Brady Yoder’s record-setting kick highlights Homecoming performance
Story and photos by Greg Mitchell
When asked if he knew how long of a field goal he had kicked in the second quarter of Nile C. Kinnick’s 31-8 victory over the visiting Seoul
American Falcons, kicker Brady Yoder thought for a moment.
“Actually, I didn’t know how long it was,” said Yoder. “I still don’t know how long it was but, I just kicked it and I know it went up a ways.”
Yoder’s comment was an understatement; his 48-yard field goal in 30-knot winds set a Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DODDS) Japan record as the longest in history, helping propel the Red Devils to 4-0 on the season during Homecoming weekend at Berkey Field, Sept. 27.
Weather conditions, particularly wind, have a significant impact on field goal range. Kicking with the wind at the kicker’s back significantly increases field goal range, but ball placement and control is important because the wind could take the ball away. Fortunately for Yoder, he was able to pull it off.
“I thought he may have a chance with his soccer background, but with the winds it added more excitement,” said John Yoder, Brady’s father. “He just started to play the position two weeks ago but he is a natural athlete.
Being a place kicker is the same pressure as a goalkeeper….he lives for that pressure. I always told my boys that most college and pro football kickers have a soccer background and it may seem like you’re not important to the team, you actually are because you give your team another option.”
Head coach Dan Joley said he feels Yoder’s assessment of a kicker’s value as spot on.
“He kicks like that in practice,” Joley said. “That boy has a leg. We just gave him an opportunity to make a play for us and he did.”
Kinnick’s quarterback Kyle O’Brien began the game with a one-yard score in the first quarter on the opening Kinnick drive, setting the stage for running back Dre Paylor, who continued to make a solid case for being the best running back in all of Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) by rushing for 236 yards on 26 carries, including touchdown runs of seven, five and 14 yards.
For the season, Kinnick opponents have scored a total of 26 points against what’s arguably the strongest defense in the league. The Falcon offense was only able to tally 91 yards of offense. Red Devil linebacker George Calbert again led the team with 16 tackles; Paylor and tackle TyKai Martin each had six; linebacker Chris Morris had five.
Despite the victory, Joley said he is not fully convinced the team has peaked as a group.
“I feel that this wasn’t us today,” he said. “I thought the boys were just coasting through, and I know they can play better than this. It’s our job as coaches to keep the players focused and prepared. I anticipate a tough contest next week against Yokota.”
Nile C. Kinnick travels to Yokota Air Base to play the Yokota Panthers at Bonk Field, Oct. 3. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.