After playing soccer in the sixth grade, David Behrmann developed an interest in kicking a football. He pursued that interest with more than casual intent and the hard work has paid off.
As a Springbrook High School junior last year, Behrmann converted seven field goals and 23 of 24 extra points, serving as a key figure in the Blue Devils' 8-2 season. That earned him first-team All-Metropolitan honors.
"It meant a great deal to me," he said. "Around here, there are a lot more good kickers than you'll see in other areas of the country. And to be named the best of everyone in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. is quite an honor."
Among his achievements were a field goal that beat Seneca Valley, 10-7, with 30 seconds to play; two field goals that forced an overtime in a loss to Churchill, and a 39-yard kick with three seconds left in the first half against Gaithersburg that began a Blue Devils rally from a 14-0 deficit.
Said his coach, Bob Malloy, "Let's put it this way: he was probably the difference between an 8-2 season and 6-4.
"As a coach, he's the kind of security blanket you like to have. If our offense stalls around the 30-yard line, I won't hesitate to go to him. If the wind is right, I might let him kick from the 35; he's made a 52-yarder in practice."
This season, Behrmann is kicking well again, but the Blue Devils' offense has not needed to depend on him as much because it has had an easier time getting into the end zone. He has kicked five of seven field goals and 13 of 15 extra points for Springbrook, which is currently ranked third in the area with a 6-0 record. His two misses were from 47 and 49 yards -- one hit the crossbar and one had the distance but was wide right.
"He probably could have had about 10 kicks already this season," Malloy said, "but we've had a lot of opportunities late in the game and if we're way ahead, I'm not going to run the score up. I'll punt, instead."
"I just want to do what I can for the team," he said. "Sure, I've thought at times about kicking a game-winning field goal in an important game. I like those kind of challenges. I feel I do better under pressure. But I have to contribute any way I can. I caught a touchdown pass in one game (he doubles as a split end) and I have to kick off. The team is really the most important thing."
For Malloy and the Blue Devils, the acquisition of Behrmann before last season was a stroke of luck. As a sophomore, he attended DeMatha and had impressed the coaches enough as a junior varisty kicker to be moved up to the varsity. But when the Stags won 12 games that year, he didn't kick a field goal.
That didn't necessarily affect his choice to transfer. He switched mostly because his father was Springbrook's athletic director and the family had bought a home within a few blocks of the school. It was equally convenient that he knew Malloy well, since Malloy had coached under his father at DeMatha and was hired as Springbrook's coach when the senior Behrmann left for his new job.
"I knew him even before he was born," Malloy said. "He was a welcome addition."
With his record, Behrmann has caught the eye of several college coaches, both from Division I-A and smaller schools. That means he has to make a choice when the season is over. With his size (5 feet 11, 170 pounds), he would likely be exclusively a kicker at a bigger school. At a smaller school, he could play the dual role he has in high school, which in many ways appeals to him. Mainly, however, he says he's going to go where he can get an education.
Behrmann is well aware of the demands put on the placekicker. The actual kick may take as few as four seconds, but the process calls for extreme concentration.
So Behrmann has dedicated himself to what he does best. He has attended camps and practiced extensively in the off-season. Already, he has seen the rewards.