From futbol to football: Mountain Ridge kicker makes impressive debutAug 25, 2021 11:39AM ● By Justin Adams
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
With just seconds remaining on the clock before the end of the first half during Mountain Ridge’s game against Olympus, Brody Laga was standing on the sideline. The team was facing a fourth down from the 31-yard line. He assumed they would punt the ball away. After all, it would be a 48-yard field goal, a difficult distance for any kicker, let alone a kicker who had only joined the team five days earlier and kicked a football for the first time. But then he heard the coaches yell for the field goal team to take the field.
“I went out there and it was a pretty far field goal so I was like, ‘Oh! Alright! I’ve got this,’” Laga told the Herriman Journal.
So as time expired, Laga calmly kicked the 48-year field goal, which cleared the crossbar with a few feet to spare. The kick gave Mountain Ridge a 20-13 lead as they went into the locker room.
"Pretty clutch for a kicker that's never kicked in a game before. It was very impressive," Sentinels Head Coach Mike Meifu said after the game.
It should come as no surprise that Laga had the leg to make the kick. Last year, he played in 15 games for the school’s varsity soccer team as a freshman. He even scored three goals. This fall, he’s playing up an age division for his club team, Sparta. So what made the talented young soccer player want to give football a try?
“You know, it’s just something to do. Make more opportunities,” he said.
That laid-back attitude towards taking up a new sport has helped Laga keep the pressure off - an important thing to do for a kicker. In fact, the only time he felt nervous at all was after he missed his first point-after attempt during warm-ups.
“But then I got on the field and thought, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ I just had to go in with a good mentality,” he said.
The approach paid off, as Laga connected on his first field goal of 25 yards. Then he added the 48-yarder and another 30-yarder in the second half. He was also 4-4 on PAT’s. Not bad for a sophomore with only five days of football experience in his entire life.
Laga said he’s been welcomed by all his new teammates, which began with them teaching him how to put on his pads. “It was great. All the guys were dressing me up like a Barbie,” he said with a laugh.
As for the brutality of the sport, Laga said he’s not worried about getting injured. On field goals he feels well-protected by his blockers. And on kickoffs, he’s the one doing the hitting.
“My mom doesn’t want me to do any hitting, but I like the hitting,” he said.