Sports

Nixa Football's Latest Kicking Phenom

NIXA, Mo--Sean Sample was a third-team All-Stater as a sophomore, missing just one of his 38 kicks. He'll never forget the 50-yarder against Neosho that forced overtime in the district semifinals.

"I had done it in practice before, but to do it in a game, I never really thought I'd get the chance to do that, so after making it, it just felt great," Sample said.

He was not booting 50-yarders when he started playing in seventh grade. Sample gives credit to his coach, Jan Stahle, a former Missouri State kicker from Sweden. These two joined forces after a fateful lunch between Sean's father, a plumber, and Stahle, who sells plumbing supplies.

"He told me his son wanted to learn how to be a better kicker, and I said, 'Guess what? We get your business, I'll teach your kick how to become a better kicker,'" Stahle said.

"It is extremely helpful," Sample said. "I would not be near the kicker I am today if it weren't for him."

Sample has really taken his game to another level since beginning to work with Jan Stahle in Springfield. But as it turns out, the soon-to-be junior has not had to look very far at all to learn what it takes to become a Division I kicker coming out of Nixa High School.

Sample's predecessor, Logan Tyler, handles punts and kickoffs at Florida State.

"Nixa has such a good history of kickers with him and Shelby Harris, who goes to Missouri State," Sample said. "Definitely a big role model I look to to try to model myself after."

So far, so good. Sample just returned from a scouting combine at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. It may not be long before he kicks off in a packed stadium before thousands of fans.

"I'll have to continue to work really hard in the offseason and work really hard when nobody's watching to make sure I'm capable of getting to the next level," Sample said.

A good attitude, a good coach, and a great leg have put Sample's career, and his kicks, on the right trajectory.


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