Austin Rehkow is an overnight sensation.
He’s on ESPN. The Today Show came calling. His name was served up with breakfast on Friday morning across the football-loving world.
The Central Valley High School Bears senior place kicker nailed a 67-yard record-breaking field goal Thursday night to send his team into overtime. It’s a game the Bears eventually won – a 62-55 defensive doormat of a contest against the Shadle Park Highlanders.
Rehkow’s feat sent his teammates into jubilation and left the Highlanders stunned.
Shadle Park’s sensational sophomore quarterback, Brett Rypien, also set a record with an aerial show of 577 yards passing. Rypien is the nephew of Super Bowl MVP quarter back and Spokane native Mark Rypien.
The game is the latest Joe Albi gem.
And millions of sports fans now know of Austin Rehkow and his kicking feat, which made ESPN’s top-10 highlights.
He is talking to several college football programs. The University of Oregon sent a note this week and Eastern Washington University has made a verbal offer, said Austin’s mom Kim Rehkow.
Austin is an all-around athlete, though football came late.
He was a standout soccer player.
“He was the kid who always took the penalty kicks for his team,” said Kim Rehkow. “He’s always had a gift for sports.”
Rehkow first tried football several years ago as a freshman.
“We just told him, ‘Look, you’re really good at soccer. Maybe you should try kicking a football, too,’” said his mom.
REHKOW: “I felt confident in my leg strength. I went out there and you get that extra adrenaline going. I let it rip. Luckily it stayed through the uprights and once I saw the arms go up (from the referees) it was just an overwhelming feeling of joy.” (Photo: Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)
He’s always been clutch, said his mom.
Austin is an Eagle Scout (his parents wouldn’t let him drive until he earned the top Boy Scout badge), and he carries good grades, getting his work done when it needs to be despite his busy schedule.
“We are just extremely proud of our son,” said Kim. “He was talented from early on … but we remain amazed by his abilities.”
Rehkow also plays defensive back and wide receiver for the Bears.
Most of the crowd of just less than 1,000 – with a sparse turnout by CV followers including Austin’s parents – were still around when, as time expired, Rehkow drilled a 67-yard field goal – believed to have tied the second-longest field goal in national high school history.
The field goal broke the Washington state record (62 yards).
A 5-yard touchdown run by Grayson Sykes, his fifth of the game, on the fourth play of CV’s overtime possession provided the offensive difference.
Then on Shadle’s first OT play CV defensive back Scott Hilpert, who had been beat on a couple of plays earlier in the game, came up with his fourth interception of the season when he picked off a pass intended for Tanner Pauly in the end zone.
It was a game for the GSL ages.
Rehkow said that he had attempted a few kicks from 67 yards during an overly windy practice Tuesday.
“To be truthful, we kicked some 67-yarders two days ago with the wind behind me and I didn’t make any of those,” Rehkow said. “So to be able to do that in a game is just a great feeling.”
The kick exceeded his previous best by 11 yards.
Rehkow asked CV coach Rick Giampietri to let him try the tying field goal.
“This was our only shot and he took it,” Giampietri said. “He said ‘You put me out there and I’ll do it.’ It was crazy.”
The late drama overshadowed an otherwise outstanding game by Rypien. He needed just 44 yards to leap to the top of the all-time GSL single season list, and he blew that away and some.
Rypien completed 35 of 49 attempts for 577 yards. He became the first quarterback to eclipse 500 yards, smashing his and the league’s previous best of 483 that he had in a 48-35 loss to University in mid September. Rypien also moved to the front of the Washington state pack for single-game throwing by 61 yards.
“He’s crazy, he’s good, and we blitzed the heck out of him,” Giampietri said. “He ran around and (made) plays. Unbelievable.”
Giampietri was overcome by elation afterward, often speaking through giggles.
“We’ve never given up 55 points and won,” Giampietri said. “I’ve never been involved in a game like that.”
Rehkow had made just 50 percent of his field-goal attempts (7 of 14) going into the game.
“I felt confident in my leg strength,” Rehkow said. “I went out there and you get that extra adrenaline going. I let it rip. Luckily it stayed through the uprights and once I saw the arms go up (from the referees) it was just an overwhelming feeling of joy.
Rehkow received a partial offer from Eastern Washington University this week. The attention from his feat will undoubtedly bring him more attention.
“I’m going to keep my options open,” Rehkow said. “Hopefully, some offers arrive. I’m grateful for the one that Eastern’s proposed and hopefully we get some more coming in here. I couldn’t have done it without a great team putting me in the position. The line gave me enough time. Great snap, great hold. It’s a real humbling experience to hold the (GSL) record now.”
Giampietri was thrilled that Hilpert got the game-ending interception.
“Scotty got picked on most of the game.” Giampietri said.
CV (6-2) took a 52-48 lead when running back Brandon McClung scored on a 17-yard run with 1:04 remaining.
“The only problem we had was we scored too soon,” Giampietri said. “We didn’t take enough time off the clock.”
Sure enough, Rypien engineered a five-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 29-yard TD pass to a wide open Nick Kiourkas on a fade pattern. The point-after kick gave Shadle (3-5) a 55-52 lead with 21 seconds to go.
CV used a hook-and-ladder play to get to midfield, and on came Rehkow with 2 seconds showing on the clock.
Video of Austin Rehkow’s kick
See more video of the kick.
Rehkow’s kick also was featured on the Today show this morning in which the announcer said he smashed the NFL record of 63 yards for a field goal.
The high school sports blog at The Seattle Times has some interesting stats about the Top 10 returning quarterbacks for next season.
Greater Spokane League field goals
All-time single-season leaders
Greater Spokane League passing
All-time single-season leaders