Harrisburg kicks off to 2-0 start

Monday, September 9, 2013 | 11:33 p.m. CDT; updated 6:30 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The Harrisburg Bulldogs defeated the Salisbury High School Panthers 28-14 during Monday's football game. It was the second game for Harrisburg's new program.

HARRISBURG — At 6-2 and 280 pounds, you wouldn't expect Cody Adams to play kicker. But that's exactly what he does.

In addition to playing center and nose guard, Adams leads the Bulldogs' kickoff. His No. 55 jersey stretches across his torso as he raises his left arm, readying his team. When his arm comes down, he strides toward the ball, moving his massive frame in a beeline toward the ball, taking three long strides and then connecting with the pigskin.

The pigskin must have been one sore piece of pork Monday. The Bulldogs scored four touchdowns in their 28-14 junior varsity win over Salisbury High School, meaning that Adams recorded five kickoffs on the evening.

The kicks aren't always beautiful, but they are usually effective.

But as coach Travis Kinkade said, "He hasn't muffed one yet or kicked it out of bounds."

"Ever since little ball, I was always kicker — I just like kicking," Adams said. "I have pretty bad technique, I'm not gonna lie. I just go straight toe from behind. I mean, I'm not very agile as big as I am. It works."

While Adams is his own worst critic, team manager Emma Callahan, 16, said he should take it easy on himself.

"Every time I say, 'Good kick.' He's like, 'Well I don't think that one was very good.' But compared to how I could kick it, it's pretty dang good," Callahan said.

Like Callahan, Caitlin Atkins, a Harrisburg senior who was photographing the game for her multimedia class, is complimentary of Adams' kicking.

"He just, like, kicks it so fast and so quick for his size that you don't get very good shots," she said, explaining how it was hard to get a good picture of Adams kicking off.

"When you see, like, bigger boys, you think they're blockers or protecting their quarterback," Atkins said. "You don't see 'em kicking a football across the field. They're built differently, guys who usually kick."

Adams is built differently, but his mother, Lesa Adams, points out that he's always enjoyed kicking.

"It's cool that he can get out there and do that. I think it surprises people, maybe a little intimidating," Lesa Adams said, adding that Cody was probably more intimidating when he was on the offensive or defensive line.

Lesa Adams said that Cody began working on kicking field goals as a third-grader playing little league football. When he heard Harrisburg was getting a team, he began practicing his kicking again.

At tryouts, he was "a given" for the offensive and defensive lines, Lesa Adams said, but he wanted to kick, too. After the tryouts, Cody felt confident.

"He said, 'Mom, I think I can still do this,'" Lesa Adams said.

He can still do it. His last kickoff of the night came on the heels of a 33-yard touchdown run by Drew Ewens.

"I was pumped, I wanted to get another win," Cody said about the booming kickoff that pinned Salisbury on their own 18-yard line. The crowd noticed Cody's effort and applauded the long kickoff.

Cody, though, says he's in the zone when he kicks off, and he can't hear anything, not even a fan who always yells "Atta boy!" on Cody's kickoffs.

"I'm glad to see the stands filled every game, everyone in the stands in red, loud and proud," Cody said.

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