Having played soccer since he was six years old, Mac Plummer only decided to give football a try last year when Annville-Cleona High School coach Matt Gingrich was in need of a kicker.
“We had a tryout where there was another kicker who came out with me,” Plummer said. “But he got injured. So I got the job by default.”
In a short amount of time, Plummer has turned into a stud kicker, evidenced in the season-opener when he drilled a 51-yard field goal at Milton Hershey. It set the new record for the longest field goal made by a Lancaster-Lebanon League kicker.
That record stood until last Friday, when Plummer broke his own mark with a 54-yard field goal on the grass at Annville-Cleona in a 45-35 win over Donegal.
To help put that in context, the 54-yarder is believed to have tied the second-longest field goal ever made by a kicker in District Three, alongside the 54-yarder made by Lower Dauphin’s Joey Julius in 2013. The District Three record belongs to Schuylkill Valley’s Darin Tranquillo, who hit a 57-yarder in 1998. The PIAA record is a 64-yarder made by Bishop Hoban’s Gerry McGroarty in 2003.
Anyways, Plummer on Friday accounted for a total of nine points by the end by going 6-for-6 on extra-point kicks, along with handling all of the kickoff and punting duties in the victory.
For his efforts, Plummer is LNP’s Week Eight Football Player of the Week, sponsored by Kegel's Produce
With junior QB Junior Bours as his place-holder, Plummer has made six field goals this season: 51, 28, 23, 46, 40 and 54 yards. He’s also averaging 57.2 yards on 49 kickoffs, 22 of them for touchbacks. And he’s punted 13 times for a 28-yard average, with a long of 42 yards, though it should be noted Plummer admitted this area is still a work in progress.
Here’s a Q&A conducted with the standout specialist at Monday’s practice…
Have you participated in any Kohl’s kicking camps yet? “I did get invited to their national showcase camp in Wisconsin (last summer). That was pretty cool. There was like 600 kickers there. I did pretty good on kickoffs. I didn’t punt there at all. And I won a field goal contest at a Kohl’s kicking event in Nashville. I hit a 58-yarder to win the competition.”
But the recruitment letters have not yet poured in? “No.”
What do you credit for learning how to become an effective kicker and punter? “Working with (assistant) coach (Terry Lehman) and also going to different camps, where they help you and show you different techniques.”
How do you juggle playing soccer and football team during the fall?
“Usually I text him (Terry Lehman) when my (soccer) practices and games are. We get out to the field and do about 20 minutes of kicking on the days before I have soccer practice. ...sometimes it’s tough. Last year I had a (soccer) game at Northern Lebanon and then we had an away (football) game at Pequea Valley. I got there (to the football game). But as soon as I got there I kicked off right away.”
What position do you play in soccer? “Striker.”
So is it automatic that you take the free kicks in a soccer game? “It’s not automatic. It’s either between me or my friend (Nick Malloy). We’ve been best friends since kindergarten.”
What were some of the struggles you initially faced as a first-time kicker/punter last season? “The techniques were different. So when I kick a football for the first time it was like a rocket and didn’t go far at all. Just a little squib kick. The techniques are different because in soccer you want to try to curve the ball and do fancy stuff. For football you just want to kick it.”
What’s the longest field goal you think you could hit? “Probably 60 yards.”
Time for some fun questions. ...let’s say you are in charge of the lunch menu at school for a day. What do you add or change? “Donuts. I like chocolate frosted donuts.”
You find a genie in a lamp and get three wishes. What are they? “World peace.”
Just world peace? “Yeah. That’s the big one.”
If you ever scored a touchdown in a game, how would you celebrate? “I don’t know. I’d probably get a flag because that’s how bad my celebration would be.”
What motivates you in life? “Working hard for my parents because they do their best for me so I try to help them out.”