Myer selected to Big 33 Classic
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Senior Bryant Myer is the latest in a line of premier kickers who have played for the Manheim Central football team in recent years.
His older brother, Justin Myer, who currently kicks for Virginia Tech, and Taylor Groff are two of those who have paved the way.
Perhaps it was only a matter of time, but early this week, the Barons finally got a kicker selected for the Big 33 Classic.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Myer was named to the Pennsylvania Big 33 roster, and on June 16, he and Lancaster Catholic’s Adam DePietro will be looking to help their squad defeat the Ohio All-Stars for the first time since 2008 when the 55th annual Classic is held in Chocolatetown. Myer, whose brother Justin is a kicker at Virginia Tech, becomes Manheim Central’s sixth-ever Big 33 selection, and their first since Mike Byrne received the honor in 2004.
"We’re just happy," Barons’ boss Mike Williams said. "It’s about time we had a kicker (selected), quite frankly. We’ve had some great kickers in the last several years."
According to Kohl’s Kicking Camps, Myer is currently the fifth-ranked punter and the 65th-ranked kicker in the country. Williams said the fact that Myer is so skilled at both punting and kicking could have been a deciding factor.
"I think that was a plus," Williams said. "It’s the Big 33 team, but it’s actually 34 players because the kicker is the 34th guy. They always try to look for a guy that’s pretty good at both. Sometimes they can find that and sometimes they can’t, but I think that was Bryant’s strength, the fact that he could do both. But he’s such a fantastic kid that we’re very happy."
Myer certainly put his big-time leg on display for the Barons this fall, while helping them finish 8-3 overall and earn a trip to the District Three Triple-A playoffs. He was perfect in extra-point attempts, going 30-for-30, and he split the uprights on 6-of-12 field goal tries, including a long of 44 yards against Wilson in a 27-13 loss to Wilson in week two of the season. Myer also booted a 28-yarder against the Bulldogs, and he split the uprights from 37 yards out in a 31-10 win over Selinsgrove.
When Manheim Central’s offense stalled this year, Myer booted 30 punts totaling 1,130 yards for an average of 37.7 yards. He placed seven of those inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Of his 45 kickoffs, 22 went for touchbacks.
It wasn’t only on the football field, though, where Myer was a standout athlete. He also starred for the Barons’ soccer team which finished 13-7 this fall and advanced to the District Three Triple-A playoffs. At season’s end, he received Section Three Most Valuable Player accolades.
"Years ago, we used to think (the kicker) had to be a football player, but it’s nice to have a soccer player," Williams said. "We’ve been blessed with a bunch of great coach (Matt Schwartz) wanted them to do and then kick for us as well and do a lot for us. Bryant was one of those kids who made a lot of sacrifices."
Those sacrifices could soon pay off with him punching his ticket to kick for a Division-I football program. He has already visited the likes of Alabama, Iowa, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
"I know those four schools, for sure," Williams said. "We’re not sure where he’s headed yet, but a lot of people have recognized how good he is."
For that matter, the selection committee for the Eastern Pennsylvania Football big school All-State team also recognized how good both Myer and Manheim Central senior linebacker Andrew Kauffman were this fall. Myer earned First Team accolades at punter, while Kauffman received Honorable Mention at linebacker.
Kauffman finished second for the Barons with 127 tackle points (behind only senior Reid Pavlik’s 143), with 31 solo tackles. He also recorded 3.5 sacks and a team-best six interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He also returned a fumble 80 yards to paydirt in the Barons’ 28-14 win over the Barons, helping him earn Linebacker of the Year and First-Team all-star accolades in Section Two.
"Andrew’s another great player for us," Williams said. "He’s a typical Manheim type kid. He just plays hard, doesn’t say much and he’s a great leader for us. He’s representative of what Manheim football is all about. Hard work has paid off for him."
Kauffman (6-foot-0, 185) has looked at Division-III power Delaware Valley and he has received interest from some PSAC schools. But Kauffman is hoping to find a fit at a college offering the architecture-related major that he wants where he could also play football.
"That’s what makes him special – he’s a great student and he’s looking at his future and we’re backing him all the way," Williams said. "We’re trying to help him find that right matchup and if he doesn’t play football in college because he wants to get the right education, then we’re all for that."
In other news, the Pennsylvania Football News released its All-State selections, and three Manheim Central players were honored. Myer took home Second-Team accolades at punter, while senior Caleb Walton and Kauffman received Honorable Mention at quarterback and linebacker, respectively. More MYER, page B-4