Necessary Means – Pelham kicker eyes Michael Proctor’s field goal record

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2004

By nature, Jordan Means is just a little bit different.

Blame it on his role for the Pelham High School football team.

Kickoffs. Extra points. Field goals.

There’s something about kickers – whether it’s the lack of contact or the mental state required to handle the pressure of game-deciding kicks – that earns them a reputation for standing out from other players on the roster.

Even at Pelham, where coach Sammy Queen requires the same from his kickers as he does from every other player, from workouts to conditioning, the kid who handles kicking duties is treated with a unique approach in the locker room.

It was especially the case for Means last year, who started for the Panthers varsity squad as a freshman.

&uot;Being a freshman last year and being on varsity, it’s tough on any kid,&uot; Queen said, &uot;especially if you are a kicker because you get treated a little different in the locker room.

&uot;He took a lot of stuff from the players last year and he still does for the most part, but they respect him now because of what he did on the football field,&uot; Queen said.

Queen called on Means early during his freshman campaign, sending the youngster on the field during a matchup with bitter rival Thompson in the season opener.

&uot;I was so nervous because I just came off my eighth grade season,&uot; Means said. &uot;And I go to varsity and I have to go kick my first extra point and I am so nervous my legs are trembling.&uot;

Wobbly knees and all, Means booted the ball straight down the middle as the Panthers went on to win the game and Means won the job as starting kicker.

Known for producing a number of talented legs, Pelham’s kicking game had struggled for a few years before Means took over last year.

He handled kicking duties for the rest of the season, connecting on nine field goal attempts, including three during the fourth quarter of the Clay-Chalkville game to help the Panthers come back for the win.

His longest kick, a 43-yarder, came in a loss to Mountain Brook.

But it’s not enough for Means to let his feet do the talking – and clad in a pair of gold cleats his 10-and-a-halves say a good deal about his personality – he is upfront about his goals as a kicker.

When former Pelham placekicker Michael Proctor nailed his Alabama high school-record 60-yard field goal against Mountain Brook in 1991, Means was just 2 years old.

Now, at 15, the sophomore has his sights set on Proctor’s place in the AHSAA record books.

&uot;Get ready for Proctor’s record to be broken, that’s what I’m saying,&uot; Means said.

He is not only intent on breaking the state record, but Means said he wants to do so by his junior year. Proctor was a senior when his 60-yarder cleared the uprights.

Means’ chances could very well rest on whether he gets the opportunity to attempt a kick of record-book lengths.

While Queen said he is confident sending Means out for any kick under 50 yards, anything longer could be a matter of the right situation presenting itself.

&uot;If it comes up before halftime or something, we’ll try it,&uot; Queen said. &uot;I don’t know if we’re going to try it out in the middle of the field right yet. But this week in practice he consistently hit between 50-55 yarders.&uot;

Means said he cleared the uprights from 60 yards last week when practicing with kicking coach Lane Bearden, a former Pelham star and Alabama punter.

Queen pointed out that kicking off the ground during practice can be a lot different than kicking from a snap and hold during a game situation.

&uot;But he does have the leg for it – there’s no doubt,&uot; Queen said