Issaquah, Skyline kickers help football teams boot competition

January 1, 2013

By John Leggett

Kickers are a strange and quirky bunch.

Often thriving on pressure and almost always being either the scapegoat or the hero, they sit comfortably by themselves during games, lost in their thoughts, while their teammates are passing, catching, running, blocking or tackling. No one wants to sit next to the kicker and jinx or disturb him.

Issaquah’s Alex Shane and Skyline’s Sean McDonald are familiar with one another’s work and can relate to one another’s craft, often being under the gun to kick from further distances than ever.

Sean McDonald

“When we were both attending Beaver Lake Middle School and running the speed events on the track team, we would always race one another, because we were the fastest guys on the squad,” McDonald said of his old running mate Shane. “We liked to push each other to run faster in the sprints.”

Alex Shane

McDonald and Shane, fast and productive forwards for their respective boys soccer squads, parted ways in high school. Shane said he was supposed to head to Skyline, but wound up attending Issaquah instead, with good reason.

“It was just about my freshman season that I became more and more interested in becoming a football kicker — you know, honing my craft in that direction a bit more — and I figured that going to Issaquah would afford me a lot more playing time to do so, than if I had gone to Skyline for obvious reasons,” Shane said with a smile. “I figured that Sean would quickly nail down the kicking duties there.”

They both aspire to maintain their 3.5 grade point averages just in case they move on to play at the collegiate level.

Shane said that playing sports has prepared him for the hurdles ahead, having taught him to get into the mindset of dealing with adversity, taking responsibility to be committed enough to finish what he has started, to take pride in what he has worked so hard to achieve.

Shane helped Issaquah go to the first round of the state tournament versus Federal Way, while McDonald was instrumental in Skyline claiming the 4A state championship crown.

Just before intermission against the Papermakers on Nov. 24, the Spartans lined up for a what would have been a 52-yard field goal attempt. One of the Camas defensive linemen, anxious to try to block the long kick, jumped offsides, which moved the planned kick 5 yards closer to the uprights.

“I was angry as hell about that guy going offsides, because I thought I was going to get the chance to break the school record I had set from 47 yards out,” McDonald said.

He didn’t have to wait long to get another crack at making history. Almost exactly a week to the day later, he was called upon to kick one from 49 yards out in the championship game against Bellarmine Prep on Dec. 1. It would have been good from 60 yards away, as it easily cleared the cross bar on its journey through the uprights.

While Shane hopes to eventually get into “the cool field” of sports marketing via a major in business, McDonald has fixed his gaze on a career in marine biology.

“The ocean is my favorite place to be,” said McDonald, adding that the sea can be dangerous. “Once when I was snorkeling in Hawaii, a rip tide dragged me far out to sea … I thought I was going to die that day.”

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