cat-sports

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 14:01

Hough has a weapon in Lewis

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Hough kicker Camden Lewis has 40 touchbacks in 47 kickoffs this year. Hough kicker Camden Lewis has 40 touchbacks in 47 kickoffs this year. Justin Parker

It was almost halftime Aug. 25 at Providence, and Hough’s offense had just moved into Panthers territory when the Huskies did something very few high school teams can even think of trying. 

They set up for a 59-yard field goal. 

Teams don’t do that unless they have a kicker with range, and junior Camden Lewis’ long kick was on line before it dropped about a yard short. 

“It was the perfect time to try it,” says Steve Sechrest, who coaches Hough’s kickers. “If there had been a breath of wind to help him, he’d have made it.”

In a short time, Lewis has become one of the country’s top prep kickers. He has hit a 65-yard field goal off the ground — that is, without the rubber block high school kickers are allowed to use — in practice. He hit a 50-yard field goal in a J.V. game last year and tied Tim Gawert’s school record with a 51-yarder at Mooresville Sept. 29. In Lewis, the Huskies have an option many teams simply don’t. 

“That comes in real clutch for us,” says defensive back Tyus Fields. “If we’re in a tight situation in a game, he can be a difference-maker for us.”

Lewis is second on the team in scoring with 40 points, trailing only workhorse running back Jarrett Nagy (62). The Huskies have confidence in him, and Lewis is confident in his ability. 

“You have to go out with the mentality that you’re going to make the kick,” he says. 

Lewis helps the Huskies in other ways, too. Forty of his 47 kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks, with the others just missing the end zone. He made poor contact on one kickoff against Lake Norman Friday, and the ball angled off to the left without the tight end-over-end trajectory of his usual kicks. It wasn’t pretty, but it bounced out of the end zone, too. He’s punting for a 39.2 yard average, with a long of 54. 

“He gives us the ability to flip field position,” says Hough head coach Matt Jenkins. “At the high school level, that’s uncommon. It’s a luxury.”

Lewis began kicking his freshman year after Sechrest mentioned to his parents that he needed a J.V. kicker and thought Lewis might be good. Though he wasn’t sure he wanted to try it, Lewis did. His natural ability — coordination, leg speed, ability to elevate the ball — was evident early. The varsity team had a proven kicker in Zach Stearns the last two years, so Lewis was content to hone his craft on Thursday nights.  

“It was good to get that experience on J.V. to prepare me for varsity,” he says. 

After summer evaluations, Lewis entered this season ranked No. 7 nationally in the 2019 class by analyst Chris Sailers. Major college programs are showing interest. Lewis took an unofficial visit to Michigan State recently. Virginia Tech is recruiting him, as are Duke and South Carolina, among others.

 

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