A rising senior on the Windermere Prep football team, Rafael Betancourt has played varying roles since he joined the program as an eighth-grader. While his best position is back at strong safety, look for Betancourt to make appearances on both sides of the ball this upcoming season.
When did you first get into football?
We used to have something at school called “Meritas Games,” and you play a lot of sports. I played flag football, and I did really (well), and I got really interested in football. My eighth-grade year, my dad finally let me play, and I played, and I did really (well). I got more into it, and then Coach Doss wanted me to play in high school.
Have you always played at defensive back?
My freshman year, I started safety because I’ve always been safety, and then my sophomore year, they put me in a little bit at running back. Then my junior year I played wide receiver, and then my senior year I’ll play basically everything.
What’s your favorite part about playing safety? What’s the most challenging part?
I play strong safety, so you have to know a lot of coverages, and sometimes you get put into the linebacker position. My favorite part would be hitting people, and I love one-on-one man coverage. I’ll usually be guarding the tight end one-on-one — even though they’re bigger than me, I like the challenge. The hardest part is the coverages and knowing where I’m at, because the strong safety usually moves around a lot depending on what the offense is running.
Is there a highlight for you at Windermere Prep?
My junior Homecoming game, I had a kick return that shouldn’t have been called back — but it got called back — and then I had eight catches at wide receiver, and that was my first standout game at wide receiver. My sophomore year I played against Foundation, and I had a big interception against them. That was a big highlight for me because that was a really tough team we were playing, and it was their Homecoming game, too. Then my freshman and sophomore years, I led the team in interceptions.
Since you first started playing football, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself?
I would say my mentality has changed a lot. Football really gets your mind right … you have to be tough to play the game. Mentally, as a leader, it really changes you, and you meet a lot of people along the way.
Assuming there is a season, what are you looking most forward to?
Everything. I’ve really been working hard all year and I’m trying to make this a big year for me — especially for colleges and stuff to get more recognition. I’m also trying to win a championship this year … that’s my goal.