Athlete of the Week: Sharks get a kick out of Ouverson

sjfoot-ouversonSt. James High senior placekicker/punter Charles Ouverson’s school-record field goal will be remembered for more than just the distance. The 52-yarder is also a big reason the Sharks are still practicing for a first-round playoff game.

Ouverson broke his own school mark of 48 with the big boot in St. James’ 16-14 victory over Lake City in the season finale. Although the kick wasn’t a buzzer-beating game-winner, it proved the difference in securing the Sharks’ first-ever winning season (6-4) and a rare playoff berth. Ouverson remembers the field goal like it was yesterday.

“We were down 6-0 and we had a drive stall around the 36,” recalled Ouverson, the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week and Region 7-3A Specialist of the Year. “Coach called for a field goal but time was running down on the play clock so he called a timeout, gathered us around and said, “You know you can make this. You do it in practice all the time. Just do what you do.’ I got a great snap and hold, the line blocked well and I got off a good shot. It was a great moment.”

Ouverson is finally experiencing his share of great moments after the two-sport star missed most of his high school soccer and football career due to two torn ACL injuries he suffered in his left knee on his plant leg. His first season back in soccer saw the Sharks make an amazing playoff run on the road to reach the Class 3A state championship match. He hopes to go out with a similar memorable finish to his high school football career before going off to play college ball.

“I started playing soccer when I was 4 so it’s my first love, but I really enjoy playing football and I’m looking at some schools for academics first,” said Ouverson, who is taking an official visit to Coastal Carolina on Saturday. “The last soccer season was one of the best things I’ve experienced in my life. We knew when we were in middle school and playing travel soccer that we would have a good team, but I got hurt and some guys went to play academy. It finally came together.”

Ouverson hopes his football career ends in similar successful fashion. He has seen three difference head coaches during his tenure, and second-year coach Robby Brown has the Sharks heading in the right direction. They travel to state power Marlboro County on Friday for the first round, and Ouverson only hopes he gets another shot to beat his own record and deliver St. James its first playoff win in school history.

“That’s every kicker’s dream,” Ouverson said of a potential long game-winning kick in the clutch. “But I just want the team to do well and help any way that I can. Coach Brown is a great man and a great coach and he cares about the players. He has really brought our team close together.”

It seems the St. James football program is in good hands, and at least for the rest of the season, an even better foot.

Photo by Prep Stars Media

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