SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

October 25, 2013

Moving the Chains: Futbol to football, kickers make a difference

Athletically, Erik Fyrer was looking for a change.

Approximately one week before the Pingree football team headed into preseason camp, Fyrer’s transfer from Ipswich High School was complete. It seemed like the perfect time to make the shift from soccer, Fyrer’s fall sport since he was young, to football, a sport he had minimal experience playing.

Fyrer has the size (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) and athleticism to be a threat on the gridiron, but so far it’s been his leg strength that has made the biggest difference for the Highlanders.

”When we tried out the coaches asked if anyone wanted to try (kicking), and I said I’d give it a shot,” said Fyrer, who re-classified as a junior at Pingree. “Kickoffs, those were pretty easy to get. Field goals, I had the distance and the range, but I’ve had to make some changes to get my accuracy down. Hopefully, I’ve figured it out ... but it’s still a work in progress.”

So far, Fyrer has been a key component to Pingree’s high-flying offense. He’s 31-for-32 on extra points (one was blocked) and kicked a 34-yard field goal in a game.

Bishop Fenwick’s Kyle Russell has a story similar to Fyrer.

Russell spent his first three years at Fenwick playing soccer — two years with the junior varsity and one on varsity — before opting for football this fall.

The addition of Russell, like Fyrer at Pingree, has paid dividends for the unbeaten Crusaders (6-0), who locked up the Catholic Central League title last weekend. Russell has made 29 extra points and kicked a pair of field goals from 26 and 33 yards, respectively, in the team’s season-opening win over Hamilton-Wenham.

”I always wanted to play football and this was my final year to try it,” Russell said. “It seemed like a good time.”

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