Worley kicking it in gear for Straughn

Published 12:01 am Thursday, November 28, 2013

Off to the side of Straughn’s practice field, Tigers kicker Austin Worley goes through his normal routine of kicking the football through the uprights — all by himself.

Straughn kicker Austin Worley (10) goes through a kickoff drill during a recent practice. |  Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn kicker Austin Worley (10) goes through a kickoff drill during a recent practice. |
Andrew Garner/Star-News

The duties of a kicker can get lonely at times, but the senior has gotten used to it. He equated the feeling as that of pitching in baseball.

“You’re either the hero or the zero,” Worley said. “At times, it’s lonely, but you get used to it.”

The senior kicker has been handling the extra points and kick offs for Straughn this season.

Worley didn’t start out as a kicker on the team. In fact, he played quarterback in his freshman year, moved over to wide receiver and didn’t start kicking the ball until late last year.

Worley said he thinks his progression from kicking the ball “soccer style” to straight on has gone well.

“Whenever I started off, I was kicking soccer style,” he said. “When we went to play in the Champions Challenge, it wasn’t really working that way for me.

“And, if it wasn’t my senior year, I would’ve stuck with it, but I didn’t have a lot of time,” he said.

After a quick adjustment, the senior started wearing a different shoe on his right foot. The black shoe, as he calls it, makes it a lot easier to get the ball in the air.

“So, I went back to kick straight on with a shoe,” he said. “It got a lot easier. I don’t think it was as much kicking, as it was that I got really nervous and I wasn’t used to it.”

Worley said it wasn’t until the latter part of this season that everything started clicking.

“I kicked one in the T.R. Miller game and knock on wood, I haven’t missed yet,” he said.

His success wouldn’t have been possible without the aid of his teammates, Worley said.

“They’ve given me time (to kick the PATs),” he said. “I’m thankful for Rollin (Kinsaul) for giving me great snaps. My success wouldn’t be where it is if it wasn’t for my holder, and Taylor (Messick) is an excellent holder. Bad snaps and good snaps, he does all he can to get it right there. My success relies on him.”

Worley and the Tigers will travel to play Leeds tomorrow night in the Class 3A state semifinals.

Worley is the son of Donald and Cindy Worley of Harmony.