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August 25, 2007

Harper adds name to record book

Mentor High School may have come up short Friday night against Cardinal Mooney at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, but Cardinals' kicker Kevin Harper had plenty of leg in a long field goal attempt.

The 5-foot-11. 175-pounder nailed a 58-yard attempt to give the Cardinals a brief 3-0 lead in the second quarter. Harper said he wasn't aware that he'd be attempting such a long kick.

"I didn't even know it was that far, I thought it was like 52 yards," he said. "I didn't even know until I went to the sidelines and they told me it was from 58."

Harper said he approached the long kick with the intentions of keeping the ball low to cover the distance. It was also important to account for the college goal posts at the home of Division I-AA Youngstown State.

"I wanted to drive it a little more because I didn't want to get too much air under it," he said. "Then it was just getting it in the college posts. I'm just glad I kicked it like any other kick. If I would have known it was 58 yards I might have kicked it different and got too much air under it."

The 58-yard field goal set a new Stambaugh Stadium mark-the previous long was 56 yards-and it moved Harper into second place all-time in the Ohio high school football record book. Former Roger Bacon High School and Ohio State standout B.J. Sanders holds the record with a 60-yard boot in 1998.

Last winter Harper looked at that list of record-breaking kicks and thought it would be nice to see his name there. Now, he only has one more rung to climb to get to the top.

"Last year I told myself I had to kick a 51-yarder to get on the list," he said. "Now I'm second; that feels good."

Harper, who holds scholarship offers from Kent State and Marshall, hoped to make his verbal commitment prior to the start of his senior season. But, he heeded the advice from his head coach, Steve Trivisonno, and it looks like that move could pay off following his big kick.

While many of Harper's teammates congratulated him on the sidelines after the kick, Trivisonno took the opportunity to remind Harper why it's important to take his time when making his college choice.

"Coach Trivisonno said, 'that's why you don't commit before the season!'" Harper said.


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