Football: MV's Koontz getting national exposure at kicking camp

Carroll County Times

Dayne Koontz didn’t begin playing football until his freshman year at Manchester Valley.

With his soccer roots, however, it didn’t take long to transition into a special teams weapon for the Mavericks. And what began as a new exposure has quickly opened up a new opportunity.

“Over the summer … going into his freshman year, we’d be out about and around,” said Bernie Koontz, Dayne’s father. “He … put a ball on the tee and kicked it, and kind of inherited [it].”

Dayne Koontz is seeing results in a big way — the senior taking part in the Kornblue Kicking Pro Football Hall of Fame All American Football Camp on Thursday in Canton, Ohio.

The camp, founded by former Michigan University kicker Brandon Kornblue, hosts 50 of the country’s top high school specialists (kickers, punters, and long snappers) on an invite-only basis Koontz said he was lucky enough to be one of the attendees, among the many vying for a limited spot.

“It was pretty cool,” he said. “Not many people get invited to things like this.”

At 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Koontz strikes an athletic pose as a high school kicker. He has eight field goals in three seasons with only three misses, and he’s 45-for-49 on extra points.

As Man Valley’s punter last fall, Koontz averaged 30 net yards per kick and collected 11 touchbacks before earning Times all-county first-team honors. Koontz made the almost six-hour road trip to Canton for the one-day camp with his father, the new football coach for the Mavericks.

Bernie Koontz said his son has spent extensive time working with Desi Cullen, a former four-year starting specialist at University of Connecticut who spent the 2010 minicamp with the Chicago Bears.

The role of a specialist is unlike any other position in the sport of football. It centers around a central role and pressure situations are more common than not.

But Dayne Koontz said he isn’t easily phased by them. In fact, he thrives.

“Yeah, I enjoy them,” he said. They don’t bother me at all.”

“It’s just [doing] the same thing every time,” he added. “Not any different, no matter what it is.”

Koontz has earned four all-county selections as a kicker and a punter, and said he enjoys kicking the best. He’s currently getting Division II and Division III looks, but said the goal is to eventually reach the D-I level.

Kornblue’s camp includes morning and afternoon field sessions followed by player evaluations. Participants get to practice at top-of-the-line facilities at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, which features five turf-length fields. Following the conclusion of camp activities, the staff will select the top specialists of the day and award them in an All-American presentation (first team, second team, honorable mention).

While time is limited. Koontz noted the importance of developing relationships with other specialists, something he’s looking forward to doing.

“You have to realize what’s realistic for you,” he said. “There are some of those guys that can go play D-I and there’s others that … can just go play small D-I and that’s just good for them. You have to be good friends with them and just support them in what they’re doing.”

Bernie Koontz said his son plans to attend four or five more college kicking camps before the 2019 football season. Dayne Koontz said he hopes to continue to improve his craft moving forward.

“Right now it’s just trying to kick farther, higher,” he said. “To be a little bit better. Everything is there … it can always be better.”

jschiller@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/JoeSchiller123

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