Dave McKenna’s point in “Extra Pointless” (Cheap Seats, 11/25) that public-school football in the District sorely lacks a real kicking game, with the exception of Coolidge High School, is well taken. Looking at the box score of the Dunbar and Woodson semifinal game two weeks ago only goes to drive his point home. But, I submit, there grows a rebirth of football kicking in D.C. at the middle-school level.
For the last two years the Hart Middle School Jets, under the leadership of Head Coach Edward Shields, has been putting together a reasonably solid kicking game. During the 2004 campaign, Hart special teams hit nearly 30 percent of their extra-point PAT attempts with a squad of Mark Green (now at Anacostia High School) kicking, Chris “Mole” Campbell (now at Coolidge) snapping, and Jordan Howe (now at Anacostia) holding.
The 2005 season saw increased accuracy from the Jets, the team hitting roughly 40 percent of its attempted PATs. William Pugh of the squad developed into a capable PAT man, especially for a kicker without a proper pair of uprights for practice. Coach Shields used a set of cones set 8 yards apart for times when the Jets could not gain access to Ballou Senior High School’s field. Hitting PATs on an actual goal became a simple task for young Pugh. By the end of the season, he could make practice field goals up to 30 yards out.
In Hart’s 14-8 semifinal win against Sousa Middle School in the DCIAA city playoffs, two of the three extra-point PATs attempted in the game were actually kicked up and in, with the third missing by just a few feet left. All these young men do kick straight on, but their points do count just the same.