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Kicking duo going strong for Bryan for second straight season

Kicking duo going strong for Bryan for second straight season

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By DAVID CAMPBELL

david.campbell@theeagle.com

Rex Urquhart and Matt Little share kicking duties for the Bryan Vikings. Urquhart is the kickoff man. Little has handled extra points and field goals.

Both want to do it all.

Two overriding factors keep that from being a negative for their football team -- teamwork and friendship.

The friendship has lasted longest. The two have been close since they attended the same preschool.

"We went to the same day care," Urquhart said. "His mom has been best friends with my mom."

While the families moved apart at one point, they've lived within four houses of one another since Urguhart and Little were in the third grade.

The teamwork goes back many years, too, when the two first played soccer together as kids.

"I've played soccer all my life," Little said. "I realized that I had a pretty good leg. I went out in middle school and started kicking and it's been a constant thing."

Their friendship endures in a dual role despite both players sharing a singular goal.

"It's kind of ironic," Urquhart said of the friends splitting Bryan's kicking duties. "We've been best friends since preschool, so it's not a big deal."

Urquhart sharing anything on the football field is a bit of a surprise. The Viking senior said he almost missed out on football completely.

"I told my dad I don't think there's anything I can play," Urquhart says of a conversation he had before his freshman year in high school. "He said 'Why don't you try kicking?' I was making 40-yard field goals easily as soon as I started."

Both kickers are tall and slim. Little is 6-foot-2, and Urquhart stands 6-1.

If you saw them in a practice uniform, you might confuse the two.

"They are both very unique but at the same time, very much the same," Bryan coach Bob Bellard said. "They would be very good kickers for any high school team in the state of Texas."

While their football skills are similar, they definitely aren't the same.

Little has the close-cropped hair while Urquhart wears his blonde hair long. Both wear distinctive numbers. Little is No. 6 with Urquhart decked out in 27. Urquhart kicks in white Nikes. Little's are blue.

They began their varsity kicking combination as juniors and had a successful season last year. They've kept up the act this year.

Urquhart routinely drives his kickoffs into opponents' end zones.

"He has a very powerful leg," Little said of his kicking teammate. "He's very good, gets a lot of distance, great hang time."

Little has kicked two field goals and 15 extra points this season. His 39-yard field goal opened the scoring against Copperas Cove.

"Accuracy, he's got the accuracy," Urquhart said of Little. "We pretty much have the same leg, but I might have a little more distance."

Bellard says he's happy to make room for both.

"I'm glad that we have found a way to get them both on the football field," Bellard said. "I wish we could get both of them on the football field more.

"Matt gets the ball up in the air very quickly, but Rex is good on field goals, too. And Matt can kick off."

Little reached the varsity level first, making it as a sophomore while Urquhart kicked for one of Bryan's JV teams.

"It was frustrating, especially when he was on varsity," Urquhart said. "But they did the right thing. By putting me on JV, both of us were kicking. If we were both on varsity and one wasn't kicking, one of us wasn't getting better."

They spend much of their week working together and have learned to taper down their kicking as the week progresses.

"Monday, kick hard, and on Tuesday, we kick hard," Little said. "On Wednesday, we start taking a break."

Kicking camps have been a big part of the lives of both kickers. Some are competitive with a chance to impress college coaches. Other are learning camps.

Both have their personal favorite kicking camps.

"Chris Sailer is the big one," Urquhart said. "The guy that works with him is Nick Folk, who kicks for the Cowboys. [Sailer] has got me ranked 12th nationally and usually the top 25 get scholarships."

Urquhart has attended camps at Kansas State and Houston and a national kicking competition in California. He also kicked in Las Vegas, where several college scouts observed.

"We usually don't go to the same camps, because we both have different [coaches]," Little said, who attends Rocky Willingham camps. "I started camps in my ninth grade year."

The learning camps, like the Chris Boniol camp held at A&M Consolidated High School, have helped.

"At the very beginning I learned a lot, because I was just going out, backing up and kicking," Urquhart said. "I was doing what I wanted. You learn to be consistent and do the same thing every time."

Both also punt, but for now, they leave that to another friend, Krey Bratsen.

"I think we've got one great punter and two good ones," Urquhart said in a nod to Bratsen.

That's probably just as well. There's already plenty of competition between Viking teammates with kicking tees.

"They are both very special," Bellard said. "We are going to sorely miss them in a year when they are off hopefully kicking somewhere else."

Matt Little Up Close

* Person I most admire: my Dad, Bryan Little

* Dream job: Major League Baseball player

* Favorite pro team: Chicago White Sox

* Favorite class: Algebra III

* Favorite athlete: former MLB and NFL player Bo Jackson

Rex Urquhart Up Close

* Person I most admire: my Dad, Kreg Urquhart

* Favorite class: Math Models

* Favorite pro team: Dallas Cowboys

* Favorite TV show: That 70's Show

* Favorite movie: Superbad

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