Kicking the ball
I could go into a long diatribe about the importance of field goals, especially concerning West Virginia University’s loss Saturday night at Oklahoma State where head coach Dana Holgorsen opted to not take the three points in the first half and got stuffed on fourth down, but I won’t even bother.
Instead, I’d rather focus on what transpired Friday night in Princeton where the Williamstown football team ended Mount View’s season, 23-12, in the Class A state quarterfinals.
It truly continues to amaze me, the longer I work here in the sports department, how many teams — especially in Class A — can’t find a single kid in their county or school district who can kick an extra point, let alone a field goal.
Countless times at all levels of football, the kicking game plays an important role in the outcome of gridiron contests.
Never was that more evident than with Williamstown senior kicker Boston Caruthers, who came into the quarterfinal game with two made field goals.
Caruthers, who recently earned first team all-state honors in soccer, got head coach Terry Smith’s program on the board early in the second with a 27-yard field goal.
Trailing 12-10 late in the third quarter, a WHS drive stalled in the red zone and coach Smith turned to Caruthers, who booted in a 33-yard field goal to give the Yellowjackets the lead for good.
Mount View fell behind by eight points, 20-12, not quite midway through the fourth quarter when ‘Jacket fullback Ty Moore bulled in from the 1 and Caruthers added the extra point.
With just 94 seconds remaining and facing a fourth down at the Golden Knight 11, coach Smith called upon Caruthers one more time to put the game on ice. That’s exactly what he did as his 28-yard field goal split the uprights to give WHS a two-possession lead and salt away the victory.
While I probably could write a book on my experience going down and back to the game with Williamstown play-by-play man Dave Hall, our retired sports editor Dave Poe and one of the Mountain State’s all-time good guys in Mike Hayden, one book which wasn’t readily available was an official program.
Try as I might, and it didn’t matter who I asked, not a single person in the entire press box had a single-A program. Not even the Mount View announcer had one. Everyone I talked with said they had not seen any.
Technically, the odds of covering a prep playoff game and getting to watch a state record are indeed rare, but it’s always nice to have as a reference just in case.
After Caruthers converted his third field goal, I wondered to myself if that was indeed a single-A state record. However, I had no way of knowing.
Finally, on Saturday, I learned that Caruthers’ night was indeed record-breaking.
Six other kickers had made two field goals in the preliminary rounds, including ex-Yellowjacket Russell Palm — the last one to do it back in 2005 — but now Caruthers will have his name etched in the record books all alone.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org