the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, October 24, 2014

High School Long Kicks - Arizona

Our series exploring the longest field goals at the high school level in each state continues with Arizona. 
  • 63 Jeff Locke in Glendale Mountain Ridge's game against Tucson Sunnyside in 2007. Locke is now the punter for the Minnesota Vikings.
"Locke's senior year got off to a booming start, literally, as in the first game of the season against Sunnyside (Tucson), Locke set a new Arizona state with a 63-yard field goal, breaking the mark of 62 yards set in 1989 held by former Cactus High kicker Kyle Pooler. So while opposing coaches often center their game plans in hopes of stopping or slowing down an opposing team's quarterback, running back or wide receiver, Locke's new record left coaches doing their best to try and keep him off the field. 'I had hit up to 65 [yards] in practice, so I knew I could probably do it, and I had some wind at my back,' Locke said. 'I think after that first game, all the coaches knew that they had to try to keep the ball pretty much out of their half of the defensive field.' Following Locke's record-setting kick, he was honored by his hometown Arizona Cardinals as their High School player of the week. He received a plaque and met a few players. But, for Locke, the most memorable moment was being able to watch practice. 'It was awesome to be able to go out there and watch their practice. I got to see Neil Rackers and their punter kick all practice, and they just make it all look so easy,' Locke said. 'It's just crazy thinking they're able to do this for a living and just how easy they make it look'."
We recently checked in with Jeff who recalled that moment from five years ago: "I was out there with the punt team and our head coach called a timeout and decided to kick it. There was at least a 15 mph tail wind and it was on the right hash. I lined up at least 4 or 5 yards outside the left upright, hit it perfect with a slight draw, and next thing I knew my teammates were surrounding me. I still remember it vividly to this day and the ball is in a case in my room at my parents house. The draw part may be confusing if people don't know I'm left footed."
  • 62 Kyle Pooler in Glendale Cactus High's game vs. Flagstaff Coconino in 1989.
  • 61 Ryan Hawkins in Sunrise Mountain High's loss to Peoria High on September 30, 2011. We recently asked Ryan, who now kicks for Northern Arizona University, a couple questions regarding last year's field goal.
What was going through your mind prior to and during the kick?
"I took it as another kick. My coach had a lot of trust in me and put me in a lot of situations. I was prepared for it. We have a lot of different snap counts and prior to the kick I did not know which one they were going on. My snapper and holder surprised me on the first count. Everything from there went clear because I was worried about the snap. I just hit it and watched it go thru. It was probably one of the greatest moments of my life."
What was the most notable/interesting moment after the kick?
"I remember the celebration. We were down by a lot and there really was not much on the line for the kick. But my teammates supported me and all ran on the field to give me high fives. That was pretty cool and was the most memorable part of it."
  • 60 Ramey Peru in Mesa Dobson High's game vs. Mesa High in 1998.

No comments:

Post a Comment