The instructions for Aiken's Calder Reardon are always simple.
The coach comes over before the junior place-kicker takes the field and offers two sentences of advice.
"Keep your head down. Make sure you follow through."
For a first-year football player such as Reardon, simplifying the game to nine words might be the best option. Of course, a strong leg and good accuracy don't hurt either.
Reardon proved all three to be true last week.
Against South Aiken on Nov. 8, Reardon kicked a game-tying 25-yard field goal with 28 seconds left then made a 23-yarder to beat the Thoroughbreds 13-10 in overtime.
"He's been big for us all year," Aiken coach Carey Johnson said. "He really works hard at it."
That hard work has come from necessity. Before this season, Reardon was strictly a soccer player. .
But quarterback Bishop Scott and Johnson convinced Reardon to try out for the team last spring.
"It all came together during soccer season," Reardon said. "Coach Johnson asked me to come out and try it. I wasn't expecting to be good at it."
As the Hornets can attest, Reardon has been a pleasant surprise.
Although he's missed two point-after attempts, Reardon has been one of the area's top kickers, converting eight of nine field goals and 15 of 17 extra points.
"When he first came out, we knew he had a strong leg," Johnson said. "What we've gathered is that he's also a good competitor."
HT./WT.: 5-11, 145
LAST WEEK: Reardon kicked a 25-yard field goal with 28 seconds left to send the game to overtime and nailed a 23-yarder in overtime to give Aiken a 13-10 victory against South Aiken.
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.