HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The quarterback usually gets the most attention in football without a lot of focus on special teams. On Friday, Sept. 27, Holland Christian High School’s special teams field goal unit was front-and-center for a moment the Maroons won’t soon forget.
Other high school teams are lucky to have a player who can make an extra point. At Holland Christian, an extra point is like a layup on the basketball court after what kicker John Keizer did. He made a 52-yard field goal — a school record.
“The coach grabbed me and threw me out there and said, ‘have fun!’ I was nervous though, bouncing a little bit trying to get the nerves out, breathing, trying to slow my heart rate down,” Keizer said of going into that play.
He already had a record from the first game of the season when he made a 41-yard field goal.
His head coach Chris Kuiper says it just made sense to send him out to try for an even longer kick.
“It was a strategic thing in terms of we think this has a chance to go in. This has the best chance to make it and then take the lead,” he said.
Keizer’s teammate, Gabe DeBoer, was an important part of the play too. He’s the holder and knew this was a literal longshot.
“We go out there. I went down on one knee and looked and I’m like man, that’s really far,” he explained.
Christian Conklin was another piece of the puzzle as the snapper.
“I was like thank you, thank you. Because it went to Gabe and he was able to get a really good hold on it,” said Conklin.
Then came the kick that everyone has been talking about since.
“You could tell from the thud; you could hear when he hit it. It was shot right out of a cannon and I think it would’ve been good even from the 57 (yard line),” said Kuipers.
The stadium was silent. Everyone holding their breath until the ball sailed through the goal posts.
“I was like no way! Then it went through, and I was so happy. Everyone came out from the sidelines and bombarded me,” Keizer said.
The real kicker of this story is the fact that Keizer, a senior, only started playing last year. He was on the soccer team before that but may have just kicked his way into the Maroons’ football record books for good.