The coaching staffs at Bradwell Institute and Liberty County High School understand how important kickers and punters are, as both teams are searching for the right candidates to fill those critical spots.
For the past six seasons, Bradwell had brothers David and Robert Miller handling almost all the kicks. The two were dynamic on the soccer field and easily transitioned their kicking styles to the football field.
David Miller was twice named to the All-Region team as a punter and was the region’s special-team player of the year in 2010. He went to Georgia State University after being invited to GSU’s football camp as a preferred walk-on punter in 2011. He continues to excel at GSU both academically and on the field, having been named to the Colonial Athletic Association’s Academic All-Conference Team.
Robert Miller was mentored by his older brother before taking the roles of kicker and punter. He had 34 kickoffs for 1,497 yards and three touchbacks last season, as well as 21 punts for 617 yards. Miller had some help, as Hubert Anderson had 12 punts for 449 yards last season as well. Miller made 21 of 21 extra-point attempts and was 3 for 3 on field goals last year. Miller and Anderson both graduated this past May.
“We have a couple of soccer players that want to play, and we are going to get them out here and start working with them soon,” Tiger head coach Greg Hill said. “They’ve been at their soccer practices, but we are going to get them out here and start with them on the game … you know, the extra point, you kind of chalk that up to being a given, but they have to make those kicks. They are very important. Kickoff, punts — those are important aspects of the game and they can change the game real quick ... we have to find at least two kickers.”
At LCHS, veteran kicker Joaquin Lemapu will return for his senior season. The former soccer player started playing at the varsity level in his sophomore year, when he had 41 kickoffs for 340 yards. Last year, Lemapu also played linebacker, but his role as the team’s kicker was at the forefront. He made 57 kickoffs for the Panthers and had 21 punts for 709 yards, went 25 of 30 on extra points and made 100 percent of his field-goal attempts last season. Defensively, Lemapu had 3.5 sacks and 64 total tackles.
“He is definitely going to handle our extra points and field goals … right now, he is handling it all. But we would like for a punter to step up and take at least that one duty off him,” Panther coach Kirk Warner said. “He is also one of our starting linebackers for us … I prefer for him to be our extra-point and field-goal kicker if we find a punter, but if we can’t, then he is going to have to be an iron man.”