Have you ever seen a punt travel 96 yards before? Even seeing the number "96" next to a punt seems ludicrous, doesn't it? Well, it happened in a Florida high school game, and the seemingly preposterous boot came despite a bad snap, too.
As noted by iBN Sports, which captured the game in its entirety, Lake Wales (Fla.) High punter Tate Mathewson kicked an 80-yard punt that traveled quite a bit farther during his team's matchup against area rival Winter Haven. The Lake Wales kicker got his foot on the ball at his own 2-yard line, and his resulting kick traveled all the way to the Winter Haven 2, thanks to a kind bounce that even carried the ball out of bounds without a return.
To call such a kick miraculous isn't much of a stretch. As it was, it took pretty much every break imaginable -- both good and bad -- for Mathewson to hit that 96-yard mark in distance traveled.
First, the long snap to the punter was bad, sending Mathewson scrambling back to corral the ball in his own end zone. Desperate to get off the kick rather than face a safety, Mathewson scrambled left and let loose with as big a kick as he could get, and happened to get a really good one.
The ball traveled just more than 60 yards in the air, a distance long enough to catch the Winter Haven return man off guard, with the ball soaring above his head and beyond his reach. From there it was off to the races, with momentum and a "strong wind" carrying the ball all the way to the Winter Haven 2, where the ball obligingly trickled out of bounds on the left side.
Put all those factors together and you end up with a punt that travels 96 yards. Talk about a field position game-changer. Unfortunately for Mathewson and his Lake Wales teammates, the kick wound up being one of the few bright spots from a 27-14 loss to Winter Haven, though as far as bright spots go, that one had quite a shine to it.
It goes without saying that Mathewson probably won't be able to duplicate his miraculous punt no matter how long he keeps playing. As it is, the senior punter allegedly hopes to compete in college, though he isn't currently being inundated with any major college offers, despite the fact that he and his father reportedly traveled more than 3,000 miles by car this summer in search of a major college offer.
If nothing else, this video can't hurt Mathewson's chances of kicking at the next level. If nothing else, every college that sees it will know he has the leg to do something special.
- Sports & Recreation