Nathan Hawks has played soccer so long he’s not sure what age he started. He has a clearer memory of how he got his start in football.
The summer before his freshman year at Greenon High School, Hawks was lifting weights with the basketball team, and the football team was working out at the same time. It was called “Competition Thursday,” and the competition that day was field goals. Three kids attempted field goals, and Hawks emerged as the best kicker.
The football coaches asked Hawks to join the team. He accepted. Two years later, he’s one of the best kickers in the state. He was an All-Ohio second-team selection in Division V last season as a sophomore. He has received recruiting interest from coaches with the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Ohio Bobcats and has visited both campuses and stood on the sideline before games.
Hawks has invitations to kicking camps at Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Duke next summer. Last summer, at an Ohio State camp, he made 7 of 7 field goals, including a 50-yard attempt, at Ohio Stadium.
“He’s the best I’ve seen,” Greenon coach Josh Wooten said after practice Wednesday. “The ceiling’s high for him. We’re excited about what his future holds.”
Hawks kicked a 38-yard field goal last week in a 24-16 victory against Madison Plains, and coach Josh Wooten said it would have been good from 55. Hawks made a 60-yard field goal in practice. His extra point streak would be at 88 straight if not for one blocked extra point this season. He come a long way from his first game as a freshman.
“It was a big rush of adrenaline, and I was really scared,” Hawks said. “I did make my first field goal: 20-something yards.”
Hawks still plays soccer, starting at center back, and heads to football practice when soccer practice ends.
“It’s pretty hard,” he said, “but I’ve been able to balance it.”
The Greenon soccer team is 14-2 and won its second straight Ohio Heritage Conference title with a 7-0 mark. Last season, the football team finished 6-4, its first winning season since 2007, and this season, it is 5-2. The Knights hope to earn the first playoff berth in school history. They rank seventh in the Division V, Region 20 playoff ratings.
“It’s been really exciting,” Hawks said. “It’s one of the first Greenon teams in a while to have a winning season. We have a chance this year to win our side of the OHC and make the playoffs.”
Top Week 8 games
London (7-0, 2-0) at Shawnee (6-1, 2-0): This is a matchup of the highest-scoring teams in the Central Buckeye Conference. London averages 49 points per game. Shawnee averages 44. The Braves have won six straight games. They are tied for first in the Kenton Trail Division with London and Jonathan Alder (7-0, 2-0).
Kenton Ridge (4-3, 0-2) at Bellefontaine (4-3, 0-2): The Cougars try to bounce back after back-to-back losses to undefeated teams: Jonathan Alder and London. Kenton Ridge has lost three straight games in the series since a 53-28 victory in 2015.
» WEEK 7: Springfield wins showdown
Greenon (5-2, 2-0) at Cedarville (0-7, 0-2): Greenon quarterback Cade Rice leads the CBC with 20 touchdown passes and 215.7 yards per game.
North Union (4-3, 2-0) at Northwestern (4-3, 2-0): The winner will take sole possession of first place in the CBC Mad River Division.
Mechanicsburg (6-1, 1-1) at Northeastern (2-5, 0-2): Mechanicsburg has won seven straight games in the series. Northeastern linebacker Codey Taylor leads the OHC with 77 tackles.
West Jefferson (7-0, 2-0) at West Liberty-Salem (6-1, 1-1): West Jefferson has the top offense in the Ohio Heritage Conference (48.1 points per game). West Liberty-Salem has the second highest-scoring offense (46.7) and the top defense (7.7).
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