion Kaimon Ontiveros awoke the morning of Feb. 24 and made a decision on his college football future. Tuesday morning, Ontiveros finalized his plans as he signed a national letter of intent to continue his playing days at NCAA Division II Fort Lewis College located in Durango, Colo.

Ontiveros, who earned first-team all-district honors in the secondary during his senior season, was also part of one of the most memorable plays in Lions history. Ontiveros returned a kickoff in excess of 100 yards with just 14 seconds remaining as Brownwood rallied to stun Burnet, 36-31, in the District 8-3A opener at Gordon Wood Stadium on Oct. 11.

"Kaimon had several options and asked me what he ought to do," Lions head coach Chuck Howard said during Tuesday morning's signing ceremony at Warren Gym. "I told him I'm not going to tell you what to do, I'll give you my opinion about some things, but the bottom line is it's your decision and yours alone. He was afraid to make a mistake, but I told him whatever decision you make, you make it the right one, you be on your timeline."

Ultimately, Ontiveros chose Fort Lewis over Hardin-Simmons and Mary Hardin-Baylor while noting the peaks and valleys that often are associated with the recruiting process.

"Going into my junior year I was getting letters from some Division I schools and they send that out to every kid," Ontiveros said. "I was hoping to get some offers from bigger schools, but that didn't work out, and late in the process I didn't have a clue where I was going to go. Two weeks after the season ended it started to pick up with coaches rolling through and schools starting to contact me closer to the signing period. It was difficult. It's fun, but it's also stressful."

During his final season with the Lions, Ontiveros recorded 33 tackles and intercepted three passes playing primarily as a cornerback on defense. Offensively, Ontiveros stepped into a receiver role and pulled down 32 receptions for 482 yards with six touchdowns.

"I'm extremely proud of you, proud for you and grateful for what you've done for our program and the leadership you've provided," Howard said during the ceremony. "I know you're grateful for your parents and the support they've provided you and I want to thank them for allowing us to work with Kaimon and for all he's done for our program. We wish you the best and I know you have a great future ahead of you."

At the moment, Fort Lewis plans to use Ontiveros as a safety, but a role on offense is not out of the question.

"The coach that recruits this area is the receivers coach and wanted me to come play receiver," Ontiveros said. "But all the coaches talked and they like me more as a DB. I'm going to play safety, but I might get some looks at wide receiver."

Ontiveros cited the connection he felt with the coaching staff as the primary reason for making the choice to continue his career out of state.

"I haven't met the coaches in person, but talking to them on the phone, it's real easy to establish a good relationship with them," Ontiveros said. "I really like all the coaches and I think it's going to be a fun adventure going to Colorado."

The Fort Lewis Skyhawks are members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference along with Adams State, Black Hills State, Chadron State, Colorado MESA, Colorado Mines, CSU-Pueblo, New Mexico Highlands,Western New Mexico and Western State. The Skyhawks posted a 4-7 overall record last season and were 3-6 in conference action.