Tyler Pack doesn’t even have a license to drive, but he's got a license to kick.
Good thing there’s no minimum-age requirement to drilling 60-yard field goals.
Very few can do what Johnson Central’s sophomore first-year place kicker can do. In fact, nobody in the history of Kentucky high school football had tackled the feat he achieved on Friday night.
At 6-foot-4, Pack stands tall and alone in the KHSAA record book. The 230-pounder smacked the football 60 yards through the uprights to give the Golden Eagles a 48-0 lead over Greenup County in the second half.
“It really is amazing to watch him kick,” said Johnson Central coach Jim Matney. “He’s got a very explosive leg. The ball sounds like it explodes when he hits it sometimes. Maybe the best part is, he’s just a very fine young man. You like to see people like that do great things.”
Pack had tied the record, previously held by former Raceland star Aaron Pettrey, earlier this season with a 58-yarder.
Here’s how it all went down on Friday:
Johnson Central executed a fair catch after a Greenup County punt at 50-yard line. Utilizing a rarely used rule, Johnson Central elected to try a fair catch kick, one that allows a player to place kick or drop kick from that spot. If the ball sails through the uprights, it’s three points.
So Pack, who earlier misfired on a 62-yard regular field goal attempt, teed it up and blasted it through, the ball grazing the right upright as it passed through.
Matney is quick to dole out statistics to those who think a fair catch kick (or free kick) is simple.
“There’s been 27 kicks in the NFL, 22 regular season and five preseason,” Matney said. “Only five have ever been made. The longest was 52 yards by Paul Hornung. So to some who say, ‘Well that’s easy, there’s no rush, no this, no that,’ it’s been successful only five in 27 attempts in the pros.”
Matney said he trotted his kicker out for the record-setting attempt to help benefit the player.
“Any time we try anything like that, or let any kid try to break a record, it's all about scholarships,” Matney said. “Every record does not mean a scholarship, but it gives the kid a better chance for a possible college career.”
Former Johnson Central running back J.J. Jude also holds state records, including most career rushing yards.
For Pack, big moments must be a family thing. In 2008, Pack’s stepbrother, Corey Spencer, won a state championship in wrestling by beating Travis Sullivan, who had never lost a match in his career until that final one against Spencer his senior year.
Pack only played soccer last season. This fall, he’s the full-time goalkeeper for the soccer Golden Eagles and a part-time place kicker for the football team.
Kicking 60-yarders? Not too bad for a part-time gig.
Got Any "Since?"
‰The Raceland-Fairview game hasn’t carried this much importance since … last season. Too easy? Well, my point is this game is going to be equally as impactful every fall as long as the current district alignment and playoff system remain intact. The winner of this Friday night’s showdown at Raceland will put itself in position to host the other in the regional finals of the postseason, should both teams advance that far.
‰Raceland hasn’t beaten Fairview since … 2009. The Eagles have never won four straight in the series, which the Rams lead 31-11 overall.
‰Raceland hasn’t produced a 100-yard rusher against Fairview since … 2008. John Scott Carver (218 yards) and Brett Denton (101) both eclipsed the century mark during the team’s postseason meeting five years ago, but since then, only one Ram has carried for more than 80 yards in the rivalry series.
Last year’s leading rusher in the matchup was Zack Litteral, who had 83 yards. Litteral is out for the season with a broken leg, according to Raceland’s team doctor, but is expected to make a full recovery for the track season. He had just returned from a torn labrum.
Four stickers: Tyler Pack (Johnson Central), Isaac Lee (Rowan County), Quinton Baker (Ashland), Connor Messer (Raceland).
If you haven’t been daydreaming all throughout the opening of the QB’s column, you know by now what Pack did on Friday. Remember, he’s just a sophomore folks!
Lee punished Boyd County tacklers for giving him any room to maneuver. The elusive senior, who is also quite the track standout, picked up 280 rushing yards.
Baker helped Ashland quickly erase an 8-0 deficit, accounting for four of Ashland’s seven touchdowns in a 50-8 rout of Sheldon Clark. The sophomore tallied 249 yards on just nine carries.
Messer, yes, was playing against some poor competition on Friday, but he belongs here regardless. The do-it-all junior — “do-it-all” is the best way to describe him — hauled in three passes for 128 yards, all for touchdowns. He also rushed for one in Raceland’s waxing of Nicholas County.
Three: Rowan County offensive line, Armonde Yetts (Fairview).
Two: Tanner Dolen (Fairview), Isaac Weddington (Lewis County), Kurtlen Brown (Fairview), Adam Elkins (Raceland), Zach Walker (West Carter).
One: Nick Conley (Russell), Chase Parker (Lewis County), Braden Brown (West Carter), Jordan McCann (Lewis County).
1. Johnson Central (7-0)
2. Fairview (7-0)
3. Ashland (6-2)
4. Lawrence County (6-2)
5. Raceland (5-2)
6. Russell (4-3)
7. Lewis County (5-2)
Did you miss it? The following are area scores from this past weekend: Ashland 50, Sheldon Clark 8; Rowan County 40, Boyd County 12; Mason County 28, Russell 6; Johnson Central 54, Greenup County 0; Fairview 44, Paintsville 7; Raceland 51, Nicholas County 8; Pike County Central 26, Lawrence County 20; St. Charles 38, Ironton 14; Lewis County 41, East Carter 23; Fleming County 29, West Carter 22.
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AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.