Up, up and away: a 63-yard field goal
ANKENY, Iowa (AP) _ College football recruiters looking for a kicker can put 17-year-old Todd Sievers of Ankeny High School at the top of their list.
Sievers launched a 63-yard field goal Friday night, fourth best in high school football history, in No. 5 Ankeny’s 45-0 rout of Fort Dodge.
``He’s the best I’ve ever seen and I really mean that,″ Ankeny coach Jerry Pizetti said.
If 63 yards sounds familiar for a field goal that’s because the distance is the same as the longest field goal in NFL history. Tom Dempsey kicked a 63-yarder that won a game for the New Orleans Saints in 1970.
Sievers’ kick was less dramatic, coming in the fourth quarter of a game that Ankeny was leading 35-0. Pizetti wanted to punt but assistant coach Mark Becker convinced him to give Sievers a chance.
``I know he’s a weapon and we know we can try him from 50 yards out,″ Pizetti said. ``But 63 yards, that’s a long way. If the kick is blocked, that can turn a close game. Tonight we didn’t have to worry. I thought he had a chance.″
Sievers knew the kick had a chance as soon as he connected.
``It felt good when it came off my foot,″ he said. ``I thought it would hit the cross bar. Then the referee’s hand went up and I just ran around hooting and hollering, jumped 20 feet in the air.″
The field goal broke the state record of 62 yards set in 1982 by Mike Kennon of Stanton Community and tied for fourth best in high school history. The high school record is 68 yards by Dirk Borgognone of Reno, Nev., in 1985.
Three college kickers _ Steve Little of Arkansas and Russell Erxleben of Texas, both in 1977, and Joe Lee of Wichita State in 1978 _ share the NCAA record at 67 yards. Sievers’ longest previous field goal was a 40-yarder two years ago.
His parents were overjoyed.
``He’s just worked so hard for this,″ his mother, Pat Sievers, said. ``We knew he could do it. He kicks 60-yarders in warmup. I mean it’s just a no-brainer from that far.
``He’s played soccer since he was 7. He only tried football in his freshman year.″