SPOKANE, Wash. -- Austin Rehkow approached his coach with a simple message.
“I want a shot at it,” Spokane Valley (Wash.) Central Valley’s senior kicker said. “I can make it.”
The Bears trailed Spokane (Wash.) Shadle Park by three points with several seconds left. Coach Rick Giampietri had two choices: Heave a Hail Mary or attempt a 67-yard field goal -- a separate sort of Hail Mary.
Rehkow knew he could make the kick. He asked for a chance. He knocked it through the uprights as time expired. He forced overtime, helping Central Valley pull out a wild, 62-55, victory.
“I knew we needed it for the tie,” Rehkow said. “I felt confident in my leg strength. I went out there, you get that extra adrenaline going and then I let it rip. Luckily it stayed through the uprights. Once I saw the arms go up, it was just an overwhelming feeling of joy.”
After celebrating the win with his teammates, Rehkow admitted he had attempted a few field goals from 67 yards at practice earlier this week with the wind behind him.
“I didn’t make any of those,” he said. “So, to be able to do that in a game, it’s just a great feeling.”
Before that kick, Rehkow was 8-for-15 on the season. His previous personal best was from 56 yards.
Rehkow set the state record, which was held by Kelly Imhoff, who made a 62-yard kick in 1929 for Kent (Wash.). According to the National Federation of High Schools Record Book, the national record is held by Dirk Borgognone of Reno (Nev.), who made a 68-yard field goal in 1985.
Rehkow took the field Thursday with a partial scholarship offer from Eastern Washington. After his kick made national news, though, expect that interest to pick up.
“Hopefully it does,” Rehkow said. “I’m going to keep my options open and, hopefully, some offers arrive. I’m grateful for the one Eastern has proposed. Hopefully we get some more coming in here. I couldn’t have done it without a great team putting me in the position. The line gave me enough time. Good snap. Good hold.”
Late in the fourth quarter, with Central Valley and Shadle Park trading touchdowns, Rehkow saw the three-point differential. He looked over to a friend on the sideline and said, “We’re going to get a field goal.”
He proved prophetic.
After Shadle Park scored with 21 seconds to play, the Bears got one last shot to come up with something creative. They tried a hook-and-ladder and then turned the game over to Rehkow.
He made the kick that landed him in the national spotlight -- No. 2 on SportsCenter’s Top 10.
“It’s just a real humbling experience to hold the record now and put that one through,” he said.