Standish ready to make his mark
The Barlow kicker prepares to walk on at Oregon State in the fall
Barlow senior Zach Standish caught the attention of everyone in the stadium last fall when he trotted onto the field at Westview High and booted a 50-yard field goal one of four made kicks during the Bruins 14-0 win in the season opener.
As soon as I kicked it I started jumping up and down Wow, that was a 50-yarder, Standish says. As a kicker you know right away if you made it or not.
Now, he hopes to grab the attention of one man Oregon State football coach Mike Riley.
Standish grew up a soccer player, but limited playing time in high school left him looking for other after-school options. At first he chased the cross-country trails, but after a summer of running, he switched gears to football a week before his sophomore year. He used that first season to figure out the sport, swinging between the javee and varsity but became a reliable scoring option by his second season. Prior to his senior season, Standish went all in.
Standish toured a series of college summer camps from Colorado to Tulane and was also invited to Chris Sailers elite top-12 kicking clinic in Las Vegas. It was the type of fine-tuning he needed to make those dreams of 50-yarders a reality. When he wasnt travelling, Standish was in the weight room boosting his leg strength. He has also hired on a kicking coach in Dan Frantz a former kicker at Portland State and in the Arena League.
I wanted to make sure I had a couple extra yards than the other guys out there, and I saw all that work pay off in our first game, Standish said. It takes a lot of kicking to become efficient you cant get enough time out on the field.
Anytime the Barlow offense crossed midfield Standish would start his routine a couple of warm-ups swings before booting one into the net. Then it was off to stand next to head coach Terry Summerfield in case his number was called.
Standish put in a stellar senior season, going a perfect 22-for-22 on extra points and knocking through 10 of 16 (.625) on field goal tries. He was also a weapon on kickoffs one of the few high school kickers who could consistently land the ball in the end zone killing any chance of a return.
Despite his success, there was a moment of failure a spot of regret from which he is determined to learn.
His Barlow teammates had just connected on a series of big plays to put the ball inside the 5-yard line. Time enough for one more play, so they sent in Standish for what amounted to an extra-point attempt to win the game. Coaches and players along the Centennial sideline had resigned themselves to a loss. But then something strange happened. Standish missed. The ball sailed well wide of the goal post. He was crushed.
Its a kick I could make with my eyes closed. It came down to me at the end and I let the pressure get to me, he says. It was a terrible feeling. I remember going home incredibly disappointed and humbled. Its something Ill reach back on if I face that spot in another game-winner situation. I dont want to experience that feeling again.
But his reputation wasnt spoiled by that one kick. His teammates and his coaches kept their trust in him and more field goals would be made as the season progressed.
Im pretty hard on myself, but everyone else was very forgiving and supportive, Standish says.
He is hopeful those extra chances will come at Oregon State where he plans to enroll in the fall while walking on with the football program. The plan for now is to greyshirt his rookie season, working out on his own through the winter before joining the team for spring ball in 2015.
He was also considering walk-on opportunities at Boise State and Washington State, but chose Corvallis due in part to Oregon States engineering program. The Beavers had four kickers on the roster in the fall with junior Trevor Romaine carrying the bulk of the load, going 14 for 20 on field goals 3-for-7 from beyond 40 yards.
Its a daunting challenge, but I trust their coaches confidence that I belong there, and when the time is right Ill be ready to perform at a high level, Standish says.