Today: Apr 23, 2024

Senior kicker ends career as school leader in points

PAULA CAPUTOStaff Writer

In the month of October, Owls football placekicker Chris Hazelton set a football record for most career points and was recognized by the Fred Mitchell Award selection committee for his overall performance.

“It feels good,” Hazelton said. “Anytime you’re recognized for something, it means you’re doing something right. Although winning the award isn’t something I have my sights set on. The only thing I’m focused on right is now is performing.”

In the month of October alone, Hazelton racked up 35 points on five field goals and 20-of-21 points after touchdowns. In a win over American International, Hazelton scored six points in a 48-47 win including the game-winning point after touchdown with only three seconds left.

“Kicking is a position of two extremes,” Hazelton said. “You can either be the hero or the goat, so there’s a lot of pressure to literally be perfect. You don’t have to be on the money perfect, but when it comes to point after touchdowns and field goals, you should be.”

Hazelton heard of Southern through word of mouth and said when he visited the campus, he immediately fell in love. His major is elementary education and he plans on moving out to Colorado with his uncle where he can hopefully find a teaching job. Coming into Southern, Hazelton had to immediately step up as starting placekicker when his former teammate Charles Gallagher had a severe pull in his groin. From that point, Hazelton said he never looked back.

“He’s always giving us opportunities,” said Owls head coach Rich Cavanaugh. “The nice thing about having a guy like Chris, once you get into the red zone, you know you’re going to come away with at least three points.”

Cavanaugh said Hazelton has made many improvements over his four years as a starting placekicker.

“He has more confidence in himself,” said Cavanaugh. “He believes in the guy that’s going to snap the ball. He has confidence in his holder; all those things play into it. I think he’s really improved on his kickoffs.”

Teammate Jordan Rozas, who is taking over for Hazelton next season, said he has some big shoes to fill.

“Chris is definitely a motivating kicker,” Rozas said. “For his position, he definitely takes his job pretty seriously. Over the past two years, I’ve definitely improved on my skills with kicking. He’s been a pretty good kid to look up to for the position.”

Rozas said Hazelton has helped him out a lot with his technique and they’re always together during practices working on fundamentals. He said Hazelton is a huge asset to the team and he has stepped up this season.

“There’s not a game where he doesn’t put up any points,” Rozas said. “He definitely benefits our team. He’s definitely an important factor and I’m looking forward to taking over his spot next year.”

According to Rozas, Hazelton is the reason he feels excited about taking over as the Owls kicker, rather than pressured.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Rozas said. “He set numerous records, but I’m feeling a lot more confident as every day goes by. He’s definitely helped me improve my skills, so it’s made me a lot more relaxed on the field. I’m more eager to follow in his footsteps.”


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