He had been participating in two-a-day practices as a wide receiver with Bridgewater College’s football team when he happened to mention to a coach he also kicked. It was an off-hand comment, one that Kyle Beach (Osbourn Park ’02) didn’t think would lead to anything.
In fact, once he was told to go over with the other kickers, Beach believed it would be just for a couple of days and then he would return to wide receiver.
“I never made it back,” Beach said.
Looking for a kicker had been a top priority for the Eagles after they had gone 1-for-13 on field-goal attempts in 2001.
Bridgewater, which had reached the Division III national championship game last season, had a kicker coming back and two incoming freshmen they specifically recruited for that position, but it saw no harm in adding one more name into the mix.
Plus, the Eagles had a kicking coach in camp who could give the coaching staff a better idea who might be the best candidate. Beach won the competition and it’s a move that’s paid off.
Through five games, Beach has converted five of seven field-goal attempts and 18 of 19 extra-point attempts for the second-ranked Eagles (5-0). He leads the team in scoring (33 points) and is fourth in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference in points per game (6.6).
“It was a no-brainer who the kicker was going to be going into the first game,” Bridgewater coach Mike Clark said.
In the Eagles’ 23-20 season-opening win over McDaniel Sept. 7, Beach tied a school record for most field goals in a game (three) when he connected from 22, 20 and 36 yards out.
Despite his big day, though, Beach was still an unknown, at least among some of his teammates. One, a wide receiver, was asked after the McDaniel game about what he thought of the team’s freshman kicker.
“And he responded by saying he didn’t know who he was,” Clark said.
To clear up the mystery, Clark made a point to introduce Beach to the team when it met that Monday.
“It’s caught everyone by surprise,” Beach said.
Beach had not done much of it, but he had kicked before. In his only season as Osbourn Park’s chief place-kicker, Beach earned all-Cedar Run District and Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger All-Area honors in 2001 after going 5-for-5 in field-goal attempts and going 17 for 19 in extra-point attempts.
Still, Beach preferred catching the ball rather than kicking it and planned on doing more of the same at Bridgewater. He was recruited as an athlete, but he was initially targeted as a wide out.
For now, though, Beach has no complaints. He’s playing and that’s all that matters.
“Wide receiver is my favorite position, but kicking took over,” Beach said. “And it was my fastest may on to the field.”
Devin Thornton (Manassas Park ’01) caught a 15-yard pass, his first of the season, Saturday in the Eagles’ 38-7 win over Hampden-Sydney. A back-up tight end, Thornton has played in four games.
Freshman defensive tackle Chuck Brown (Colonial Forge ’02) is seeing more playing time now that he’s filling in for Lawrence Frierson (North Stafford ’01), who has missed the last two games with an injured ankle. Brown has 4.5 tackles.
Steward White (Gar-Field ’00), a starter in the secondary for the Eagles, made his first interception of the season against Hampden-Sydney. For the season, White has made 11.5 tackles and has three pass break-ups.
Nate Ilaoa (North Stafford ’01) is out for the next four weeks after dislocating his right shoulder during Hawaii’s 58-31 loss last Saturday to Boise State.
Three local players, Becca Hoffman (Osbourn Park ’00), Erin Cozza (Gar-Field ’02) and Rachel Heberer (Woodbridge ’02), have seen playing time for Radford’s surging women’s team.
The Highlanders are off to their second-best start in school history after beating Birmingham Southern 3-1 Monday to improve to 8-1. It was the sixth straight win for Radford.
Heberer, a freshman defender who had an assist in that game for her first point of the season, has played in all nine games and made seven starts.
Cozza, a freshman defender, has started all nine games, while Hoffman, a junior midfielder-defender, who transferred from Tulane, has started seven games and recorded two assists.
Casey Frazier (Woodbridge ’00) finished eighth last weekend to help Virginia Tech’s men’s team take second at the Blue Ridge Open in Boone, N.C.
Kelly Brown (Gar-Field ’02) has hit .535 with two doubles and seven runs batted in two tournaments for Virginia Tech. The Hokies won the 2002 Hokie Fall Ball Title last weekend after going 5-0 in its games.
David Fawcett’s They’re In College Now column appears Fridays in the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger. Reach him at (703) 878-8052 or at [email protected]