Keeping it between the boards

Gavin Dionisio should compete for the kicking job.

As a young man, I was charged with taking a final look at the sports pages before they hit the hard-scrabble streets of Doylestown.

One guy who needed heavy editing was a NASCAR “writer” named Eddie Blain.

He always ended with a signature closing line: “Keep it between the boards.”

Except one time.

We’ll say it was a typo.

“Keep it between the broads.”

Funny line and the people in the composing room loved it, but I couldn’t let it go. I had to send another version of the story out with the correct closing line.

The keep it between the boards line referred to keeping the cars on the track and out of danger.

That story reminded me a little of the Temple kicking game last year.

It should be a little easier to keep kickoffs inbounds than it was to keep cars inside the track but each kickoff was a painful exercise in covering the eyes and listening to the play-by-play to see if it wasn’t a disaster.

The Owls had five kickoffs go out of bounds last year, two in just one game.

How does that happen?

Who allows this slop to hit the streets?

Oh.

Rod Carey.

When guys like Don Bitterlich, Nick Mike-Mayer, Brandon McManus, Austin Jones and Aaron Boumerhi were here, the Owls went four years at a time without a single kickoff going out of bonds. That’s a total of about 20 years. Even Jerry Berndt had good kickers in Cardinal Dougherty’s Bill and Bob Wright and Bobby Wallace had a solid kicker in Cap Poklemba.

Temple fans have gotten into the habit of assuming that part of the game was on auto pilot. Really, even though Will Mobley was an OK short-distance kicker, the Owls haven’t had a home run hitting kicker since Carey didn’t guarantee Boumerhi’s scholarship,, forcing him to transfer to Boston College.

They still might not, but at least they understand they have a problem and that’s a change in the right direction.

Fortunately, the Owls brought in Archbishop Ryan all-state kicker Gavin Dionisio to challenge Rory Bell for the job this year. We checked with some Ryan guys we know (it’s our other alma mater) and Dionisio did not have a single kick go out of bounds in his three years as Ryan’s main kicker. Hopefully, the competition on kickoffs makes Bell better in that area, too.

Gavin isn’t perfect–his longest field goal in high school was only 38 yards–but it’s nice to know that it should be OK to assume the kickoffs will be kept between football’s version of the boards for a change.

Friday: A Big Target