Story: Lone Star Kicking Challenge Attracts

By Randy Rodgers

Klein Collins’ Garrett Lefevre, who committed to the University of Houston on July 8, turned in a strong overall performance to win the Overall Best Kicker award at the 2004 Lone Star Kicking Challenge in College Station on July 9. Lefevre was one of two kickers to make the finals in all three events (punt, kickoff, and field goal), winning a bronze medal in the punting competition. Lefevre had strong preliminary rounds, finishing second in the punting and third in kickoff. Lefevre had the longest punt of the day, booming a 60 yarder in the preliminary round. Plano West’s Matt Casady was the other athlete to gain the finals in all three events, bringing home a bronze in the field goal, after winning the preliminary round.

A&M Consolidated’s Matt Szymanski, who will be only a sophomore this fall, stunned some of the more highly regarded seniors by winning the field goal event. Szymanski’s 46 yarder in the finals edged Stephenville’s Ben Bell for the title, with Casady taking third. Szymanski also placed third in the kickoff preliminaries before falling to Klein Collins’ Andy Merrett in the tournament semifinals. Longest field goals of the day were twin 55 yarders by Dayton’s Andy Tackett and New Deal’s Todd Korchenko.

The Punting title went to Carrollton Creekview’s Ben White who averaged 43 yards in the finals. Second place went to San Angelo Central’s Ryan Smith. The Bronze medal went to Mayde Creek’s Taylor DelaFosse, who won the preliminary competition by cranking out three punts over 56 yards.

The Gold medal in Kickoff when to Brazoswood’s Chad Knowles who dominated both the prelimary and final rounds. Knowles showed to have the strongest leg, recording touchbacks on nine of ten kicks. Klein Collins teammates Merrett and Lefevre took Silver and Bronze respectively.

Deep snapping was also added to the event for the first time and Huntsville senior Justin Humphrey won both the preliminary and final rounds to take home the gold. Plano West junior Barrett Reynolds won the silver and Cameron Livesay of Arlington Lamar took the Bronze.

Two particular high school teams were in highly prominent positions on Saturday. Klein Collins’ Garrett Lefevre and Andy Merrett were a formidable combo, going 2-3 in the kickoff and Lefevre making the finals in all three events plus winning the Overall Best Kicker award. But it was hometown A&M Consolidated, which made the biggest team splash. Tiger head coach Jim Slaughter should have a pleasant but difficult choice, choosing his kicking specialists from among three very talented athletes. The Tiger team placed three kickers in the top five in field goal and two in the top five in the punt. Senior Eric George placed second in both the punting and field goal prelims. George lost to teammate Szymanski in the semi finals of the field goal and to Texas A&M commit Justin Brantly of Sealy in the punting quarterfinals. A&M Consolidated senior Gibby Sawtelle was the third Tiger, ranking fifth in the field goal event.