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Thursday, December 9, 2021

One Point At A Time

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Quick, name the Kennedale player who is currently in second place in most points scored this season.
If you didn?t already know the subject of this story, this question might have stumped you. {{more}}
Wildcat kicker Zane Kottwitz, who is in 2nd place, has 79 points. RB Juwan Washington is #1 with 210 points and RB Ronald Hayes is in 3rd place with 78 points.
140 points over two years
Zane Kottwitz, a senior this year, has been the Kennedale kicker for extra points and field goals the past two seasons. In the two seasons combined, he has 140 points. He has two games this season where he scored 10 and he averages 7.2 points per game. For the year, he is 76 for 77 on extra points.
Kottwitz is also is the kicker for kickoffs. He has kicked 88 times for a total of 4,509 yards or an average of 51.2 yards per kick. His longest was for 63 yards and he has had 15 touchbacks.
A secret to success?
Actually there are several. Kottwitz plays for one on the most prolific and successful offenses around, averaging 55.2 points per game. That is a lot of chances to make extra points.
Kottwitz also has a solid supporting team. He has had the same holder (Jake Michener) and the same deep snapper (Chance Bishop) all season with the exception of the last game when Bishop had an injury to his snapping hand. Bishop should be back this week.
No one notices how important these two are to a successful kick until the snap goes off into deep space or the holder fumbles the snap. The kicker always knows. Without the steady hands of Michener and the accuracy of Bishop, Kottwitz could have had a just so-so season.
But then there is the kicker.
It may look easy but it is the combination of temperament, skill and repetitive practice and more practice.
For kicking extra points, accuracy is the sole criteria for success. Ask any fan. Extra points should be automatic come wind, rain, sleet or snow. On baking hot days when the ball floats or freezing days when the ball is like a rock, that one extra point is a guarantee or should be in the eyes of the fans and coaches.
A running back may stumble over his own feet, a quarterback may throw an interception but the kicker can?t miss that ?easy? extra point. Such is the life of a kicker.
Why kicking?
Zane began taking kicking seriously in 8th grade when he started doing kickoffs for the Kennedale Junior High football team.
?It was when Mr. Shreves (Junior High Teacher & Coach) started going on, saying ?here comes golden toe Kottwitz?, said Zane. It made him think seriously about kicking.
It was after that season that he and his parents started checking around for someone to teach him the fundamentals and that is when they found Scott Blanton. Blanton is a former NFL kicker for the Washington Redskins who now works with high school and college kickers.
Kicking style?
?For everybody it is different, different steps and different way of hitting the ball. I have done just what my teacher has done. I mean, I trust what he has done because he kicked in the NFL and he has sent all of his players to play at colleges at D1 schools like TCU and Baylor”, said Kottwitz.
Mental preparation?
?? before I take one step on the field,” Zane said, “I try to look at the goal post and I say I am not going to step on this field until I am 100% confident that I will make every single one. I have to vision myself making it through the uprights because if I can?t see it happening in my mind then there is no way I can do it.?
Future plans?
?I would love to kick in college,? said Kottwitz. Adding, ?I would like to kick somewhere where I can get a really good education. I would love to look at maybe an Ivy League school or somewhere that has a good medical school program that would help me out. I plan to go into pre-med.?
Let?s hope that Zane gets a chance to at least kick his average or better this week. That should mean that the Wildcats are on their way to another win.

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