How about . . . Stonewall Jackson senior kicker Zach Hudak?

In a 44-23 home win over George Washington-Danville in the Virginia AAA Northwestern Region Division 6 semifinals Friday night, the Raiders' first playoff appearance since 1996, Hudak delivered two high and short pooch kickoffs that the Eagles could not cleanly handle.

Stonewall senior Damola Ladipo recovered one and senior Deane Richardson the other. Both led to Stonewall touchdowns in the second half and helped the Raiders open a 37-16 lead and limit the Eagles to just five snaps in the third period.

"It killed us," GW-Danville Coach Dan Newell said of not covering the two kickoffs. "You go three and four drives in a row and you don't even get the ball. You can't win football games if you don't have the ball."

Stonewall Coach Loren Johnson, who played at Virginia Tech, a school traditionally known for its productive special teams, called for that style of kickoff four times based on how the Eagles were lined up to receive, and to avoid kicking to Eagles junior Haylen Murphy, who scored two of his team's touchdowns.

Hudak, a defender on the Raiders' soccer team, is playing his first year of football. Last year's place kicker, Robbie Curry, told Johnson about Hudak, and the coach arranged a meeting and encouraged Hudak to give football a try.

"I definitely regret not doing it sooner," said Hudak, who also has kicked three field goals and 30 extra points this season. He also punts for the Cedar Run District champions.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder has earned respect from his teammates not just for his kicking ability but for his willingness to mix it up with opposing players and make key tackles.

"He's the only kicker I know who wants to hit people" senior tight end-defensive end Chris Lancaster said.


Above, Stonewall Jackson's Zach Hudak kicks a field goal earlier this season. Friday night, Hudak had two pooch kickoffs that the Raiders recovered. At right, Chris Garrett eyes the end zone as he breaks free.Stonewall's Ryan Williams keeps both hands on the ball as GW-Danville's Cameron Martin tries to strip it. The Raiders last made the playoffs in 1996.