I’ve always had empathy for kickers. It’s got to be one of the more difficult positions on a football team because a kicker can either save the day or ruin the moment. If they make the field goal to win the game, they’re hoisted on the shoulders of their teammates and paraded off the field like Rudy. If they miss and the team loses, everyone’s hopes for glory diminish in a heartbeat and fans file out of the stadium feeling deflated.
Let’s be honest, field goal kicking isn’t as exhilarating as a running back breaking a 90 yard run to score a TD, or an amazing ‘Hail Mary’ pass that’s caught or even a big hit or QB sack. However, it’s more work than you realize and it involves a lot of repetitive practice… kicking over and over and over. (Photo Credit: Patti Blake, Panama City News Herald).
Last weekend a high school kicker proved that kicking CAN be exciting, NOT mundane, and he’s getting world-wide attention because of his SUPER FEAT. Mosley High School kicker, senior Kyle Hudson of Lynn Haven, Florida, lined up against the opponent, West Florida High School, for an onside kick… a TRICK KICK… and it worked!
Kyle had been practicing the ‘backwards kick’ for a year to prove to his coaches that he could do it and finally got the ‘go ahead’ to try it in a game. I talked to Kyle yesterday and asked him what was going through his mind as he lined up to attempt the trick play and he said, “I was thinking don’t screw up; knowing that if I did I may look like the biggest idiot ever!” Well, he didn’t screw up and it’s now being referred to as “The Most Creative Onside Kick Ever” by the likes of ESPN, FOX Sports, ABC News, USA Today, CBS Sports, Panama City News Herald and other local news networks. Of course, the video went viral on social media. He’s also been contacted by Kohl’s Kicking Camp and they invited him to one of their regional showcases.
As you may have guessed, he’s been playing soccer since he was four years old, but he started playing football in the seventh grade and was a wide receiver at Mosley up until his 10th grade year when the varsity kicker got hurt. There was no back-up. Kyle explained, “Well, my name was thrown out and the coaches were told I could probably kick because of my soccer background and that’s how it all started.”
Does he have any more trick plays in his back pocket? Of course, he does.
While Kyle may have made history with his backwards trick kick, there’s another kicker that’s probably the most unlikely kicker in the history of football because the kicks were done in a skirt! A girl named Luverne “Toad” Wise Albert at Escambia High (Atmore, Alabama) became the first female to score in an American football game in 1939/1940… as a kicker. She, as Kyle has, gained national attention in Life magazine, movie newsreels and newspapers across the country with articles and pictures of her bare legs kicking a football, wearing a white blouse tucked in a blue skirt – and no pads. You can read more about her story on Alabama Pioneers.
What does Kyle Hudson think about women kickers? He said, “If you told me Alex Morgan or Abby Wambach was going to kick, I would say that it would be awesome! Otherwise, I think women should probably hold off on being kickers.” In all fairness to his comment, he’s probably right because the game is very different now than in 1939. American football is a very physical game and with or without the ‘no roughing the kicker’ penalty, it’s certainly no place without pads, much less wearing a skirt. Love the fact that Luverne went against the grain – what a great ‘footprint’ she made on the sport of football!