Thomas Center, a sophomore, made all 6 points after touchdown attempts and a 29-yard field goal in his debut as Greer High School's placekicker last week. He is the Walmart / GreerToday.com Student-Athlete of the Week.
With 1:25 remaining in the first quarter last Friday night Center, a sophomore, entered the game and kicked the extra point following Quez Nesbitt’s exciting 45-yard touchdown that pulled the Yellow Jackets to within 10-7 of Seneca.
That set up a perfect six-for six point after touchdown kicks and another career first, 29-yard field, for the sophomore that wasn’t scheduled to kick one week earlier. In fact, the tentative starting lineup had Center listed as the backup kicker.
Center’s 9-point performance, making him No. 2 in scoring after the first week of play, is the Walmart of Greer/GreerToday.com Football Student Athlete of the Week.
All of Center’s kicks were pressure filled. The more he kicked the more true the flight of the ball through the uprights. His field goal appeared to be a wobbly, slow motion kick that nestled into the uprights. “I have to keep calm and not get too nervous,” Center said.
Center’s PAT with 1:52 remaining in the game put Greer into overtime where his kick gave the Yellow Jackets an abbreviated edge before Seneca scored a touchdown and converted a two-point play to win the game.
“I focused on each kick. I watched the ball all the way to the (hold). After each kick it felt good,” Center said.
Center’s kicks had a pattern of becoming stronger with each PAT until the end of the game when he had the longest distance and straighter path of the ball through the uprights. “The last few kicks felt sweet, just like you hit a ball on the sweet spot of the bat,” Center said. He said his leg strength is good enough for 40-yard field goal attempts.
Greer Head Coach Will Young told last week’s TD Club, one day before the season-opener, that Center, one week earlier, had lost the specialist job in a kickoff to Nick Roberson, who kicked during the jamborees. “Thomas practiced over the weekend and asked for another chance to win the job. We had a kickoff on Wednesday where we looked at their weaknesses and strengths.”
“I went home and practiced on my own. I’ve been kicking since I was little and knew I could do better,” Center said. He kicked for the C team last year and also played quarterback.
“Thomas did a great job tonight. He showed a lot of poise and maturity,” kicking coach Daniel Fiske said.