Griffith Kull gave an uncomfortable tug at his shoulder pads on the sideline, revealing just how unnatural they felt on his body.
“The whole wearing pads thing takes some getting used to,” he said. “And the helmet; that’s weird, too.”
Unlike his teammates on the Windsor High School football team, Kull, a senior, has just three games of experience under his belt.
What he does have, though, is a strong kicking leg developed from playing soccer his entire life.
In fact, Kull had never even played football until about three weeks ago.
Following the conclusion of his soccer career, which included four consecutive seasons as a varsity starter, he decided to offer his services as the Wizards’ kicker.
“It wasn’t even a surprise to me when I heard about him joining the football team,” Windsor soccer coach Phil Weiser said. “That’s what the school needed, so of course he was going to.”
The idea of kicking for the football team began to float around in Kull’s head a couple years ago. He had a few friends who played and tried to get him to come out for the team sooner, but they were unable to break his commitment to playing soccer.
But when soccer season ended in late October, school faculty joined in.
Assistant principal Dick Thomas stopped Kull in the hallway and explained to him how the football team was in need of a kicker after Brandon Ramirez, who previously had filled the position, had suffered a leg injury.
“I could read him like a book. I saw that he was interested but also nervous, so I asked, ‘Want me to introduce you to coach Jones?’,” Thomas said. “He said yes and we went straight to the weight room.”
Windsor football coach Chris Jones’ choices at the position had grown slim after seasoned kicker Joe Shermock graduated a year ago. Ramirez stepped in for a few games before his injury, and Dylan Tufts was called up from the freshman squad as a temporary fix.
But the kicking game remained the weakest link in Windsor’s scoring production, so Jones invited Kull to practice with the team that afternoon.
“(Kull) struggled a little bit with over-kicking in the first couple practices,” Jones said. “I think he may have been trying to show us too much.”
But he eventually settled in and took over as kicker entering the Wizards’ regular-season finale against Adams City on Nov. 6. He has connected on nine of his 12 extra-point attempts and recorded four touchbacks since.
Kull has yet to try a field-goal attempt, although he came close in Windsor’s most recent game.
The Wizards were tied with Palmer Ridge in overtime, with a chance to win the Class 4A quarterfinal game if they could score at third-and-goal from the 4-yard line. Running back Jake Shields rushed for a touchdown to lift Windsor to victory.
“I asked Jones if he would have kicked the field goal on fourth down and he said, ‘Definitely’,” Thomas said. “We may be in a position when we need Griffith like that. We may not. But it was cool to hear coach had already built that trust in Griffith in such a short time.”
Kull and the Wizards will travel to Everly-Montgomery Stadium to play Longmont in the 4A semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday.
For live game updates, follow sports reporter Quentin Sickafoose at twitter.com/QSickafoose.