Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 15, 2013

GC Football: At the foot of history

Raymond Linex II
Corsicana Daily Sun

Mildred — Snickers. More than likely, there were more than a few each game last year for Mildred. Picking Devin O’Sullivan out on the field was hardly tough. The middle linebacker wore orange shoes.

But prior to last year, O’Sullivan was known primarily as one thing around campus: the kicker. It shouldn’t be too much longer and “the kicker” will need a label, as in “state record-holding kicker.”

The Mildred senior is six extra points away from tying Southlake Carroll’s Cade Foster (2006-’09) at 263 career PATs. O’Sullivan has 257 through six games this year, the majority of which have come off the toe of brightly colored cleats.

“That’s what I saw growing up, Corsicana kickers wearing colored soccer shoes,” said O’Sullivan, who fell in love with the art of kicking playing soccer as a kid. It was his favorite sport, his dad Darrell O’Sullivan said.

And while Devin may actually break the record wearing pink shoes, since it is October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, the multi-colored shoes have been missing up until this month. He said former coach Patrick Harvell allowed him to wear them. Billy Dan Chambliess, new head coach and defensive coordinator the previous five years, denied his request for the lime green and bright orange shoes he found in the summer.

“I sent him a picture of them in a text, and (Chambliess) said no,” O’Sullivan laughed. He figures Chambliess doesn’t want his linebackers in kicker’s shoes.

“He was always mad about it, but Harvell allowed it,” O’Sullivan said.

Ironically, the two go way back. O’Sullivan moved to Mildred as a sixth grader, and actually got to attempt – and make a few – extra points in pee wee football on coach Shannon Wiggins’ team. It was there he realized he had a chance to kick.

Then, in eighth grade, he started working with Chambliess, who he says has always been his kicking coach, and spent some time the spring before his freshman season kicking with Trevor Owen, Mildred’s all-area kicker who was going on to college to kick. Just the experience helped, but Owen also gave him some pointers.

“I had been doing my own thing before then,” O’Sullivan said.

Today, O’Sullivan’s a two-way player, three if you count the special teams. He started at middle linebacker during the Eagles’ run to state finals a year ago, and booted 92 extra points. This year, he has moved to outside linebacker, plays a lot of wide receiver, and still handles all of the placekicking and kickoff duties.

But that freshman season, he did one thing: he kicked.

“He’s always been a solid kicker for us,” Chambliess said. “He’s got a super strong leg, and he works at it.”

O’Sullivan’s freshman season was a special one for the program. The Eagles went 9-3, and won their first playoff game in 2A. He made 48 of 56 extra points, and was 1 of 2 on field goal attempts. As a sophomore, Mildred’s offense began to hum, and O’Sullivan was true on 83 of 91 attempts, and again 1 for 2 on field goals. Mildred advanced to the semifinals.

Last year, as Mildred went 13-2 and played for a state title, he had 100 attempts, made 92, and was 5 of 6 on field goals.

This year, he entered 40 shy of Foster, who now kicks for college’s No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Mildred is again scoring in waves, and O’Sullivan is 34 of 39 on PATs. Where things have changed is on field goals. He has already attempted 11, and made seven, including a 42-yarder against Frankston.

He missed a game-tying kick late in the Eagles’ lone loss to Centerville, 27-24, a kick he’d like to have back, and last week Chambliess even sent him out for a 52-yard attempt.

“He said he had it, it just went right,” dad Darrell said.

“I didn’t realize it was 52 until I ran out there, put the tee down, then looked to the (sideline),” Devin said. “It shocked me he let me try it. It had the distance, I just didn’t account for the wind. I pushed it right.”

Chambliess said the added field goal attempts have been nothing more than math.

“I’m going to take the points when we get them,” Chambliess said.

O’Sullivan has also been working out with former Oklahoma Sooner and Washington Redskins kick Scott Blanton in Grapevine the last year or so. He has tweaked his mechanics and worked on his power.

“He’s added 10 yards to my kickoffs,” O’Sullivan said.

He has six touchbacks this fall.

Yet despite the nearing record, the power leg he has displayed, the post-season honors (he’s been all-Golden Circle two years in a row), O’Sullivan has no college offers at this point. He does want to continue to kick at the next level.

“We’re very proud of him,” said Darrell, speaking for he and his wife, Melissa. “And (the record) would be a big accomplishment. We’re just hoping some colleges start noticing.”

For now, all Devin can do is focus on playing linebacker. And wide receiver. And nailing every extra point and field goal attempt he gets.

He is averaging 6.5 PAT attempts per game. If he can get the opportunity to break the record Friday, he could do so in brightly-colored shoes.

And at home. The Eagles (5-1) host Tolar Friday night.

“That would be a big memory,” O’Sullivan said. “It would mean a lot more at home. It would be nice, my senior year, to be added to the other memories.”

Kicking down a milestone’s door

  Mildred senior Devin O’Sullivan is bearing down on the state’s extra points record, currently held by Alabama’s Cade Foster, who booted 263 from 2006-2009 while at Southlake Carroll. Here are O’Sullivan’s numbers by season:

Year,                Games    XPM    XPA    FGM    FGA    Long    Pts

2010,                  12            48    56          1          2        22      51

2011,                  14            83    91          1          2         39     86

2012,                  15            92    100        4         5         38    104

2013,                    6            34    39          7        11         42     55

Totals,                 47          257    286      13       20         42    296