BOULDER — Ben Swartzwelter has his own little theory about why his younger brother, Fairview senior Jonathan Swartzwelter, has been so accurate as a field goal kicker this season.
“He says he’s got the nerves, but I think he’s scared of me,” the elder Swartzwelter said earlier this week as the Knights prepared for Friday’s rivalry game with Boulder.
The sibling banter has carried on for a couple of years now after Ben, a former Knights player, joined the coaching staff to help mold the FHS kickers. In 2012, Jonathan was not really involved in the kicking game, but soon decided he wanted to experiment with the idea knowing he’d be able to work directly with his brother.
“It’s been a ton of fun, we don’t get along all the time but he’s really good at kicking,” Jonathan said of working with Ben the past few months. “It’s a blessing to be out here with my brother helping me, and I wouldn’t want anybody else to be my coach.”
While Swartzwelter also has provided solid defensive play as a safety for the 7-0 Knights, kicking in college has become a legitimate possibility, and the numbers back it up.
Among Colorado kickers whose teams have reported their statistics to MaxPreps.com, only Fort Collins’ Alex Kinney has as many field goals (10) as Swartzwelter, and Kinney has one more game under his belt and one more attempt, too. Add 29 PATs to his totals, and Swartzwelter’s 59 total points put him in the top 30 in the entire nation.
His repertoire includes kickoffs and punts, too, where he has tallied 18 touchbacks and a 44-plus yard average, respectively.
Every kick can be considered clutch in some way, but he has a pair of field goals this season that have won games and kept Fairview as the only undefeated team in Class 5A. None was bigger than last week’s chip shot to beat Pomona and capture the North Metro League title with a 33-30 win.
Those situations have grown on him just a little bit.
“I love them,” Jonathan said of the pressure kicks. “I don’t let it get to me, don’t let it get to my head when it’s in the middle of the situation. (Against Pomona), it hit me later that it was a really big deal that I made that one.”
“What’s really cool about Jonathan is he thinks it’s funny if people call a time out and try to ice him,” added Fairview coach Tom McCartney, whose team will be going for a sixth consecutive win against Boulder. “He’s got the ice in his veins, and that stuff doesn’t really bother him. To see him in those situations live, and his demeanor, it’s exactly what you would want, someone who is calm under pressure and likes that moment.”
Through it all, Swartzwelter admits he’s just one part to a whole unit. Kicking field goals is as precise as clockwork, and it begins with snapper Ryan Williams being accurate in getting the football back to placeholder Johnny Feauto.
Not having a single kick blocked this year is a testament to all three elements — snap, place, and kick — and Williams said they work hard to perfect it.
“We practice pretty much every practice on snapping the field goal for about 10 minutes, so we at least get in 30-40 snaps in per snapper,” Williams added. ”
“We have a really good line that’s blocked for us, (Feauto) has been really good and Ryan hasn’t missed a snap all year,” Swartzwelter said. “I practiced all summer kicking and, I don’t know, I’ve been kicking pretty good I guess.”
Great, actually. According to McCartney, the Fairview kicking records aren’t exactly clear, but he did refer back to Kelton Lynn as probably the top kicker in school history. In 2002, Lynn nailed 16 field goals and totaled 94 points — both attainable numbers for Swartzwelter if the Knights go on the playoff run expected of them.
Of course, the more touchdowns the Knights score on offense — and yes, they are known to put up a few of those — the fewer chances Swartzwelter gets to add to the numbers. But McCartney is confident that any time they run him out to boot the football, there’s a good chance he will put it through the uprights.
“Jonathan this year has just taken off, and he’s just had a huge year,” McCartney said. “It’s been a great luxury for us … you always want to be solid in the kicking game and usually the good teams have a solid kicking game. We’re fortunate to have (Ben) coaching for us and Jonathan kicking for us.”
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