Scanlon more than just a kickerPublished 9:44pm Monday, October 15, 2012
When you mention the name Brett Scanlon throughout southwest Michigan, everyone knows him as Dowagiac’s outstanding All-State kicker.
But Scanlon, a senior on the No. 5-ranked Chieftain football team, is so much more than that.
He also is the starting quarterback, linebacker and punter for Dowagiac, which will attempt to complete its first undefeated season since 1996 Friday night against Otsego.
He is also one of the top students in his class.
Dowagiac coach Mike Stanger has known about Scanlon since he was in junior high. He knew he had a special player coming that would rarely come off the field when he got to the varsity level.
After spending almost the entire season on the freshman squad four years ago, Scanlon was moved up to the varsity for the final game of the regular season and for the playoffs.
Stanger said he didn’t bring him up earlier because he was a key member of the freshman team and he didn’t want to pull him up to the varsity just to be a kicker.
But there was no denying he would play a key role at the varsity level for the next three seasons.
“You knew pretty early because you knew the success he had against kids his own age from junior high on,” Stanger said. “So you could picture that. And then there was the combination of speed, strength and work ethic. There are not many six-foot, 195-pound kids who are benching 290, squatting 460 and power cleaning 270. That comes from hard work.”
While others may look at only his kicking, Stanger says, and Scanlon agrees, that kicking is just the icing on the cake.
“He breaks the mold of the typical kicker,” he said. “We knew again, in junior high, that he would play all the time. When we saw him we knew he would never come off the field. The kicking was the icing on the cake. The tackling and the running and all the other athletic abilities that caught our attention.”
Scanlon said he loves to kick and he knows that is probably what he will be doing at the college level, but truth be told, he likes defense the best.
“I love to kick,” he said. “All-in-all, when it comes down to the end of the day, I just like being a football player. I like to hit people. I would have to say that defense, all-in-all, is my favorite part of ball.
“Like coach Stanger said, I practice my kicking a lot and that’s what I want to do in college, but I kind of think he’s right when he said it’s like the icing on the cake. ”
Scanlon has always set goals for himself, both as a member of the team and individually. This year was no different.
He and the rest of the Chieftains have already accomplished two of the goals he wrote down while sitting in his room this summer.
Dowagiac qualified once again of the playoffs and won the Wolverine Conference’s West Division championship. This week Scanlon and the Chieftains have a chance to reach the next goal on his list — an undefeated season.
The ultimate goal is to win a state championship. As far as personal goals go, he knows if he helps his team reach theirs, his will come as well.
“I believe if we accomplish team goals then those personal goals will come by themselves,” Scanlon said.
Some, including his father John Scanlon, have compared him to the New York Jets’ Tim Tebow. He understands the comparison.
“I have even thought that as I am watching TV,” he said. “It’s nice to be kind of a dual threat.”
He is more than a dual threat. He is one of the Chieftains’ top tacklers and he is among the leaders in rushing from the quarterback position.
He also is quite the weapon when he kicks off and punts.
Most of Scanlon’s kickoffs reach or go through the end zone for a touchback. He also had improved on his punting this year.
“I think I have definitely improved as a punter,” he said. “I would even say we have improved as a group on special teams. We have worked on it a lot and it has paid off.”
Scanlon holds nearly every kicking record on the book for Dowagiac. Last season he was 13-of-27 in field goal attempts with a school record 55-yard effort against Plainwell. He was 34-of-41 on extra points. Of his 66 kickoffs, 53 of them reached the end zone for a touchback.
Those numbers earned him a spot on the Division 5-6 Associated Press All-State team.
This season he has connected on five field goals and 47 of his 54 kickoffs have reached the end zone. He has attempted several field goals that would break the current state record of 59 yards, including last Friday night when his 62-yard effort fell about a yard short.
Scanlon is being recruited by a number of Division 1 schools, including LSU, Alabama, Michigan State, Ball State, Illinois, Western Michigan an Yale.
He has narrowed the field somewhat, but is not close to selecting a school yet.
“It’s too early to say,” he said. “I am going to take my time and decide after the season. Some of the schools have told me that they won’t make a final decision on scholarships until after the season is done.”