Many athletes work the majority of their childhood to prepare themselves for success in high school football. Some need years of training and experience to compete, but Lakeland High School’s starting placekicker Owen Forsman didn’t grow up playing on the gridiron.
In his freshman year, Forsman faced a difficult decision. After dedicating the previous nine years to soccer training, Forsman elected to quit soccer and focus solely on football, because he felt there were more opportunities for his future.
Forsman’s close relationship with prior Lakeland coaches Tim Kiefer and Brian Etchison aided his decision.
“They were always supportive and encouraged me to try out football,” Forsman said. “They helped me discover my kicking capabilities.”
Forsman’s parents would drive him to Spokane Valley multiple times a week for training. It was at these training sessions that he made vast improvements to his abilities through the help of his mentor and coach, Seth Harrison.
“He has taught me everything I know about kicking,” Forsman said, adding the best advice Harrison gave him is an engraved message, “all we can control is what we do next.”
Lakeland’s head coach, Mike Schroeder, doesn’t take the value Forsman brings to the team for granted.
“It’s awesome. I knew immediately that he was probably the best kicker I’ve inherited as a head coach over the past 21 or 22 years,” he said. “I haven’t had anything like it in my career. I’ve never had a kicker be that dominant or that type of leader on the team.”
Schroeder said Forsman’s ability has changed the team’s offensive game plan.
“I knew what I had, and he was quite the weapon last year on the kickoff, field goal and PAT. I’m not into kicking a bunch of field goals, but I know if we’re inside 53-54 yards, I’ll probably kick it instead of punting.”
Along with starting at kicker and punter, Forsman starts at outside linebacker for the Hawks’ young defense.
“I think playing outside linebacker is a blast,” Forsman said. “It’s the tackling and violence that makes it fun. I want to be an athlete, not just a kicker.”
Forsman will play a leadership role on this year’s Hawks team that lacks seniors. Schroeder says one thing that stands out is he leads by example.
“He coaches the long snapper and the holder,” Schroeder said. “We’re a younger team than we were last year, but I think our culture is a little better, and I think that Owen has added to that with his leadership. He’s a cool-headed guy. He’s a very pragmatic and organized person, so I think he takes his job seriously, and he’s worked on his mental competitiveness. He’s got the type of composure to succeed at a very high level.”
After improving over the past three seasons, Forsman enters his senior season committed to attend the University of Idaho on scholarship and ranks as Idaho’s top high school kicker.
Forsman enjoyed attending college camps throughout the region.
“Idaho ended up being the best all-around fit for a few reasons,” he said. “The campus is relatively local, they have an immediate need for a kicker, and an incredible program has been built under Coach Eck. I am looking forward to playing at the next level and the opportunity to represent an incredible football program.”
Though he has three years of experience on the gridiron, Forsman has nailed a 65-yard field goal during practice and kicked multiple kickoffs through the uprights. For reference, the NFL in-game record is a 66-yard field goal, set in September of 2021 by Justin Tucker. The previous record was 64.
Forsman has set a goal to kick a 60-yard field goal this season to break the Idaho high school state record. Schroeder is confident in Forsman’s ability to kick from this distance. Forsman’s longest field goal of his junior season was 47 yards against Coeur d’Alene.
“Well, if I have to kick a game-winner, he’s good from 60. If we’re in the middle of the game and want to just get three (points) on the board on fourth-and-three or four, I’m probably going to opt to take the three – where in the past 20 years we’re going for it.”
Aside from breaking records, Forsman’s ultimate goal is to play professional football. He noted that the constant mental battles are the most challenging things about kicking at a high level.
For Forsman, that starts in the classroom.
He has taken many college courses throughout high school and will graduate one semester early and head to Idaho after the upcoming fall semester.
Lakeland kicks off its season Friday on the road at Preston at 6 p.m.