Sometimes it pays to speak up and take a chance.
That has certainly been the case for City High place kicker Drew Cornwell.
When his youth football coach was asking for place kickers, Cornwell threw up his hand.
The rest is history.
“It was fifth or sixth grade when the team needed a kicker, and I was like, ‘I’ll try it,’ ” Cornwell said. “I was pretty good, and I just carried that on.”
Cornwell has carried that early volunteer experience all the way to the brink of a state record. Cornwell enters tonight’s season finale against Cedar Rapids Kennedy with 222 career points by kick, just two points away from the state record of 224 set by former Ankeny and current Iowa State kicker Cole Netten from 2008 to 2011.
“I never thought I’d have a record like this,” Cornwell said. “That’s quite a bit of points.”
A starter since his freshman season, Cornwell has been a model of consistency during his prep career.
He has connected on 159 of 174 PATs in his career and has added 21 field goals.
This season, Cornwell is 31 of 35 on PATs and 4 of 8 on field goal attempts with a long kick of 40 yards.
“He has certainly won some games for us throughout his tenure,” City coach Dan Sabers said. “It has always been something where we tell our blockers up front on PAT, ‘We get a point for this play,’ and we are pretty much assured of getting that point with Drew.”
Cornwell’s sophomore season in 2011 was the best of his career, statistically, as he hit 46 of 48 PATs and was 10 of 14 on field goals.
That season also was the last time the Little Hawks played for a state title, and Cornwell would like another shot.
“That was a great experience,” Cornwell said of playing in the state title game. “Hopefully, we can do that again this year.”
Cornwell is one of only seven preps in Iowa history to have eclipsed 200 points by kick for a career.
That list includes former West High and Iowa kicker Nate Kaeding.
“I’ve tried to keep it in the back of my mind when I see that my name is up there with some pretty great kickers,” Cornwell said of the record. “Coming up on the record, I’ve tried to keep it in the back of my mind, but I still know it’s there and it’s something I’ve been trying to get.”
All because Cornwell decided to give place kicking a try.
“I’m glad I spoke up that day,” Cornwell said. “It’s worked out pretty well.”