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Rehkow named Chris Sailer Award finalist

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

By Eric Wade

Nevada Daily Mail

The grandson of a local couple has found himself in the national spotlight for the second time in what has become a very eventful senior year.

On Oct. 18, the formerly unknown at the national level high school place kicker, Austin Rehkow, from Spokane, Wash., made a name for himself with a state record 67-yard field goal in a game between Central Valley -- the school Rehkow attends and for which he plays football and basketball -- and Shadle Park High School. The kick tied the game at 55 and Central Valley went on to win, 62-55, in overtime.

It was the third longest field goal ever kicked in a high school game anywhere in the United States. The former state record had stood untouched for 83 years prior to that now-famous kick.

Austin's father, Freddy Jr., played football at Nevada High School under Larry Testman and Austin's grandparents, Fred Sr., and Shirley, still live in Nevada. Upon hearing of Austin's feat, his grandfather was elated. "I've just been ecstatic," Fred Sr. said of the record-breaking kick and the accolades that came with it.

"His little town of Spokane, Wash., was calling him the deadliest weapon in that high school," he added the day after the kick.

Since accomplishing the feat, Austin has found himself not only on ESPN, but also garnering attention from the Today Show and CNN. "I talked to his mother just a little bit ago and he's been swamped," the elder Rekhow said in a telephone interview with the Daily Mail on Oct. 19.

Before kicking the state-record field goal, Rehkow had already gotten a lot of attention from college football programs, but he's getting a lot more now. "His dad said it was kind of funny," Fred said. "He got a bonafide offer from Eastern Washington three days ago."

The record boot was just one of 20 field goals Austin made this year, which is another state record. He also has thrown and caught a touchdown pass this season, as well as returning an interception to the opponent's 1-yard line in a game earlier in the season, his grandfather told the Herald-Tribune at the time.

"He's been all around this year. I'm very proud of him," the eldest Rehkow said.

Among the schools interested in Rehkow since his state-record kick are Stanford, Oregon and several others. As a place kicker, Rehkow has made a habit of making 50-plus yard field goals, as well as only having one kickoff that didn't reach the end zone all season.

Colleges are likely to start looking at Austin as a potential recruit even harder with his latest accomplishment. On Nov. 23, the Herbalife selection committee announced that he is among three finalists for the Chris Sailer Award.

The award is part of the Herbalife National High School Football Awards and will be presented to the nation's top high school place kicker on an annual basis. The first winner of the award was Westlake High School (Calif.) kicker Alex Ball in 2011.

Chris Sailer played high school football for Notre Dame Sherman Oaks High School in California from 1992-1994. In 1994, he set the then-all-time national high school record for field goals made in a season with 22.

That record still stood until 2011 when Cole Hedlund kicked 25. Seven of Sailer's 22 field goals that season came from 50 or more yards, including a long of 58.

He helped his team to a CIF championship along the way. His illustrious high school career landed him a full athletic scholarship at the University of California-Los Angeles, where he went on to become a two-time All-American.

The National High School Placekicker of the Year is named in honor of Sailer for his outstanding high school career and his continued role in the development of young athletes.

He is now the most prominent private kicking and punting coach in America. He trains and mentors hundreds of high school, college, and professional specialists giving back to the sport and shaping the lives of aspiring athletes.

Rehkow and his fellow finalists, Gio Davis and Wyatt Schmidt, will be flown to Los Angeles, Calif., for a weekend of festivities that will include paid transportation, hotel stay, complimentary dinner, Herbalife 24 education and the awards banquet dinner on Dec. 7-9. Each finalist will be permitted to bring one family member at no extra cost.

The winner of this year's award will be announced during the awards banquet that is to be held at L.A. Live on Dec. 8.

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