FEATURE: Indy kicker works double-duty this fall

By Jamie Jamison
The Mint Hill Times
Most high school athletes are fortunate to play just one varsity sport during a season.  This fall Independence senior Morgan Boyle is playing two!
Boyle is a captain and stand-out on the soccer team.  The squad started out the season with an 8-6 record, a good start considering three of the games were against Ardrey Kell and Providence.
Head Coach Andrew Guevara feels that Boyle is a huge part of their program’s turn-around.
“Morgan’s got a huge heart.  He leads with that heart, and he leads by example.  His work-rate is through the roof because he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win.”
Guevara reflected on the selection process of Boyle to the place-kicker on Indy’s football team.
“They know that he’s a big part of what we do on the soccer team.  The football coaches asked me over the summer if we had anyone who could kick a football.  I actually had a couple of players in mind.  Morgan ended up fitting in well.  On that first day they saw him work and battle with sprints and other drills.”
Both teams had to agree on some ground rules on tackling and other contact for Boyle’s participation in football.  The tackling aspect of Boyle’s football experience came into play in only the second game of the season.  Kicking off after an Indy score at North Meck, a Viking returner found himself past the first ten players on the Patriot kick team.  It was Boyle who made the touchdown saving tackle at mid-field.
“I saw him break open and I just thought, ‘Bring him down.’” said Boyle after the team’s 37-7 victory.
Three nights later Boyle was back on the same field at North Meck in a soccer uniform.  Independence won that game 6-0, with Boyle scoring two goals and assisting another.
Through their first 12 soccer games Boyle leads the team with 16 goals and six assists.  His stats are impressive in football as well.  In 34 kickoff attempts Boyle has kicked 17 touch-backs.  He also has kicked eight successful extra points and one field goal.
“I’ve been wanting to kick for football since I was in the ninth grade,” said Boyle.  My friends all wanted me to try out.  Evan Guest put in a word for me with Coach Evans.  I went to their practices over the summer and it’s worked out for everyone.”
Boyle has been playing soccer since he was six years old, but this is his first year playing organized football.  The new sport has been both exciting and nerve-racking for Boyle’s parents, Richard and Tammy Boyle.  Richard says one thing goes through his mind every time Morgan steps onto the football field.
“Don’t get hurt!  When Morgan had to make that tackle I was pretty scared.  We really wanted him to make the play, and we’ve never seen him do anything like that before.  It was pretty intense.”
Coach Guevara knows that the drive Boyle brings to the football team is one of the intangibles their soccer team has as well.
“He’s out there making solo tackles for the football team.  I think that just shows the heart he has as an athlete.”
Look for both of Boyle’s teams to make playoff runs for Indy next month.
PHOTO BY RON MORRIS

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