Special teams are aspects of football that are underestimated. Puts, kickoffs and returns are taken for granted, with fans only speaking up when poorly executed. People also tend to notice when special teams are great, and this year the football kickers at Steamboat Springs High School are pretty amazing.
Sophomore Charlie Reisman and junior Erik Sandvik are football players by default but have brought their talents to the football team as specialist kickers. Sandvik is the sailors kicker and Reisman takes care of the kickoffs and baskets. On the pitch, Reisman is a striker and Sandvik is generally a central defender.
Soccer coach Rob Bohlman and soccer coach Jay Hamric were more than happy to welcome the boys and their desire to play two sports.
“It’s really a gift to be able to have talented kids on our special teams,” said Hamric. “These games, these special teams play during a game, can make the biggest difference to the outcome of the game. We have strong kickers and bettors, and that has a huge impact on positioning on the court as well as the momentum of the game. With these two kids having strong legs, they had a major impact on positioning on the court. ground.
Soccer is the priority for both of them, but they attend about one soccer practice per week and have found a way to attend every game for both teams. They are essential full-time players for the football team and have garnered a lot of attention for their brief appearances on the football field.
“What a cool thing – to represent your soccer team and your soccer team in your hometown,” Bohlman said.
Consider kicking college
Last Friday, during a game at Coal Ridge, the Steamboat Springs football team lined up for a 45-yard basket.
Senior quarterback Jake Hamric placed the ball on the 35-yard line. Reisman took two steps, and with the third, quickly made contact with the ball and sent it flying. At the end of the line, he tumbled down the uprights, giving the Sailors a 10-0 lead.
Hamric said if he hadn’t had Reisman he would send Sandvik to take such a long basket from the pitch, but without either one he would never have taken the call.
“If I didn’t have Charlie or Erik, absolutely not,” Jay Hamric said. “There’s just no way. We don’t have kids on our team who can hit a 45-yard field goal on top of those two. We are very lucky. College and professional teams struggle with a basket of over 45 yards. Being able to have that on a high school team is pretty amazing. “
Later in the game, Reisman attempted another 45-yard field goal but narrowly missed the target.
“A 45-yard player did me good. It’s not quite beyond my limits, ”he said. “I felt confident that I could make it happen, but I have to admit that on the first one my right leg was shaking. The irony was on the second, I wasn’t scared, but I think that’s probably one of the reasons I missed it. It’s good to have this fear.
His participation in both sports is something that requires a lot of support not only from coaches and teams, but also from his parents.
The Sailors football team played for the first time on August 28, starting at 6 p.m. That afternoon, Sandvik and Reisman helped the football team defeat Littleton on the Front Range. Reisman’s mother brought the two players back to Steamboat. They ran towards the field with their pads, missing a little more than the first quarter.
“It was something I wanted to make sure my mom was okay with and wanted to put in the effort to drive and do that stuff,” Reisman said. “It was worth it.”
Reisman takes a lot of free kicks for the football team, during which he takes three or four steps before his kick. Reisman is one of the team’s top scorers and is often used on penalties and direct free kicks.
With football, there is more technique and precision. A kickoff takes seven steps, and before a basket it takes three.
He spent a lot of time practicing all of his kicking techniques with his parents this summer and even attended a kicking clinic in Atlanta. He spends more time playing football, but both sports hold a place in Reisman’s heart and potentially in his future.
“These two sports have been a dream of going to college for them,” he said. “Last year I did a kicking presentation in Atlanta. I’m just trying to figure out what sport I want to do.
Hard when it counts
It’s hard to work. There is no one who catches the snap for you or holds the ball for you. Bettors have to do it all and the team expects them to do it right most of the time.
Sandvik was more than willing to take on such an intimidating role, as it was the only way for him to participate in both football and soccer. Last year, with the seasons reversed due to the pandemic, Sandvik played football for the first time. He was a wide receiver and a defensive back, but he couldn’t continue that way while playing both sports on a “normal” schedule.
In a year and a half of the punt, Sandvik has become quite good, which is impressive because there is no overlap between the skills needed to kick a soccer ball and those needed to kick a soccer ball. First of all, Sandvik never has to worry about getting your hands on a soccer ball.
“You have to focus on the catch because you don’t want to let it go,” he said. “Then it all comes down to how the soccer ball drops, how you drop it, making sure it’s at a right angle to your foot. You try to get a spiral when you hit it, but it is difficult. “
Generally, football requires using the inside of your foot when hitting a ball, but there are exceptions. During the punt, Sandvik kicks using the outside of his foot, which helps the ball spin.
Of course, the chain of events is not always perfect. In a home game against Middle Park two weeks ago, Sandvik got a high snap that went over his head and behind him. He rushed for the ball and as his opponents moved closer he turned and got a punt, pushing the Middle Park team almost to the end zone.
Sandvik’s courage and confidence in football is found in football. As a center-back, he’s often the last line of defense before forcing the Sailors’ keeper to face an attacker. So he knows it’s up to him to do the job.
“You have to be mentally strong,” Jay Hamric said. “You’re in some really tough situations, whether it’s the wind, a bad snap, whether it’s a key kick with the game waiting on the line. These kids have to be mentally strong, and I think that says a lot about these people. “
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.