Usually the team that wins a playoff game has its exploits touted as the primary subject of the following media attention. That wasn't the case for one second-round playoff game in Georgia, where a high school kicker connected on an amazing 61-yard field goal in what eventually turned out to be a 35-6 loss by his team.
As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, East Paulding (Ga.) High placekicker Miles Hemphill drilled a 61-yard field goal in a playoff game against Stephenson (Ga.) High. The kick was one of only a couple legitimate highlights for East Paulding in a brutal season-ending loss … and the other was another Hemphill field goal.
The 61-yarder, which would rank as the second longest in the NFL this year if it were made at that level, ranks as the third longest in state history, behind a 67-yard field goal from Duluth (Ga.) High star Rusty Curry in 1999 and a 63-yarder by Heritage-Conyers (Ga.) High place-kicker Dax Langley. Hemphill's kick was the first to come from beyond 60 yards in the state in the past 13 years.
The 61-yard boomer also serves as a capping accomplishment for a season of resounding success for Hemphill, who has yet to receive a college scholarship offer. The Journal-Constitution reported that Hemphill hit an impressive 11 of 14 field-goal attempts and 57 of 58 extra-point attempts in 2012. A whopping 66 of his 79 kickoffs went for touchbacks, with plenty even splitting the uprights.
In short, he has easily been the best kicker in the state.
With a leg like that, it's surprising that no college team has come forward with a scholarship offer yet. While that might not last for long, if it does it still appears a major college program will give Hemphill a shot. Wisconsin and Minnesota have both shown interest in Hemphill, and the likes of Auburn, Middle Tennessee and Georgia Southern have all hosted the kicker for a weekend visit.
No matter where he winds up, Hemphill should emerge as a key part of that program in short order. After all, it's not every day that a team has a kicker it can trot out with a 60-plus-yard field goal to his credit.