Nick Lowery, a product of Washington's St. Albans School -- a most unlikely lauching ground for a pro football player -- has cleared a big hurdle with the Kansas City Chiefs in his fourth try to make it as a place-kicker with a National Football League club.

Lowery had beaten out Jan Stenerud, one of the big names at the specialty.

Next came the challenge of performing in regular-season competition in opening game Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

As a spokesman for the Chiefs said, "Now the pressure is on Nick. Now he must make the pressure kick."

Lowery made bvoth his extra-point tries as the Chiefs went down to defeat, 27-14. He had connected on three of four field-goal attempts in the exhibition games, making good from 20,33 and 42 yards and missing from 54.

Coarch Marv Levy, onetime special team coach for the Redskins under George Allen, settled on Lowery from among three candidates for the job. Jose Guzman, who had a tryout last year with the Los Angeles Rams, was the first to be cut. Stenerud was dropped without trying a field goal in the exhibitions.

"Marv was impressed by Nick's high and deep kickoffs," the staff man said. "He remarked that Nick has a very strong leg. He knew about him, and so did Ron Walker (former University of Maryland and Ram back who now is the pro personnel director for the Chiefs) and Don Lawrence, our kicking team coach (and onetime Redskin lineman and former University of Virginia head coach).

"Age became a big factor along with Lowery's leg drive, " the spokesman continued.

Lowery was 24 in May. Stenerud will be 37 in November. Lowery began place-kicking at St. Albans and went on to Dartmouth. He tried out with the New England Patriots and the New York Jets before the Redskins has a look at him last year. He is unusually rangy for a place-kicker at 6 feet 4 and 190 pounds.

stenerud was a No. 3 draft choice from Montana State with 13 years experience who was denied a chance to have played in three decades by Levy's decision to go with Lowery. His 64-point production in 1979 was the second lowest of his career. He made good on 12 of 23 field-goal attempts three of his misses were blocked. Yet, his fieldgoal accuracy stands at .640, successful on 279 of 436 attempts.