After Further Review: Cole Young 10/1
By Cole Young PrepsKC Columnist
If there’s one thing that has changed the most in the last 15 years of high school football (ok, except the spread offense) it’s the emergence of the field goal kicker.
Not that long ago the use of a field goal kicker was for one thing only, extra points. In fact, I think less than 10 years ago there was still a squared off shoe in the locker room that our previous kickers would use to kick the PAT. It added a little extra excitement to converting the extra point, watching the kicker (who played anything from center to quarterback) try to get the kicking shoe on and line up inside the allotted time.
Change was for the better in this case. Kicking has become better and better across the metro in the last decade and this year seems to be one of the best. In each of the last three weeks a kicker has impressed me in one way or another.
The one that stood out the most was Lee’s Summit’s Travis Simonin. The Tigers kicker calmly lined up and hit a game-winning 49-yard field goal in the final seconds of his team’s 31-28 win over Liberty.
A kick from that distance is impressive enough. Add to it that he did it in the finals seconds to preserve his team’s undefeated record makes it all the better. Typically a kick from that distance would creep over the crossbar, but not this one, it landed 10 yards deeper bouncing off a sign with a loud thud.
A career long, it came as no surprise to anyone who watches him during the week.
“He’s hit them in practice,” Lee’s Summit coach Eric Thomas said. “He works his butt off in practice. Where he really works is in the weight room. He’s one of our strongest kids, pound for pound.”
It wouldn’t be uncommon to watch 10 games in a season and see one field goal made over 45 yards.
A week early I witnessed Jeremy Collier of St. Thomas Aquinas hit a 46-yard field goal and a week prior to that Smithville freshman Sam Aviles connected on two 41-yarders in a game at Center.
A reliable kicker like one of these players does wonders for a coach.
As Lee’s Summit went on its game-winning drive there was no panic for the Tigers. As they got near the Liberty 30 they took one shot deep to the end zone and then were content turning it over to Simonin.
The biggest thing it does is it opens up the game to a lot more potential points. Knowing your team can get points as soon as you reach the opponents 25 is a nice feeling to have.
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