Friday Night Hero: West Rowan's Hobie Proctor
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011
By Ronnie Gallagher
MOUNT ULLA — You could say Hobie Proctor is riding the wave of success this season for the West Rowan Falcons.
Success as is kicking meaningful field goals and extra points.
Riding the wave as in surfing.
That’s right. Surfing.
They say kickers are a little different and Proctor certainly is. You don’t normally think of a country kid from West Rowan surfing but Proctor can do it. He has done it.
His first name? Proctor explains:
“In college, my dad surfed a lot,” Proctor said. “He taught me how to surf in middle school. ‘Hobie’ was a big surfing brand in Wilmington. The name stuck.”
And now the surfer boy is sticking the ball through the uprights on a regular basis for Scott Young’s Falcons. In a 21-0 win at West Iredell on Friday, he was all of the offense in the first half for West, nailing field goals of 29 and 21 yards. The Falcons went into halftime with a precarious 6-0 advantage.
“We squandered some great opportunities to score touchdowns,” Young said. “If he doesn’t hit those field goals, we’re tied.”
As hard as it is to fathom, West has won the last three 3A state titles without a reliable kicker.
“Kicking has been our question mark the last few years,” admitted Young.
This past summer, special teams coach Durwood Bynum decided to do something about it.
“One year, it might be the holder, the next it might be the snapper,” Bynum said. “We could never put it together as a group. We made a commitment not to be the weakest link on the team anymore.”
Proctor, Louis Kraft and Tyler Stamp — the kicker, snapper and holder — took the challenge seriously. Proctor also went to plenty of camps. He worked with former West kicker Ben Erdman, who played at Coastal Carolina, and Dan Orner, a former NFL kicker.
“If I wasn’t doing a camp on the weekend, I was out here on the practice field five times a week,” Proctor said. “I knew I needed my kickoffs deeper. I knew field goals and extra points would be crucial this year.”
He worked on flexibility, leg strength and quickness. Stretching, he noted, is really the most important part.”
“Hobie probably worked harder than anybody during the offseason,” Bynum said. “He worked his tail off.”
As proud as Young is of his senior kicker, Bynum is moreso.
“I’m really proud of him,” he said.
You could feel the tension before each of his Friday field goals. West Iredell traditionally gives West its toughest test and the Falcon offense was struggling.
Bynum said 90 percent of sports is mental, adding, “For kickers, it’s worse.”
Proctor said he just concentrated on keeping his head down.
“Kicking is all a mind game,” Proctor said. “If you think you’ll miss, you will. You have to believe in yourself.”
Did Proctor believe his kicks were true?
“Yeah, when the referee put his arms up,” he laughed.
Coaches are feeling good going into the playoffs and a big reason is Proctor.
“He’s one of those success stories,” Young said. “He has been really solid for us. He’s one of the most improved players we have.”
And that means a sigh of relief when points need to be put on the board.
“I’m pretty confident when he goes out there,” Bynum said. “Last year I couldn’t say that.”