By Dave Morrison
BLUEFIELD – It could be that Bluefield kicker Kaulin Parris is too good at his job.
The Beavers kicker is 48 of 50 on extra point attempts and is a perfect 6 of 6 on field goal attempts.
It is hard to beat those numbers. He leads the area in both categories and is among the state leaders.
But did he really miss two extra points.
On one of the misses the game official said the kick was too high and he couldn’t really tell if the kick crossed inside the goal post cross bar.
“That’s what he said, it was too high and he couldn’t tell if it was wide or not,” Parris said. “To be honest, it was my fault for it being wide.”
Parris doesn’t miss much and has been a weapon for Bluefield (9-1), which faces Oak Hill (7-3) Friday in the first round of the Class AA playoffs. Bluefield is looking to defend it’s championship.
It’s not just Parris’ field goal and PAT prowess. The 6-foot-3 kicker has 34 touchbacks, meaning nearly 50 percent of the time he kicks off the opponent has no shot at a long return or better field position and has to settle for starting at the 20-yard line.
He is also the Beavers punter.
Like a lot of kickers Parris started as a soccer player.
“I love soccer and started playing in rec leagues for my dad when I was about four years old,” Parris said.
He was a starter on the Beavers soccer team as a freshman and sophomore but by that time he had gone out for football, a sport he had watched. He often wondered if he could kick.
As a freshman he decided to give it a shot.
Turns out he was good at it.
He worked tirelessly with his dad Ryan serving as his holder during many of those early sessions.
“I probably broke his fingers 10 times,” Parris said.
“We went through some blood, sweat and tears along the way of me holding for him in the beginning but not quite 10,” Ryan said, “Maybe 10 mishaps but not break. Just nice old bangs and bruises.”
That first year Parris was 39 of 41 on PATs and 3 for 6 on field goals. Two extra points and one field goal were blocked. Last year with the Beavers being a touchdown scoring machine en route to the title he was 60 of 70 on PATs and two of four on field goals (both misses were blocked).
He was quickly bitten by the football bug, spending the last two summers at elite camps.
“I still love soccer but I made up my mind that I really wanted to concentrate on kicking and I wanted to see if I could do this on the collegiate level,” Parris said. “My leg feels so much stronger. We used to have two soccer games a week and then football on Friday.. My leg feels a lot stronger on Friday nights.”
This summer he started kicking off the ground, eschewing the one-inch block that high school kickers can use.
“I used it the last two years but I went to a camp where we didn’t use the block,” Parris said. “I didn’t like it at first but then I started to notice that I could control the ball better without the block. You can’t use a block in college so If I want to kick on the net level I figured I would start now.
‘I think it also helps Drake (Mullins, his holder) because he doesn’t have to worry about getting it on the block.”
While that is akin to a high school player using a wood bat instead of an aluminum bat, the results have been all positive as he has added 96 percent of his PATs and 100 percent of his field goals.
He credits Mullins and his snapper Mason Walker for a lot of his success.
“I couldn’t do what I do if it wasn’t for those guys,” he said.
He is getting attention from several Division I schools. So far Pitt, Bowling Green, Marshall, Virginia and Kent State are showing the most interest.
Parris is third on the team in scoring with 68 points.
In his career he is 148 for 163 on PATs and 11 of 16 on field goals for 171 points.
“I thank God for putting me in this position,” Parris said. “And I’m glad to play for a coach like coach (Fred) Simon. We take special teams very seriously. we work on it every day. Some teams just go for two but we work on every aspect of special teams.”
And, Parris isn’t just a kicker these days.
He also is the team’s third string QB and although he didn’t take a snap he did attempt his first career pass on a botched snap attempt at Richlands. He even completed the pass for a 20 yard gain to Jaheim House but it was nullified by an illegal man down field.
He also recovered a fumble and has a couple special teams tackles.
All in a days work for Bluefield’s Parris.
Kickoff for Friday’s Class AA first-round game against Oak Hill is 7:30 p.m. at Mitchell Stadium.