Morrow’s kicking helps keep Central in hunt

Posted Monday, Oct. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Being able to get inside the 30-yard line brings a sense of confidence to the Central offense. With Hunter Morrow able to consistently convert 40-yard field goal attempts, the added dimension has helped Central contend for a playoff spot.

Morrow, a senior placekicker, has been the man with the tee for three years. He said he has been kicking for a total of six years.

Thus far, for Central, Morrow has kicked eight field goals, with his longest being from 48 yards. Already, that’s more than he attempted during the full season last year. But one game this year has really impacted his percentage and his mechanics.

“One game ruined my stats,” Morrow said. “I missed four (field goals) in the Boswell game,” he said.

“I realized I was taking a step inside and putting the ball left,” Morrow said of studying his technical approach to the ball after the fact.

Morrow said he learned how to kick from his brother, Austin, who also played for Central.

“Austin got started with a middle school coach teaching him to kick,” Morrow recalled. “He played soccer and I thought that was cool and I’d be a kicker, too. It came naturally because I played soccer, too.”

Morrow continues to work with a private kicking coach, Scott Blanton, as well. Blanton played for the Washington Redskins after his college career at Oklahoma.

But it’s not just his private tutoring that has helped develop Morrow, said Central head coach Bart Helsley.

“Hunter has improved each year because of his work ethic and attention to detail,” Helsley said. “He works as hard in the weight room as he does on his kicking skills.”

Morrow spends considerable time in the weight room, but performs a tailored workout during practice times.

“I do all the weights and conditioning with the team,” Morrow said, “and I do my own workout during practice times, but they also want me to play safety or corner,” Morrow said. He avoids the opportunity on defense in order to lessen his risk of injury and has even put soccer aside to reduce the risk even more.

The work and effort doesn’t convert extra points and field goals if the fortitude isn’t intact.

“It sounds weird, but you want all the pressure on you and when you see the ball go through the uprights, it’s all worth it,” Morrow said.

The team has taken note of Morrow’s ability to handle pressure.

“He is a leader on the field and in the classroom,” Helsley added.

Morrow has built trusted relationships during his Central kicking career, as well. He said the snapper, holder and line are just as important as the kicker.

“A holder can completely mess a kicker up,” Morrow said, although he has built working relationships with just two long snappers during his four years in high school.

“I started with Cory Beahm in my freshman year,” Morrow said.

His long-snapper has been Austin Cutting since his freshman year, Morrow said.

Doing things differently, though, doesn’t mean Morrow is a superstitious kicker. “Before every kick I just do a little drill called the ‘L’ drill,” he said. “It’s just a drill to practice where your foot should be on contact. You make the shape of an ‘L’ with your feet. Your plant foot should actually create a 115-degree angle,” Morrow explained.

Morrow also admitted to wearing the same socks every week, but said, “Different socks wouldn’t mess me up.”

Regardless of which socks Morrow is wearing, he said once the Chargers are anywhere near the opponent’s 35 yard line, he’s ready to go in.

“He expands the red zone because of his leg,” Helsley said. “It gives your offense confidence in coming away with points when you get down inside the 35 yard line.”

His longest made field goal is the 48-yarder, but Morrow said that in practice with a “very strong wind” he has been able to get it over the crossbar from 70 yards.

Being consistent from 40 yards or more will continue to draw even more interest from college staffs and Morrow said he’d like to continue kicking at the college ranks.

He acknowledges that the Keller ISD schools have been very visible in developing kickers such as Chris Boswell from Fossil Ridge, Seth Wicks from Keller and former Keller Indians Derek and Ryan Epperson.

Morrow’s kickoffs are another major facet of his talent. “Kicking off is just at done at a higher speed,” Morrow said. “I can usually kick it into the end zone. My goal is to kick it out every time.”

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