Not perfect, but maybe the best overall
By Steve Williams
Owen Taylor is not perfect. He missed an extra-point kick this season.
He may not be as good as those Colquitt punters, either.
But when you combine the kick and punt skills, there may not be a better kicker / punter that has played high school football in Knox County.
This year for sure there wasn’t a better one across the Volunteer State and the Halls High senior was announced last week as the Tennessee Titans’ Mr. Football Kicker of the Year.
The award also required having good academics and character. According to Halls Coach Brent Hughes, Owen checked off those boxes, too.
“Owen was a tremendous player for us,” said Hughes. “He is a terrific young man that has all the ability in the world. He was so important to our team and got us in so many better situations as it pertains to the game, I just can’t say enough about his ability. More importantly, he is a great kid and will make a difference in this world and go on to be a great husband and father one day. I love him and it is an honor to be his coach.”
The 5-10, 155-pound Taylor played soccer his first two years in high school and joined the football team halfway through his sophomore year, Hughes pointed out, so his experience as a kicker and punter is just budding. He added that Owen has a 4.0 GPA and does a lot of community service.
Taylor’s statistics overall are as good as a punt that is downed at the 1-yard line.
Six out of nine of his onside kicks were recovered by the Red Devils. That’s a surprisingly high rate of success.
Owen may have missed one PAT, but he was 10 for 10 in field goals.
His other regular season stats included a 45.1-yard average on 27 punts, with his longest being 63 yards.
Kicking-wise, 29 of his kickoffs were touchbacks. His longest FG was 49 yards.
In addition to that one missed extra-point kick, he had one blocked, so he finished 40 for 42.
Counting PATs and FGs, he totaled 70 points.
“Owen had a special experience in Nashville,” said Coach Hughes. “We all really didn’t know what to think, didn’t know if he was going to win, but it was all a first-class experience and he was just so excited to represent his team, school, community, and his family.
“He is still listening to several schools, but he wants to go to aviation school if possible,” added Hughes. “He is going to have the opportunity to continue his career and I can’t wait to see him take the next step as a football player.”
Halls’ Ian O’Connor received the TSSAA Mr. Kicker award in 2002 and went on to play at Marshall University.