Pioneer football fans will hear a new name announced this season when it’s time to kick the ball.
WCHS junior Beckam Scott will be handling field goal, kickoff, and punting duties for the Pioneers this season, his first with the football program.
“He’s taken it very seriously and is committed to being a good kicker,” said WCHS coach Matt Turner. “He’s gone to a couple high-profile kicking camps, including one conducted by James Wilhoit, a former kicker at UT.”
Wilhoit was known for making clutch kicks for the Vols during his career from 2003 to 2006. Perhaps his best known kick is a 50-yarder with :06 left that lifted UT to a 30-28 win over Florida in 2004.
“A kid at camp asked him if he remembered that 50-yard kick,” said Scott. “He said that it was one of the greatest moments of his life. Of course he remembered it.”
A longtime soccer player, Scott said he began thinking about kicking for the Pioneer football team last year when he realized kicker Stephen Curtis would be graduating and leaving the team. Scott said he quickly learned kicking a football is much different than kicking a soccer ball and he talked about the importance of proper mechanics.
“There are a lot of things that can be done several different ways, but kicking is not one of them,” said Scott. “If you look at any kicker, whether it’s college or the NFL, they all do everything the same fundamentally. I’m glad I got proper coaching early so I learned how to kick the right way and didn’t develop bad habits. It’s all about the right balance, getting your steps down, and hitting the ball at the right angle.”
Scott has certainly been getting in his share of kicks at practice. While the rest of the team works on skills like blocking and tackling, Scott works on his own kicking dozens and dozens of footballs through the uprights.
Scott estimates he’s taken between 1,000 and 1,500 kicks already in practice with right at a month to go before the season starts Aug. 20 at Nunley Stadium against DeKalb County.
“I feel pretty comfortable with anything under 40 yards, whether I’m kicking from the middle or either hash,” said Scott. “If I can get it up there to where I can make kicks with accuracy at 50 yards, I can play college somewhere. From the kickers I’ve talked to, you get an extra 5 to 7 yards of distance out of every kick in a game because of the adrenaline rush.”
Scott said his longest made kick thus far has been from 43 yards. He realizes it will be much different in a game with a live pass rush – and with the possibility of immense pressure if a win hangs in the balance.
“I’m working on trying to zone everything out,” said Scott, “and just focus on the ball.”
Making extra points and field goals will be just part of his responsibility. Scott will also be punting and handling kickoffs.
He said he’s worked on a couple different onside kicks, including a dribbler where he kicks the top of the ball. As for his punting duties, Scott didn’t reveal any secrets about whether the Pioneers are planning trickery.
When asked if the Pioneers will have a fake punt up their sleeve, Scott said, “I hope so and I hope I’m on the field when we use it.”