The big foot of 'Bruins ball' Football: Soccer taught him how to kick, but Broadneck senior Brooks Barnard's field goals and kickoffs that can't be run back are what have major colleges knocking at his door. He's starting his fourth year.

September 19, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

He was supposed to kick the ball into a net for one-pointers but chose to kick it through the uprights for three-pointers instead.

"I played soccer from age 5 all the way up to eighth grade, but once I got to high school, I decided to try kicking for the football team," said Brooks Barnard, who is in his fourth season as Broadneck's kicker.

"A couple rec football coaches saw me kick a [free] kick all the way in the air into the net when I was in eighth grade and told me I ought to go out for football. So, I did and made the team as a freshman. I was pretty nervous that first year -- didn't know what to expect."

Broadneck coach Jeff Herrick remembers being immediately impressed by the red-headed freshman who was a soccer-style kicker.

"Brooks is the best kicker we've had at Broadneck and is probably the best I've seen since I've been coaching in Anne Arundel County," said Herrick, who is in his ninth year as the Bruins' coach after spending a couple years as an assistant at Arundel.

As a freshman, Barnard made four of seven field attempts and 15 of 18 extra points. Three more field goals in five attempts and 11-of-12 on extra points followed in 1995 and last season, Barnard hit five of 14 field goal attempts and 25-of-26 extra points.

Last fall, he also became the Bruin's full-time punter (he also plays at wide receiver and defensive back), averaging 35.7 (30-for-1,072) yards a kick to earn All-County honors.

Going into tonight's game at Arundel, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound Barnard has one field goal and nine extra points this season. He has 13 career field goals with at least eight games left, and his career extra-point accuracy is .923 (60-for-65).

The county career record for field goals is 16 by St. Mary's Mark Kiefer (1991-93), who is now kicking for Villanova.

Barnard's longest field goal was 47 yards last year against Glen Burnie, one-yard shy of the county record 48-yarder by Arundel's Bryan Beauchemin at Severna Park in 1985.

"Much of my success goes to my holder, Jonas Weatherbie, and our snapper, Casey Brown, and if I set any records, they deserve credit," said Barnard, who has no set routine for his kicks.

"I believe in quality over quantity. For me, it's better to kick just once the right way into the net before I go out and attempt a field goal. I would rather prepare in practice by kicking 25 of 30 than hitting 50 of 100."

Herrick said: "His value kicking off has probably helped us more. "Last year, he put 16 of 24 kick-offs into the end zone" [with none returned]. I think he can definitely kick big time."

The past couple summers Barnard, who has a 2.7 grade-point average and 1,000 SAT score (his goal is to get 1,100), has attended kicking camps at Penn State, Michigan and Florida State and has received letters from those schools, plus Syracuse and Nebraska.

Michigan has indicated that Barnard could get a chance to kick and play baseball. Barnard, also a forward on the basketball team, was also an All-County outfielder/pitcher in baseball as a junior.

Barnard, an only child, resides in Sturbridge (between Broadneck and Annapolis) with his parents who are very active at the high school.

His father, John, is an American Airlines pilot who helped to build the Bruins' athletic field-house, and his mother, Karen, helps run concessions and other activities. They, of course, track his kicks. Brooks hopes to track the weather one day.

"My favorite movie is "Twister," and I hope to become a meteorologist one day, and maybe follow tornadoes," said Barnard. "My weather forecasts will be right."

Pub Date: 9/19/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.