September 11, 2004
Maure McCammon is easy to spot at Corona del Sol football games.
McCammon is a kicker, so McCammon usually stands apart from everyone else.
McCammon is 5 feet 2 inches tall, a visual anomaly in the mostly uniform topography of the sidelines.
And McCammon is a girl — a fact that is punctuated by the golden pony tail that hangs below the back rim of her helmet.
On any other team her presence would seem odd. But when it comes to the Corona kicking game, McCammon is just one frame in the offbeat film.
Two games into the 2004 season, the Aztecs have used four kickers, all with highly specialized roles.
If only the Cardinals had such depth.
Steven Harper is a capable punter who averaged 38 yards on his kicks last season while netting an impressive 37.
McCammon is the backup to short-distance kicker Kevin Hager, who attempts field goals inside 46 yards and most PATs.
Long kicker Tony Vidaure handles field goals beyond 46 yards and all of the kickoffs.
"We do things a little differently around here, but the reason for that is I’m trying to play to the strengths of each player," said Corona kicking coach Ken Olson, a former kicker who logged playing time in the USFL, Arena Football League and the NFL.
"Sometimes it can become a juggling act because you don’t want to lose one of them — have them sitting on the sidelines pouting because they’re not being used. But I still have to do what’s best for the team, so this is the arrangement."
To date there have been no complaints from the troops.
Despite a periodic anxiety disorder that sometimes shuts him down completely, Vidaure had six kickoffs in a season-opening win over Dobson, sending four of them into the end zone for touchbacks. He also missed a 48-yard field goal that had plenty of leg, but a tiny bit of slice.
Harper was the only kicker that got much action in top-ranked Hamilton’s 42-7 win over the Aztecs Friday at Hascall Henshaw Stadium.
Hager, the only junior in the senior-laden bunch, made all three of his PAT’s against Dobson before giving way to McCammon for a late PAT with Corona rolling over the defenseless Mustangs.
"I wasn’t even expecting to get in the game," said McCammon, who had five yards added onto the attempt after Corona was whistled for delay of game. "I was standing on the sidelines and coach was like ‘Maure!’ and I’m like ‘what?!’
"I wasn’t even prepared. I had to go run and get my tee and sprint out there. I was shaking."
McCammon still converted.
"Everybody was giving her high-fives,’ said Olson.
More like low fives.
McCammon, a member of the Aztecs girls soccer team, didn’t play football last year, but made a bet with Olson, her current science teacher, that she could make a field goal.
After proving it in a practice six weeks into the season, McCammon joined the team for spring ball and has participated in every hill, drill and spill since.
"She came in totally confident. I didn’t think she was gonna back out or anything," Hager said. "We definitely have to watch what we say sometimes when we’re around her. She’s still a girl, but she’s cool and she does her job."
That’s a thread that unites Corona’s entire crew of kickers.
"It’s definitely a different experience with all these kickers," said Vidaure, who is the nation’s third-ranked high school kicking prospect on rivals.com. "But it’s a fun experience, too."