Athlete of the Week: Buis sinks foot, soul into football

nmbfoot-christian buis punts (2)Christian Buis came to North Myrtle Beach High as a soccer player who also played football, but he will leave as a football player.

However you want to define him, the senior placekicker and punter is the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week and he has been a key component in turning the Chiefs’ football program around.

“I had always played soccer. I had never really kicked a football until I went out for it my ninth-grade year,” recalled Buis, who has not missed a field goal or a PAT this season. “The coach showed me some drills and pretty soon I was making it from 40 yards. I guess it was because of soccer but it came pretty naturally to me.”

Buis’ transformation on the gridiron coincides with the Chiefs’ turnaround. He joined the squad in the midst of the program’s 22-game losing streak, and has had a big hand – and foot – in helping turn the Chiefs into a winner. He hopes to build on the team’s 9-3 record and playoff run last season.

“It’s really cool to go from being 0-22 to going to the second round of the playoffs,” recalled Buis, who booted a 41-yard field goal in the Chiefs’ long-awaited playoff win over Orangeburg-Wilkinson. “It’s great to be a part of that. … I like being in a (pressure) position because I know my teammates have confidence in me to make it.”

Despite his eagerness to help the team, Buis found himself sitting on the sidelines for the first two games due to a bizarre SCHSL rule. Buis received a red card in the final soccer game of the season last spring and was forced to sit out a two-game suspension in a different sport. He returned to kick a perfect 4-for-4 field goals in a 26-13 win over West Brunswick.

“I was pretty bummed about it because I was really looking forward to my senior season, but I had more motivation to go out and do my best,” Buis said. “I’ve decided not to play soccer this year so I can focus on football and trying to get a scholarship. They’re really hard to get in soccer, and I really like the football environment.”

Buis hopes to earn a scholarship offer from Coastal Carolina so he can stay close to home. He attended the Chants’ kicking camp this summer and finished second among all campers in field goal competition. But first he has some unfinished business in helping the Chiefs finish up strong in his senior season.

“I feel like we’re heading in the right direction because of our coach (first-year coach Blair Hardin) and the players believe in what we’re doing,” Buis said. “We had a slow start but we’ve played some tough teams and that will definitely help us in the region. We’re just going to take them one game at a time and try to get better every week.”

Spoken like a true football player.

Photo by Louis E. Keiner

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