PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — West Linn won a state football championship last year and could certainly go back-to-back this season.
There are a lot of new starters on this year’s squad for the Lions, but something that hasn’t changed is the person putting the ball through the uprights.
And you could hear his name on a bigger stage soon enough.
“Seriously to hear those words, it was just a pure shock,” recalled kicker Gage Hurych.
Those words were, “We are offering you.”
And they came out of the mouth of Oregon special teams coach Joe Lorig earlier this summer.
“The feeling of really truly achieving that goal is something I don’t think I’ll ever experience again. It was a pure joy that I’ve never felt before,” said Hurych., who only got serious in earnest about kicking two years ago. “I had talked to a ton of other schools but, really, my whole goal was Oregon from day one.”
Before he switches out the green and gold for green and yellow, the #27 ranked kicker and #47 ranked punter in the country is certainly a weapon in head coach Jon Eagle’s scheme.
“Every coach will tell you, if you’ve got a guy who can kick it off in the endzone and put the other team on the 20 every possession that you kick off, that’s a great advantage,” said Eagle. “The fact that he can kick and give you three points and extra points and all that, it’s huge. It’s just one less thing you have to worry about as a coach.”
Unlike other kickers, Hurych doesn’t just play on special teams though. He also plays wide receiver and corner, but that’s just the kind of athlete he is.
“I knew he was a returning kicker,” said Eagle of the first time Hurych caught his eye when Eagle got the West Linn job two seasons ago. “I saw he posted a video of him dunking on his Twitter account and I go, ‘Well, that’s not every day you can see a kicker can dunk.’”
“During practice time, I struggle getting time in with playing offense and defense to kick. So then cramming kickoff, field goal, and punt in there is pretty difficult,” said Hurych. “It’s pretty cool to be able to do all of those.”
Sometimes though, he does wish he could do one thing more in the game.
His team is so good, he rarely gets to actually kick field goals.
“Obviously, I want them to score for my team, and it’s best for the team to score those six or seven points, but I definitely want those three points for sure, you know,” said Gage with a big smile.