West Deptford (N.J.) senior R.J. Falls has a very specific skill that helps him stand out from the pack: He blocks kicks. Lots of them.
According to the Phiadelphia Inquirer, the transfer star took to calling himself "The kid from Gateway who blocks punts," after he first arrived on the West Deptford campus last fall, a title that he lived up to with an amazing seven blocked punts and one blocked field goal in a single season.
"I don't think most people even knew who I was," Falls told the Inquirer about his first few weeks on the West Deptford team. "They just knew I was a transfer from Gateway and that I blocked punts.
"It comes down to who wants it more. I put my hand down and I tell myself I'm going to get it. I'm actually mad at myself when I don't block it."
In his senior season, Falls' impact has been slightly slowed by injuries -- he's suffered a pinched nerve in his back, an ankle sprain and a torn labrum and partially torn rotator cuff in his left arm all in the 2010 campaign -- though they've hardly thwarted them altogether. Falls has three blocks in 2010, all on punts, including one in which he literally drove the personal protector for an opponent's punter right into the kicker.
It's that kind of extra effort which helps Falls stand out on special teams, even more than he does while playing as a reliable starting defensive end for the 11-0 Eagles.
"He sells out," West Deptford coach Clyde Folsom told the Inquirer. "He's one of those players who leaves everything on the field. He goes 100 miles per hour."
Falls will have at least one more shot to get another punt or field goal when West Deptford faces conference rival Haddonfield (N.J.) High on Friday in the South Jersey Group 2 championship game. It's an opportunity the senior isn't taking lightly, particularly after Haddonfield eliminated the Eagles in the playoffs a year ago.
"It was 375 days ago that was basically the worst day of my life," Falls said of West Deptford's loss to Haddonfield in last season's sectional semifinals. "This is absolutely the best scenario, the chance to go out and play our last game against Haddonfield."