the study of the kicking components within sports

Saturday, February 26, 2011

AFL Kickers - American, South

Today we head south, for the second part of our look at this year's arena kickers. 

We started the other day with the East Division of the American Conference. Following are the five teams and kickers in the South Division.

Georgia Force, Carlos Martinez
  • Martinez  received AFL Second Team All Arena honors in 2010 with the Orlando Predators.
  • He previously played for the Force from 2007 to 2008. Martinez also competed for the Dallas Cowboys (2006) after spending two seasons with the Dallas Desperado (2004-06) and part of a year with the Fresno Frenzy of the af2 (2002).
  • Three-time All-America for Buena Vista University in Iowa. Named MVP of the 2001 Aztec Bowl as a senior and was named Division III Kicker of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year as a junior.
  • Martinez discusses the essence of kicking, among many other things, “This is what I love doing, so I do get excited. The adrenaline and pressure that goes through my body when I kick the football, I love that time.  For the five or six seconds it takes to kick a game-winning extra point or field goal, that’s paradise for me.”
Jacksonville Sharks, Marco Capozzoli
  • Capozzoli began his AFL career in 2010 as a member of the Tulsa Talons. In his six games played, he completed 38/44 extra points.
  • He attended Montclair State[NJ], where he was a four year player. He was chosen as the Division III Outstanding Male Athelete of the Year by the Collegiate Athletic Administration of New Jersey(CANNJ) for the 2009-2010 season, and was recipient of the NJAC Special Teams Player of the Year.
  • Capozzoli discussed the beginning of his football career back in high school, "One of the coaches, Len Davis, saw me kicking in the gym and asked me to come out. I always wanted to play football, but I was always so skinny. When I had the opportunity to play, I took it. We won a state title and I kicked a 32-yard field goal to give us the first points against Delbarton in the final. The funny thing is that I was all set to go to Don Bosco, but I changed my mind at the last minute. If I hadn’t gone to St. Joe’s, I never would have played football."
New Orleans VooDoo, Jonathan Ruffin
  • Ruffin's professional career started with the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) as an undrafted free agent in 2005. Continued with the Dallas Cowboys (NFL) before being allocated to NFL Europe with the Berlin Thunder in 2006. Led Berlin to the World Bowl Championship, connecting on three field goals to claim the championship over Frankfurt.
  • He joined the AFL ranks in 2007 with the New Orleans VooDoo. He enters his third season with the team.
  • He played all four years at the University of Cincinnati. He finished as the school’s all-time leader in field goals made (62), attempted (79), field goal percentage (.785), extra points made (129), extra points attempted (134) and scoring (315 points). As a sophomore in 2000, he won the Lou Groza Award.
  • Ruffin learned the mental aspect of kicking back in his college days, "I think one of the most important things about being a kicker is just forgetting what happened, good or bad. To me, kicking is all mental. Any kicker in college football can come out here and kick field goals all day. But it's who can keep the mental composure to be able to do what you do in practice in a game."
Orlando Predators, Mark Lewis
  • The most accurate kicker in AFL history, with career numbers of 55.2% on field goals and 88.6% on extra points. In 2007 he was named AFL Kicker of the Year and First Team All-Arena. 
  • Lewis previosly played for the Dallas Vigilantes (2010), Columbus Destroyers (2008 & 2006), Austin Wranglers (2007), Las Vegas Gladiators (2005), and the Detroit Fury (2004).
  • Attended Florida International University from 1998-2000, where he did not play football, but did play soccer in '98.
  • Prior to arena kicking Lewis' only football experience was his senior year in high school back in 1997, "It's really not that big of a deal. I can kick pretty hard and accurate in soccer, too.... 'I just haven't gotten used to it like I have in soccer. 'I still feel nervous on the sidelines before every kick - until I get out there. Then once I'm on the field, I'm fine."
Tampa Bay Storm, Garrett Rivas
  • Rivas enters his second year with the Storm. In 2009 he played for the Florida Firecats of the af2. In the summer of 2007 he was in camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent.
  • He handled the University of Michigan’s placekicking job for four seasons, and finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 354 points. He was named All-Big Ten first-team kicker in 2006 after a stellar senior season in which he made 17 of 20 field goal attempts and 42 of 44 extra points. Two-time Lou Groza Award semifinalist (2005-06).
  • Last year Rivas discussed his daily routine as a substitute teacher, prep assistant coach, and arena kicker, "It is convenient to say the least. Having the availability to work during the day and report for practice and meetings at 6 P.M. is great and helps pay the bills.... If I am teaching on that day, I am at school by 8 A.M. Teach until 3:20, and then run the off-season conditioning for our football team until 5:00. I then hop on the interstate and head to the Forum. We practice until about 10:00 or so. I head home and prepare to do it all over again."

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