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Athlete of the week: North Davidson's Spencer Landfried

Spencer Landfried (Photo by Photo by Brad Arrowood)

WELCOME | North Davidson’s Spencer Landfried lined up to attempt a 46-yard field goal, a kick well within his range.

Things aren’t always what they seem, however.

There wasn’t going to be a kick. The Black Knights were going to run a fake with holder Spencer Arrowood making an option-like pitch to Landfried. The Knights had run fake field goals in practice plenty of times and in games.

But this was the third round of the 4-A state playoffs with North holding a 14-7 lead. A field goal would have meant a 10-point lead.

Talk about pressure on a fourth-and-four play.

“Oh gosh,” Landfried said. “We went over this in practice this week and thought it would work. I don’t know. We just called a fake and I didn’t think they were going to rush. I don’t know. I thought I was going to get a first down. It just wasn’t enough.”

Mount Tabor didn’t buy the fake and Landfried got shoved hard out of bounds after a two-yard gain, not enough for the first down.

Photographer Brad Arrowood, Spencer’s father, was also taken out on the play.

And the big question at least for a few seconds was whether one or both of them were hurt. An elite kicker like Landfried can be the difference in a close game and he was on this Friday night.

“Yeah, I got hit pretty hard,” Landfried said. “I’m a kicker and I don’t really get exposed to that too much. It was fun.”

Landfried was more concerned about the photographer.

“He’s my friend’s dad,” Landfried said. “When I was getting hit, I kind of saw his face and I was like, ‘oh no!’ I thought his legs might be broken but I’m glad he’s OK.”

Landfried wants to be known as a football player and not just a kicker. He wasn’t afraid to get hit.

“I used to play cornerback when I was in ninth grade,” Landfried said. “That’s when I started focusing on my kicking career, but I’m not soft.”

The consequences were immediate as Mount Tabor quarterback Raekwon Brown fired a 73-yard touchdown pass to Deonte Stokes on the very next play.

“Looking back on it, I should have kicked it,” said North coach Mark Holcomb. “It was a stupid call. We’ve run that play five times and that’s the first time it hasn’t worked. Probably should have taken the points and it’s 23-14. That’s on me.”

As it turned out, Landfried was going to get another shot at kicking a long-range field goal before the half was over.

North had the ball at the Mount Tabor 38 with six seconds left when the Spartans surprisingly called a timeout. That ended up being enough time for the Knights as quarterback Chase Mitchell connected with Ashton Phillips on a sideline pattern. That left one second on the clock and Landfried drilled a 48-yard field goal to give North a 17-14 halftime lead.

“I didn’t know it was 48,” Landfried said. “I was just going to go out there and kick it through the uprights. I’m glad Holcomb called my number. I had to do it for my team.”

Landfried kicked a school-record 51-yard field goal earlier in the season.

“To me it isn’t anything special,” he said. “I do it every day in practice. I know it adds another dynamic to our offense. If we happen to get stopped at the 40, 30 yard line, we can still get three points.

So it’s a good thing.”

Landfried added a 22-yard field goal late in the third quarter on the drive after Hunter Hoots blocked a Mount Tabor field goal try that would have tied the game.

Now it’s on to the state semifinals for the Knights.

“Oh, it’s a dream come true,” Landfried said. “Every workout this summer we thought about having the chance to play for a state championship. We have the opportunity to do that next week if we can win.”

Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or