It is a lofty goal for a freshman. Sam Webster hopes to one day hold the Dayton Flyers record for the longest field goal in school history, and if last week was any indication, the record could be in reach.
A true freshman playing in only his second game, Webster was called on to try his first college field goal in the first half at Robert Morris. A 53-yard effort that not only split the uprights but cleared the crossbar by at least 10 yards.
Webster was also good from 23 yards out and made all four extra points, earning him the honor of Pioneer Football League Player of the Week.
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“It was pretty exciting,” Webster said this week. “I was almost a bit surprised that they were going to call for a field goal since we were going into the wind a little bit, but I’m extremely lucky that in our offense coach (offensive coordinator) Austin) King put us into the position that we could.”
Luck always plays a part when a kicker lines up for a field goal. Webster is quick to give credit to the guys up front, as well as long snapper Matt Young and holder Will Bobek.
Webster, a Richfield, Ohio native, made the conversion from soccer player to place-kicker when he was a junior at Revere High School.
“I just went out one day and they said line up from 50, and sure enough I hit it,” he said. “I don’t know how but after that it’s been more perfecting the craft and the technique.”
Webster’s talent earned him attention from Power 5 schools, but the Flyers end up having something the others didn’t … a family history.
“I really wanted to stay home and I really wanted to continue the tradition with my family and I love it here,” he said.
Webster is a third-generation Flyer. His parents, Mark and Liz, both graduated from UD in 1988. Mark Webster is a Centerville native and his father is a Dayton grad, too.
Liz Webster admits she and her husband were pleasantly surprised when her son decided to keep the tradition alive.
“Sam and I came down and met with Coach (Rick) Chamberlin and that changed his mind,” Liz said. “It’s different when the head coach tells you they really want you on the team, it was then that Sam said Dayton felt like home.”
Even though Sam has been playing soccer since he was 3 years old, it didn’t take the Websters long to become a football family.
Webster played for one of the top soccer teams in the state at Revere. He was a freshman when the Minutemen lost the Division II state championship 1-0 to Alter.
It’s that kind of success and a strong leg that attracted the Flyers coaching staff to Webster, who earned the job with a strong summer camp.
“I think Sam’s experience with his soccer team does help him,” Chamberlin said. “We always want winners, we want guys on our team that know how to win championships because it’s a different attitude.”
As for the record book, Webster’s 53-yard kick is the third longest in school history. The longest was a 59-yard boot back in 1977 from Hartmut Strecker, who was a teammate of Chamberlin when he set the record against Iowa State.
After a game to remember last Saturday, Webster and his family got some bad news this week with the passing of Liz’s father.
Webster will be in uniform Saturday and parents will be in the stands. Liz Webster said her son told her he has a new goal each week.
“He plans to kick the ball to his Papa up in heaven,” she said.
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