Kicking game a strength for Cavs, Tigers
Published 1:06 am Friday, November 16, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
If it comes down to having to attempt a field goal to win today’s state-playoff showdown with Hapeville-Charter, Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins wouldn’t hesitate to send Hunter Williamson onto the field.
Williamson, a senior, has had an outstanding senior season, both as the place kicker, and as a punter.
“Hunter has had a special year,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “He’s gotten better each week.”
Williamson has made 46-of-48 extra-point tries, and he has converted all four of his field-goal attempts.
Williamson has also been extremely valuable as a punter, averaging 35 yards a kick.
In last week’s win over Elbert County, Williamson had one punt that was downed inside the 1-yard line.
After the defense made a stop, Callaway scored a touchdown after starting on the Elbert County side of the field.
“He’s progressed each week,” Wiggins said. “His work ethic is very special. He’s an excellent student. He represents our football team really well.”
On extra points and field goals, it’s a team effort.
Walt Stewart handles the snapping duties, and Bryce Kurian is the holder.
“Bryce and Walt and Hunter have worked very well together,” Wiggins said. “Those three guys spend hours together every week, just the three of them, snapping, holding and kicking, snapping, holding and kicking. And it’s paid off. They’re very cohesive.”
Wiggins added that “those three are a close group, and they’re a special part of our football team. The successes that we’ve had there has not come easy. They’ve put in a lot of time, and it shows.”
For Troup, senior Helsyn Martinez has been terrific.
The place-kicking position was a question mark coming into the season, and it wasn’t until shortly before the first game that head coach Tanner Glisson settled on Martinez.
Martinez, who is a soccer standout at Troup, is 51-of-54 on extra-point tries, and he has made both of his field-goal attempts.
In a key road game against Cartersville, Glisson showed enough confidence in Martinez to send him onto the field with Troup trailing 14-0 in the first quarter.
Martinez’ attempt split the uprights to get Troup on the board.
The punting position was another question mark for Troup coming into the season, and Mark Anthony Dixon has excelled in that role.
Troup has been dynamic in the return game. Trey Williams has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, and Ja’Rell Smith has one kickoff return for a score.
In the Cartersville game, it was Smith’s long kickoff return inside the 10-yard line that set up Troup’s lone touchdown.
Jamari Thrash is also a threat to score on kickoff returns, and some bad luck has kept him from finding the end zone. Thrash has returned multiple punts for touchdowns, but they’ve all been negated because of penalties.