Prep football

HILLARY SMITH: Soccer player turned kicker's foot has Andrean on cloud Niners

2012-11-09T21:45:00Z 2012-11-10T04:10:05Z HILLARY SMITH: Soccer player turned kicker's foot has Andrean on cloud NinersHillary Smith Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 09, 2012 9:45 pm  • 

WALTON | Matt Anderson had only ever played soccer on the football field before this season.

On Friday, the fate of Andrean's football team was on Anderson's foot, the one that has been conditioned to kick a round ball, not oblong.

Anderson kicked a 37-yard field goal that even his coach didn't think went over the goal posts to tie the game with 38.6 seconds remaining.

Then, Anderson hit a PAT in the fifth overtime against Cass to secure a 67-66 regional win.

"This is my fourth chance at a regional and my first win," said Anderson, who has appeared in all of his previous regionals with the soccer team.

The Niners graduated a four-year kicker in the spring, opening up a huge hole in Andrean's scoring ability.

Coach Phil Mason approached the soccer team, asking for the best feet available.

"He's an outstanding soccer player," Mason said. "Matt came out and we knew how strong of a leg he had and he's really just grown into the position."

The 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was only the second of the season for the kicker and his personal best. He also added four PATs in regulation and the two in OT.

Mason said he was well aware of the pressure he was putting on a first-year football player when he called for the kicks that ultimately gave Andrean the win.

"That's the unbelievable thing about it is that you look at our seniors and the months and months they put into the weight room and Matt was playing soccer, and he's really good at it," Mason said. "We had to put it on a kid that doesn't fully understand the contact and the physicality that goes on out here, but he's a competitor and I'm sure he can relate that very well."

The catch is, the game might not have ever landed in OT had it not been for Cass kicker Marcus Hedrick. The senior missed his first kick of the game and had one in the fourth quarter blocked. His try in the second overtime was also blocked.

"We've all been there," Anderson said. "I can only imagine what he's going through and feel for him."

The kicker isn't ready for the ride to end. Every extra time he spends on the football field is time he says his soccer friends could only wish for.

"When the soccer coach asked me, I did not know it was going to come down to this," Anderson said.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach her at hillary.smith@nwi.com.

 

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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