It’s not very often a high school senior attracts the attention of major television shows like ABC’s Good Morning America and ESPN’s SportsCenter. It’s also not very often that high school senior is a kicker for Central Valley High School’s football team in Spokane, Wash.
On Oct.18, 2012, Austin Rekhow secured himself a spot in the Washington State high school record books by kicking a 67-yard field goal with two seconds left to send the game into overtime. Thanks to Rekhow’s golden leg, the Central Valley High School Bears beat the Shadle Park Highlanders 62–55.
“The coaching staff had been going back and forth trying to decide whether to go for a Hail Mary or to try and kick it,” Rehkow said. “I wanted the opportunity but still wasn’t 100 percent sure I would make it. I got warmed up on the side a little more and then went out and stuck to the basics — same step, same kick. My holder did a nice job of getting the ball down, and my line gave me enough time to get the kick off.”
Prior to his record-setting field goal, Rehkow’s personal bests were 60 yards in practice and 56 yards in a game. Central Valley’s football coach, Rick Giampietri, said Rehkow earned the right to attempt the kick because he makes a high percentage of his long distance field goal attempts.
“We were kind of spoiled all year knowing that if we could make it to the opponent’s 40 yard line we would have a chance to come away with points,” Giampietri said.
The kick has attracted the attention of colleges looking for their future kicker. Before the game in October, Rehkow had only received a partial scholarship offer from Eastern Washington State University. According to Scout.com, BYU, as well as Idaho, Montana and Washington State, has started recruiting Rehkow since October. Of the recruiters, only Idaho has offered Rehkow a scholarship so far.
BYU’s coaching staff was not able to comment on Rehkow because of NCAA rules prohibiting the discussion of recruits during recruitment, but they were able to give some insight on what would warrant a field goal attempt of 60-plus yards.
“We would do it if we needed to win and we thought our kicker could kick it that far,” said Nick Howell, BYU special teams coach. “The situation dictates though. There’s a lot that goes into a kick. We would have to feel like he could make it. It’s pretty much that simple.”
Rehkow’s kick was four yards longer than the NFL record of 63 yards, which has been achieved by current kickers David Akers and Sebastian Janikowski. The BYU record for longest field goal was set in 2000, when Owen Pochman kicked a 56-yard field goal.
Rehkow plays more than just kicker. This year the Central Valley High School coaching staff played Rehkow as a receiver and a defensive back, in addition to his kicking duties. Now that football season is over, the 6’3″ senior has turned his attention to basketball, where Rehkow is the starting point guard. He and the other seniors are looking to lead the Bears to a return to the state championships, where they finished second last year.
As impressive as he is on the field and on the court, Rehkow is even more impressive off the field.
“He’s not a cocky kid at all,” Giampietri said. “He’s pretty level headed and pretty quiet actually. He has a 3.95 GPA, so he’s also a very smart student.”
With all the attention he has gained from kicking the field goal and becoming the talk of college recruiting, to appearing on major TV shows, Rehkow has kept things in perspective and continues to be the humble kid from Spokane.
“A couple weeks ago, all the seniors went to one of the local elementary schools to play at recess and talk with some of the kids,” Rehkow said. “As soon as they found out I was there, a long line formed for autographs. It’s a lot of fun, especially knowing that you’re being looked up to by the younger kids in the area. It’s all just pretty awesome.”