It’s not just the NFL that’s seeing an increase in successful long field goal kicks. It’s happening at the prep level, too, as one playoff game in Oregon demonstrated powerfully.
During Sherwood’s 41-20 victory against Tigard, Sherwood kicker Adley Rutschman connected on a state-record 63-yard field goal. The kick came with just 2.9 seconds remaining in the first half and Sherwood holding a 35-7 lead, with Rutschman lining up for the kick on his own team’s side of the field. According to Oregon Live, Rutschman knew there was a chance he might head in to the game to try and long one, so when he got the call he was ready.
“I was kind of mentally preparing,” Rutschman told Oregon Live. “The coach told me earlier that we were going to try a long field goal. I just tried to stay nice and loose, and when it was time for that, I was ready.”
Rutschman, who has committed to play baseball at Oregon State, also had something else going for him: A light wind at his back. With the aid of that breeze and a powerful swing, Rutschman’s kick was good by at least 2 yards, maybe more. The kick wasn’t technically the first 63-yard field goal of the season, but it was the best. It was also one of the longest of all-time nationally, behind the legendary 68=yard effort by Dirk Borgognone of Reno, Nev. in 1985. It was eight yards longer than the prior state record of 55 yards, set by Paul Burton of Sunset in 1991.
For Sherwood’s coaching staff, the make was validation for the talent they’ve seen Rutschman showcase in practice all season long, not to mention redemption for an earlier miss from 41 yards, albeit 41 yards into the wind.
According to Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence, his own coaches were confused that the team was taking a timeout in the closing stages of the first half. You can imagine how surprised the Tigard defense was.
“That was insane,” Tigard defensive lineman Zach Jacobs said. “I came off the edge and kind of stood by him, and I was just watching it, and I was like, ‘No way.’ Big props to him. You can’t be mad about that. That was a wonderful kick.”