Grain Valley soccer all-stater Austin Schmitt gets a kick out of football
Grain Valley junior Austin Schmitt stands out on the soccer field.
After all, he is a two-time all-state selection and is an integral part of the defense as Grain Valley’s starting center back.
He could be on his way to being a college-level soccer player. However, there may be another sport he could play at the next level.
That was evident in Grain Valley’s Friday night football game against Truman at Moody Murry Memorial Field. Schmitt easily made field goals of 32 and 34 yards against the Patriots.
Not only that, he made it easier on his defense by getting eight touchbacks in 10 kickoff attempts. The other two were perfectly executed onside kicks in which one was recovered and the other was dropped out of bounds. His kicking was just one of many highlights in a 48-13 rout of Grain Valley’s Suburban Middle Six foe.
“He’s a dude,” Grain Valley coach David Allie said. “He’s worked really hard over the summer and he’s taken to coaching really well and he has a special leg.”
Before the season, Allie said Schmitt was a huge luxury for his team. Any time the Eagles cross the 35-yard line, Allie has the option to kick a field goal because of how strong and accurate Schmitt’s kicks are. He regularly makes 50-yard field goals in practice.
“It feels good that I can kick them that far now,” Schmitt said. “My freshman year, I could maybe kick it 35 yards. Now I can kick it 55. I just put in the work over the summer.”
His football teammates have especially been impressed with Schmitt’s efforts.
“He could be an NFL kicker, I think,” Grain Valley senior running back Jaxon Wyatt said. “We have to start calling him iron leg because he kicks it in the end zone every time.”
Added freshman running back DJ Harris: “He’s going to go big if he keeps that up.”
And that’s why some people have been asking Schmitt if he will play football or soccer in college.
“I get asked that a lot,” Schmitt said. “I am thinking about both.”
The junior made it easier to keep the Truman offense in check as it often had to start from the 20-yard line. The Grain Valley defense created eight quarterback pressures and the team overall held the Patriots (0-4) to just 170 total yards of offense, with 136 yards of those coming against the Eagles’ backups when the game was already out of reach for Truman.
Grain Valley recovered three fumbles, including one after quarterback Caleb Larson threw an interception and Truman fumbled it right back to the Eagles on the return.
On offense, Harris had a standout game as he drew many cheers and shoutouts from the student section. He scored on two 5-yard runs up the middle and took a right-side toss into the end zone for a 28-yard score.
“I work really hard and I think my running reads are a lot better,” Harris said. “I’ve got to thank my offensive line again for all the holes they opened up for me. It’s a blast. There’s a lot more to come and I have more to learn.”
Harris showed the Eagles running game could be in good hands after Wyatt graduates. The freshman finished with 59 yards on eight carries while serving as a strong complement to Wyatt.
“He had a fumble last time, but tonight he came back strong and got three touchdowns and didn’t fumble,” Allie said. “That shows maturity and growth.”
Wyatt had a great game himself as he scored for the first time this season. He had 12 carries for 76 yards and two scores, one of which was a 25-yard jaunt in which he juked two tacklers.
“Jaxon is just a dog,” Harris said. “The running back duo we have is amazing.”
Larson added 58 yards rushing on eight carries and a score. He also completed 4 of 11 passes for 117 yards.
The Eagles (2-2) dominated in all phases of the game as they led 17-0 at the end of the first quarter, ballooned the advantage to 34-0 at halftime and had its largest lead in the fourth quarter of 48-0.
Meanwhile, Truman, which is now on a 19-game losing streak dating back to 2019, lost starting running back Zavion Toombs in the second quarter to an injury. That made things that much harder for a struggling Patriots team.
“Zavion is a big part of our team and our offense,” Truman head coach Charlie Pugh said. “With him going out, we had to change some things up and look at different options.
“Defensively, we started out pretty well. Our defense held them to a field goal after they got the fumble. Then they got an onside kick and that started a snowball. We have a long way to go and a short time to get there.”
Truman scored on a 9-yard run from backup quarterback John Chapin early in the fourth quarter and freshman running back Andres Jones scored on a 40-yard scamper.