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Season to remember for Hawks kicker | USA Today High School Sports

North Buncombe senior Tommy Apostolopoulos has made 12 field goals this season.

North Buncombe senior Tommy Apostolopoulos has made 12 field goals this season.

WEAVERVILLE – Kickers have to take the good with the bad.

And there has been far more of one than the other this season for Tommy Apostolopoulos.

In fact, the North Buncombe senior is compiling one of the best seasons in recent memory for a Western North Carolina special-teams player at his position.

Apostolopoulos, a former soccer player who uses his right foot, has connected on 12 of 15 field goal attempts, including a 46-yarder back on Aug. 21. And all 29 of his extra-point attempts have sailed true for the Black Hawks (4-5, 3-1).

“It’s all muscle memory at this point,” Apostolopoulos said of his game routine.

“It’s been a great season (personally), but it’s been a team effort.”

Apostolopoulos and the Black Hawks are home for Thursday’s Mountain Athletic Conference game versus Asheville High (8-1, 3-1). The game will be broadcast on live TV by WMYA (40) starting at 7 p.m. from Weaverville.

“Everybody is really fired-up and I think we’re ready to play our best,” Apostolopoulos said.

“It’s a big opportunity and something that is really cool for us. Not only that, it’s a big game.”

Apostolopoulos gave up high school soccer this year (he was a defender) to focus full-time on football. He gets to work each day with Black Hawks alum Chris Hightower, who once kicked for the University of Tennessee.

After watching him earlier connect from 35 and 42 yards, North Buncombe coach Curtis Cagle gave Apostolopoulos the chance to win last week’s game at Erwin. A 45-yard attempt was no good, but Cagle would make the same decision all over again.

“It’s very nice to have a weapon like (Apostolopoulos),” Cagle said.

“It’s comforting and relaxing as a coach to know that there is a certain area on the field that we can get to with him and have a chance for points. We can play call differently than some teams when we’re that far out because we’re pretty comfortable with what our kicker can do.”

The NCHSAA record for single-season field goals (20) was set 12 years ago by Wilmington Hoggard’s Connor Barth, who has kicked in the NFL since then for Denver, Kansas City, Miami and Tampa Bay.

Apostolopoulos’ single-season total and 46-yard field goal are both believed to be North Buncombe records. The senior said he has made field goals from as far out as 58 yards in practice. And even though college kicking scholarships are rare, Apostolopoulos said he hopes to play for someone at the next level.

More on this story to come….

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