A winning kicker

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Straughn’s Chase Short was named The Star-News’ Player of the Week for his game-winning field goal against Elba last week. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Practice and hard work gave Straughn kicker Chase Short what he needed to come through in a big way for his team last week.

Short kicked a 17-yard field goal with more than 2:30 to go against Elba last week to help lift SHS to a 29-26 victory over the Class 2A defending state champions to earn The Star-News’ Player of the Week honors.

With the game tied 26-26, Straughn’s Nick Stepp grabbed an interception and the Tigers marched down the field within field goal distance to set up Short’s game-winning kick.

The senior kicker, who also plays quarterback for SHS, had only missed one field goal before in the game.

The scene played out like a movie.

He lined the kick up and booted the ball through the uprights, shortly after the referees called Elba offsides.

As a result of the penalty, the field goal was essentially an extra point attempt because of the distance between where the kick was lined up and the field goal behind the end zone.

Short said a lot of things were going through his mind, especially just making the kick again.

“Just don’t miss,” he said.

Short began kicking the football in middle school, where he served as the punter and kick off specialist for the SMS Tigers.

When he got to high school, he started working punting since former QB Josh Dewrell already kicked off and did the field goal duties.

“Then, after he graduated, they put me in the spot of doing all of the kicking,” Short said.

Short began to work with SHS assistant coaches David McVay and Bret Page.

“They taught me to keep your head down, don’t look to see where it goes after you kick it,” Short said. “You’ve got to know that you’re going to make it before you kick it.”

As a quarterback for SHS as well, Short said he’d rate his play so far this season as “pretty good.”

“Mainly because of the offensive line this year,” he said. “They’ve gotten better as the weeks progressed. Last week, by far, was one of the best weeks they’ve had this whole year.

“They’ve kept the pressure off of me when I throw,” he said. “They’ve opened up holes for all of the running backs to run through. So, they’re a big part of all the success that we’ve had this year.”

Straughn’s Devin Scott and Florala’s Austin McNeill earned honorable mention honors for their play last week.

Scott rushed for 216 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns in the win over EHS, and McNeill rushed for 253 yards on 14 carries and scored three touchdowns in the Wildcats’ win over J.U. Blacksher. McNeill also had an interception and a caused fumble on defense.

Short is the son of Michael and Sharron Short.