November 15, 2013

High school football: Kicker may make the difference

Some teams can count on extra points after TDs.

By Tom Chard
Staff Writer

At this point in the season, the 16 high school teams still alive probably have rehearsed their offensive, defensive and special teams assignments ad nauseam as far as the players are concerned. Away from the mundane repetition are the place-kickers doing their thing at the other end of the field.

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Jon Woods


Jon Woods, Bonny Eagle: Woods contributed in several ways to lead the Scots to a 27-0 playoff win over Scarborough. Woods scored touchdowns the first two times he touched the ball and finished with 100 yards rushing. He intercepted a pass and blocked a punt that led to a touchdown. With Scarborough threatening to score, Woods came up from his defensive back spot to stop the runner from scoring from the 1.


Lucas McCue, Brunswick: McCue, a senior, carried the ball 22 times for 237 yards and scored three touchdowns as the Dragons beat Skowhegan 42-28 in the Eastern Class B semifinals.

Brett Gerry, Marshwood: Gerry was strong on both sides of the ball for the Hawks. He carried 22 times for 87 yards. Also, early in the second half, Gerry, a linebacker, returned his first interception in a varsity game 43 yards for a touchdown.

Cody Lynn, Thornton Academy: Lynn caught a 33-yard touchdown pass and then recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown, both in the second quarter, as the Golden Trojans defeated Sanford 35-6 in a regional semifinal playoff game.

The importance of a talented kicker can not be overstated, as Kennebunk knows.

Jake Lary, who played soccer for Kennebunk last season, booted an 18-yard field goal in the final seconds last weekend to keep a magical season alive and give the Rams (10-0) a 17-15 win over Westbrook in the Western Class B semifinals.

Lary, a senior, asked Coach Joe Rafferty about kicking for the team last year. Lary had hoped to play soccer, then show up on game days to kick for the football team.

Rafferty told Lary he couldn’t play two sports in the fall; it would have to be one or the other. Lary chose football.

As a junior, Lary spent the second semester in Austria on an exchange program.

“He said he would love to try kicking and kept in contact with me through e-mail while he was away,” said Rafferty. “We gave him a bag of footballs in August to practice. He came to us pretty raw. Mike Fagerson, one of our assistant coaches who had been a kicker in high school, works with him.”

Rafferty said Lary, who also runs track, will work with the receivers during practice but for the most part is doing kicking drills.

Now having seen Lary boom the ball in the end zone on kickoffs, combined with his consistency on PATs, Rafferty said: “We’ve never had a kid with this talent.”

Lary was 9 of 9 in PATs in a lopsided game against Oceanside during the season, and has kicked six field goals with his longest being 34 yards.

Ironically, Lary missed his first point after of the season but has been solid ever since.

It was kind of a no-brainer to have Lary kick what amounted to a PAT in the final seconds against Westbrook. But he still had to keep his head down and make the kick.

There was not only pressure on Lary to deliver, but for snapper Joe Mazzillo and holder Larson Coppinger.

Should Kennebunk need a field goal in Saturday’s regional final against Marshwood from 35 yards in, Rafferty said he wouldn’t hesitate to send in Lary.

“Jake has been a lot of fun and a nice addition to the team,” said Rafferty. “He’s definitely a kicker. He’s pretty loose out there.”

The Cheverus-Portland game for the Eastern Class A title Saturday at Cheverus High will feature two talented kickers in Patrick Mourmouras of the Stags and John Williams of the Bulldogs.

Mourmouras has been nearly automatic on PATs over the last two seasons. This year he is 56 of 59. Last year he was 49 of 53. Mourmouras, a junior, has attempted two field goals, one this year and one last year, and missed both.

Williams, a sophomore, has missed only one PAT in his last 22 attempts and has a 27-yard field goal against South Portland.

The Bulldogs didn’t know Williams, who transferred from Cheverus, was a kicker when the season started.

The Bulldogs were inconsistent on PATs in the first three games of the season. Williams kicked a few in practice one day and Coach Jim Hartman knew he had a kicker.

“John been a real godsend for us,” said Hartman. “He has a great leg and has really improved. He works with Rocco Navarro.”

Navarro is a former punter-kicker for Portland and the University of Maine.

(Continued on page 2)

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