Looking back at the 2012-13 high school sports season reveals more than a few exceptional moments.
But the one that most stands out lasted just a scant few seconds, but with apologies to Bobby Thompson and the New York Giants, the 67-yard field goal Austin Rehkow kicked against Shadle Park truly was a shot heard ’round the world.
“The NFL record for longest made field goal is 63 yards and is shared by Tom Dempsey, Jason Elam, Sebastian Janikowski and David Akers,” Matt Brooks wrote in the Washington Post. “Some day, that record will fall, and it’s feasible that Austin Rehkow could be the man who breaks it.
“The Central Valley High senior kicker set a new state record on Thursday (Oct. 18, 2012) night when he blasted a 67-yard field goal through the uprights. And this wasn’t some fluky, end-of-the-first-half, Lane Kiffin-style prayer. It was a game-tying kick that sent Central Valley into overtime where the Bears outlasted rival Shadle Park, 62-55.”
“Mr. Rehkow is not just a gridiron guru in kicking the ball – he can also catch it – doubling as a wide receiver on the field,” Britain’s Daily Mail reported. “In addition, football’s not his only game, as Mr. Rehkow plays for the Central Valley basketball team when football season is over.”
Rehkow was on ESPN to talk about the kick, and the “Today” show called to chat.
But more importantly, the kick jump-started a recruiting effort that landed Rehkow to kick for first-year head coach Paul Petrino at the University of Idaho, where Petrino expects the All-State and All-Greater Spokane League standout to challenge for both the starting kicker and punter positions in the fall.
“He’s a great athlete, Petrino said in a press release announcing the 2013 Idaho recruiting class. “That’s what some people might not understand. He’s a great basketball player and might punt. Anytime you have a great athlete, that’s a plus because, in my opinion, they’re more competitive. He reminds me of (former CV and Vandal great) Mike Hollis. Austin will definitely challenge to be both the punter and kicker his first year.”
Memorable, too, was Rob Bartlett’s first season as head football coach at his alma mater, University High.
Taking over the job when Bill Diedrick retired, the third-generation Spokane coach led the Titans to the state Class 3A semifinals, where they fell to second-ranked Eastside Catholic, 42-21.
It was the first time in school history that U-Hi advanced past the first round of the state playoffs. Going into the 2012-13 season, the Titans were 0-5 in state appearances.
Bartlett was familiar with most of those first-round losses. His father, Bob, coached University football for eight seasons and the current coach is a former Titan quarterback himself.
The Titans got their first playoff wins at home, knocking off Seattle’s O’Dea High, 34-6, then stopping North Thurston, 23-13, before falling to Eastside Catholic, which came into the semifinal undefeated in 13 games. The Crusaders lost to Bellevue in the state championship game, 35-3.
The Spokane Valley saw a pair of state champions crowned. Central Valley captured its first state Class 4A boys cross country championship, and University captured its third state wrestling championship under coach Don Owen.
The Bears got an outstanding team effort to capture the cross country title, easily out-distancing Eisenhower, 89-130.
The top five runners, Logan Giese, Spencer Jensen, Corey Hunter, Britton Demars and Colton Pegram, finished just 39 seconds apart, and each Bear finished ahead of his Cadet counterpart.
Coach Kieran Mahoney predicted Demars would have his best race of the season at state, and the sophomore, the team’s No. 4 runner, did just that.
The Titans went into the title matches at the state Class 3A wrestling tournament with four wrestlers ready to battle for a title and cement the state team title at the same time.
The first three wrestlers all lost, leaving the outcome in the hands of senior 195-pounder Tanner Orndorff, son of longtime U-Hi assistant coach Dave Orndorff, and he knew it. Win, and the Titans hold off second-place Decatur; lose, and it was possible the Gators could forge a tie.
Orndorff scored a 7-2 win, bringing a few tears to Owen’s eyes. Orndorff and his three brothers all have grown up in the U-Hi wrestling room.