King’s Fork kicker makes school history, named all state
Published 10:23 pm Wednesday, February 19, 2014
King’s Fork High School senior kicker Austin Wall became the first football player in school history to be named to the all-state first team earlier this year.
“Honestly, I was pretty excited,” Wall said when he learned of the honor. “I mean, I put the work in to be the best, I was glad to see it, because actually this year I actually wasn’t going to play football.”
He was going to focus solely on wrestling, but Bulldogs head football coach Joe Jones talked him into coming back out.
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“It was a nice way to end my high school career,” Wall said of the award. “It made me proud of myself.”
Jones said ordinarily the Virginia High School Coaches Association selects all-state teams, but the Virginia High School League created this one for the first time this year because it was the first year of the new alignment.
“I was excited for him, and I think he was very deserving of it,” Jones said of Wall. “I believe the kick against Phoebus (High School) was a big factor in there.”
Wall kicked a last-second, 42-yard field goal to defeat No. 1-seeded Phoebus High School in the Group 4A South Region playoffs. He also kicked in a successful 37-yarder the play before that was negated due to a false start penalty.
Jones also said the fact that Wall kicks off the ground — like professional and college players are required to do — rather than use a tee was also a factor in his receiving the all-state honor.
Wall agreed that was important, because not many high school players do it, as it heightens the level of difficulty, though he finds it easier.
“You don’t get as much height on the ball as you kick it, and then it also depends on other things like your plant foot and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “It’s minor stuff, but it goes a long way.”
Jones said eight coaches voted on the all-state selections, and at least seven voted for Wall. The coach also said he was told the Phoebus head coach said, “I’m voting for him. He beat us twice.”
“I shared that comment with the coaches at the all-state (meeting),” Jones said.
Wall went 4-for-7 on field goals for the year, the 42-yarder being his longest. He was 41-for-44 on extra points. Jones said he also did a great job with strategically placing the ball on kickoffs.
And his absence due to graduation will definitely be felt.
“We’ll be looking for someone to step up and take his place next year,” Jones said.