By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photos courtesy of Dave Tweed
Sawyer Zook, senior and starting varsity kicker for the Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) Jaguars, continues to significantly contribute to the Jaguar score.
Zook scored more than half of the team’s total points in the season opener against Cherokee Trail High School. He had two field goals and the extra point. He also keeps breaking his own field goal record. Against Douglas County, Zook kicked his farthest field goal of 47 yards. The very next week, he successfully kicked a 48-yard field goal against Legend High School.
Soccer was Zook’s first sport. When his family moved from Tampa, Florida to The Village at Castle Pines, he played soccer for RCHS. Kicking the soccer ball down the field, he played defense as the right back for the Jaguars.
In the spring of Zook’s sophomore year, he heard that the football team was looking for a kicker and he sought out Coach Brian Tinker to find out how he could try out. Zook made the team. While kicking a soccer ball down field is great preparation for kicking, he needed to transition to football. Zook spent his summer preparing. He attended the annual Nate Ekhoff Kicking Camp held at Echo Park Stadium. He also credits hours of watching YouTube videos of successful college kickers in helping him get his rhythm and sequence down for kicking the football.
Zook immediately loved the atmosphere and challenges of training with the football team. He said he had never really lifted weights before and it was exciting to be in the weight room working toward a goal. He also loved the games. In soccer, Zook said there were never full stands, just a handful of parents. Now, as a varsity football player, Zook is pleased to see the stands full with RCHS fans.
Graduating in May, Zook has prospects to continue playing football. He’s been getting scholarship offers from colleges. He isn’t certain what he would like to study in college. He does know though that he wants to work with his hands and mentioned wildlife management, agriculture and sports management as disciplines that are of interest. Zook also said that a small town feel and a good fit with the coaching staff are also critical in his decision.
For now, Zook wants to keep pursuing the goals he set out for himself, to make every point after a touchdown and keep kicking touchbacks.