St. Joseph's Patrick Sohrt takes top spot at regional kicking competition, second nationally
Feb. 1, 2011 at 1:01 a.m.
Updated Jan. 31, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
Patrick Sohrt may only make it onto the field for a handful of plays, but his coach knows how he can affect the outcome of a football game.
"Having that range brings a whole new arsenal in," said St. Joseph football coach Donnie Slatter. "It's always a real dangerous threat if you have a good kicker."
Even in the offseason, Sohrt's leg is turning heads as he finished second overall amoung kickers in the High School Division at the Ray Guy National Kicking Championships.
"I was a little bit nervous going into it, but once I started doing it didn't really matter," said Sohrt about the competition.
In 2010, the junior kicker hit 62 percent of his field goals including one from 44 yards out and averaged 61 yards per kickoff with 17 of his 37 kicks going into the end zone for touchbacks.
Sohrt punted 27 times for an average of 41.1 yards per punt.
The Ray Guy National Championship is a kicking competition held in Dallas, Phoenix and Tampa where kickers are judged on kickoff distance, kickoff hang time hang time and field goal accuracy.
Sohrt competed at the University of Texas-Arlington's Maverick Stadium in November and finished first in the High School Division at that location and second nationally.
Kyle Federico of Ponte Verda High School in Florida finished ahead of Sohrt in the national competition.
Sohrt boomed a kickoff for a competition best 73 yards in addition to having an average kickoff distance of 59 yards. He also hit 90 percent of his field goals.
"It gives them no chance to run it back," said Sohrt about the importance of long kickoffs.
Even though Sohrt was more accurate kicking field goals, Federico had a better average kickoff distance and kickoff hang time.
Sohrt played soccer from the four years old to 12, smoothing over the transition to being a football kicker at St. Joseph.
"Kicking just came naturally to me," Sohrt said.
Although many football fans will overlook and even poke fun at the kickers on their favorite football team, they can have a huge role in deciding the game.
Kickers can turn a stalled drive into one that results in three points and can back the opposition up with a kickoff or punt.
And at any point of the game kickers can be called up to hit a field goal to tie the game or win.
Slatter has no doubt Sohrt is capable of coming through in the clutch for the Flyers next year.
"He's got the confidence and the leg that helps with his confidence," Slatter said.
Added Sohrt: "You can't really think about kicks you've previously done, you have to move on because your next kick might be in that instant."
The Flyers finished the 2010 regular season with a 4-6 record and were eliminated by eventual TAPPS Div. I State Finalists Fort Worth Nolan Catholic in the Area Playoff round.
During his time as an assistant at New Braunfels Canyon, Slatter saw Wes Zunker went on to kick for the University of New Mexico of the Mountain West Conference.
And he thinks Sohrt can make a similar leap. But is he good enough to kick at the college level?
"He's got the potential to be a good kicker at the next level," Slatter said.
Sohrt said he hasn't been actively looking for colleges to kick for, but he said the best way to get noticed is to meet his responsibilities on and off the field.
"Just keep practicing and keep doing everything I need to so I can get to the next level," Sohrt said.