Cody Pickard had a short list of goals heading into the 2013 high school football season.
Goal No. 1 was to help the Genoa Comets repeat as Northern Buckeye Conference champions. Number two was to help the Comets win a state title, and the third goal was to earn first-team All-Ohio honors in Division IV.
Genoa went unbeaten and won the NBC before losing at home in the first round of the playoffs, but goal No. 3 for Pickard came true this week when he was named the first-team All-Ohio kicker in D-IV for the second straight year. He is an overwhelming choice to be on the first team Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Team in voting by area coaches and media.
“I’m glad I did it,” said Pickard, a junior. “My brother (Tyler) got it his sophomore through senior year, so I challenged myself to be better than him, to get it my three years, too. We always joke around, like who is better. If you ask him, he’ll say I’m better. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I think I could take him.”
|Genoa place kicker Cody Pickard boots a field goal in
the Comets' win over Waite. (Press file photo by
Tyler Pickard was a three-time All-Ohio kicker at Genoa, but the torch was passed to the younger brother in 2012. Last year Cody connected on 12 of 15 field goals, including six field goals in a win over Fostoria to set an all-division state record for field goals in one game.
Pickard (5-8, 170), who also punts – Genoa only punted seven times this season – and starts at safety on defense, converted 15 of 18 field goals this season and was good on 64 of 67 extra points for a total of 109 points. That last figure is tied for second in Ohio’s all-time single-season record book for a kicker.
“Cody is a great kid, very humble and very quiet,” Genoa coach Tim Spiess said. “You don’t even know he’s in the room unless you hear him giggling. We have some game changers - Casey Gose being one, and Cody being the other because of his kicking ability. He is a weapon. When we’re driving, once we approach the 30-yard line we know we’re in position to score. He has great hip flexibility and explosion. A lot of it is the work he puts in in the weight room. For his body weight, he’s one of our stronger kids.”
Pickard said his older brother “is the person who helped me the most” with kicking. Cody played on the same soccer team with Tyler up through age 12.
“When he was a senior in high school, I was a freshman and he already had all-state (honors) twice,” Cody said. “Being behind him and him correcting me and telling me the right way, it’s a big opportunity because somebody has already been through where you’re at.”
Cody broke one of Tyler’s school records in a game against Port Clinton back in September, when he booted a 53-yard field goal in the second half. Tyler had the school record of 48 yards. Cody also had three other field goals of over 40 yards this season.
“All around, I think this year was probably my best year,” Pickard said, adding that his mental approach before the 53-yard kick against Port Clinton was the same as if he was lining up for an extra point or a 30-yard field goal.
“From that far, you have to keep same approach,” he said. “If you overkick it, you’re going to pull the ball or not hit it square or come up short. The biggest thing is staying consistent. It was real cool when that happened. It was a great atmosphere. I felt the fans’ support and you feel your whole team behind you. That was a great moment. I thought I had the distance. It was all just about going through your progression and not overthinking it.”
Pickard, who also plays baseball for the Comets, said his goal next season is to attempt a field goal from 55-60 yards. Anyone who has witnessed Pickard’s leg strength won’t doubt that he just may have a 60-yarder in him.
“Hard work is a lot of it,” he said. “(Kicking is) one reason why I quit basketball. My sophomore year, once I found out I got all-state, I wanted to get it again. I probably lifted five days a week, and I go out and kick. Right now I kick two times a week. It’s a lot of work and a lot of reps. You want to get everything down and get better the next year. I know I have the leg. I just try to get my accuracy down and let my hips and leg do all the work.”
Pickard added that he wants to kick at the next level.
“Kicking in college is my goal,” he said. “That’s what I’m working toward.”