There might not be a bigger advantage in high-school football than having a quality kicker. OK, so maybe a few 300-pounders on the line or Reggie Bush in the backfield could help too, but a quality kicker means a whole lot.
The difference between a team that knows it can kick anywhere inside the 20-yard line, and one that doesn’t, is too significant to be ignored, and this could be an important aspect to watch come playoff time.
Take Issaquah’s Gavin Schumaker, for example. Last week, the freshman kicked three field goals. The third one, a 31-yarder, came with a minute left to give Issaquah its 24-21 victory against Roosevelt.
So now let’s go to the fourth quarter last night, where Issaquah leads Mount Si 14-6, which actually was the same score only seven minutes into the game. Issaquah stalls at the Mount Si 13, and on fourth-and-6, there’s no doubt about what they do next. They bring Schumaker in for the 30-yarder, and with about five minutes left, the game changes. Trailing by 11, Mount Si knows it has to score twice, and it begins to take chances, chances that result in three interceptions on its last three drives.
“He’s just been money all year,” Issaquah coach Rex Romer said of Schumaker. “Anytime you can have a kicker you can count on, because, you know, most high-school drives, 35 (yards) is kind of a crapshoot. We feel confident with him, and he’s been big for us.”
Snohomish is thankful today for having its kicker, Dayton Wiseman. As time expired Friday night, Wiseman kicked a 24-yarder to give the Panthers a 22-20 victory against Mariner. And while we’re mentioning kickers, I should point out Interlake’s Justin Evans made a 36-yarder last night, and Kentlake’s Tyler Wright kicked one from 34 yards.
What are some other positions in sports that you think give more of an advantage than you might think? Let us know in the comments.
The Metro league took front and center last night, with O’Dea’s impressive 35-0 victory against Bainbridge. Sure, Bainbridge was without Dayton Gilbreath, whose high ankle sprain must be a concern as the season moves on. But 35-0, there’s no doubt about that.
And on the other side of Lake Washington, Eastside Catholic beat Bishop Blanchet 38-28. This one was 38-7 before Blanchet came back with three fourth-quarter touchdowns. For the second consecutive weeks, Catholic’s Michael Bush was, in the words of Ron Burgundy, “kind of a big deal.” Bush ran for 290 yards, which led the area Friday night. I’m sure by the second half in both games, O’Dea and Eastside Catholic were already thinking about their matchup next Saturday, one that could likely will decide the Metro Mountain division.
When I roll out the list of unbeatens tomorrow, it will be a little shorter than last week. Marysville-Pilchuck stopped Lake Stevens last night, 20-13, and Curtis ended the fairy-tale story of Emerald Ridge, which had started 4-0 despite going 0-9 a season ago. Auburn also ended Bonney Lake’s string of victories, and North Thurston lost 42-35 to Shelton.
1. Mike Bush, Eastside Catholic, football. Ran for 290 yards and three touchdowns in 38-28 victory against Bishop Blanchet.
2. Oliver Henry, Bethel, football. Threw for 372 yards and five touchdowns in win against Beamer.
3. Patrick Rooney, Sammamish, football. Threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns, including the winner with 38 seconds left for Sammamish’s first win of the season.
4. Lorne Bridgford, Cascade, football. Ran for 236 yards and four touchdowns …quot; not to mention two 2-point conversions …quot; in win against Monroe.
5. Henry Woods, Archbishop Murphy, football. Scored four times and ran for 133 yards in 47-20 victory against Lakewood.
One game of note tonight:
Graham-Kapowsin vs. Puyallup, football, 7 p.m. at Art Crate Stadium. Fifth-ranked Puyallup will have to find a way to stop G-K’s Marcel Smith, the area’s leading rusher, or else it will too find its name off the unbeaten list.