Cameron Smith

Louisiana 52-yard free kick may be year's most unique field goal

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

There are few football rules considered more antiquated than the one that says an opponent can try a free-kick field goal after fair catching a punt. Sure, it's happened in the NFL on occasion -- Neil Rackers attempted one from a monstrous 68 yards for the Cardinals in 2008 and failed miserably -- but there are scant circumstances when a team would willfully give up on a potential offensive drive to take a long shot at three points off a tee (or a holder).

Yet that's precisely what St. Michael (La.) the Archangel School did earlier this year in a victory over Live Oak (La.) High School. St. Michael's gamble paid off, with the school record 52-yard field goal you see above from Brandon Landry giving the school a 13-6 halftime lead that the Warriors rode to an eventual 19-6 victory.

"I knew I was capable of making it," Landry told the Baton Rouge Advocate. "But the whole thing was surreal. I remember kicking it, but I don't remember coming off the field or anything after that."

Landry's free kick was an ace up the sleeve of St. Michael coach Eric Held, who had seen Landry connect on deep free kicks in team practices before the Live Oak game.

Amazingly, Landry wouldn't even be kicking for St. Michael if the team's original kickers hadn't been injured more than a year ago. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, Landry was encouraged to come out for a team tryout in 2009 when two St. Michael's kickers were injured. A returning all-district soccer MVP, Landry missed his first attempt at an extra point, then proceeded to nail 14 straight.

With Held's encouragement -- the St. Michael coach was a kicker at Brother Martin-New Orleans High School and Nicholls State University -- and a little bit of work, Landry has emerged as a legitimate collegiate kicking prospect. And the St. Michael senior has familial history to lean on, too: His grandfather Donald Habetz was an LSU kicker when he attended the school.

"I played less than one game of football in middle school at MBS (Most Blessed Sacrament) as a running back," Landry told The Advocate. "I would have never thought I'd try playing football again, but I'm glad I did."

So is the St. Michael coaching staff, which found a special kicker who is never affected by surrounding circumstances.

"Brandon doesn't need a bunch of guys around him to pump him up or to tell him he can do it," St. Michael special teams coach Jonathan Lane told the Advocate. "He just goes in there and handles his business."

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