North Lenoir's Damon Hewitt kicks school's longest field goal
North Lenoir’s Damon Hewitt punts the ball during Monday’s practice. Hewitt plays the role of punter and kicker for the Hawks, with his 50-yard field goal in an Oct. 19 match against Ayden-Grifton being a school record. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
Damon Hewitt didn't think he'd get his shot.
Facing a fourth-and-long in the opponent's territory during last week's contest, North Lenoir had a decision to make early in the second quarter against Ayden-Grifton. The Hawks could go for it or trust in the leg of the senior kicker who hadn't tried a field goal this season.
"I didn't think I was going out," Hewitt said. "In my mind, I was thinking 'there's no way Coach (Jim Collins) is going to let me do it,' but Copperhead convinced him and I went out there. I didn't even know how long (the kick) was."
The kick turned out to be a school-record 50 yards, giving the Hawks a 3-0 lead over the Chargers. Copperhead, the nickname of North Lenoir wide receiver coach Anthony Loftin, said he saw Hewitt's ability on display during the summer.
"He worked out harder than anyone else in the offseason," Loftin said. "I would come out to the field and I've seen him connect from about 55, so if the situation came up I knew we could give him a shot. I’m just excited he had the chance to kick it.”
Collins said it wasn’t much of a gamble to put Hewitt in.
“We always knew Damon could kick it well — we were just trying to score touchdowns,” Collins said. “At this point (in the game), it was fourth-and-11 and we knew we couldn’t really punt it, plus if he missed it, (Ayden-Grifton) would get the ball at the 30, so it would’ve been alright. In the future, we may use him more, especially with these last few games in conference play.”
As the team prepared to set up the kick, North Lenoir placeholder Jaziah King said he was just trying to make a routine play.
“I was trying my best not to mess up and let him get the perfect kick,” King said. “I was very excited for him and was happy we were able to get the points on the board.”
Hewitt said he’s been thankful for the outpouring of positive messages since Friday and if the opportunity presents itself again, he’ll be ready.
“It’s been very crazy — I’ve gotten so many messages and tweets about the kick, even from people I’ve never met,” Hewitt said. “It means the world to me and hopefully I’ll get another chance to kick a long field goal. If not, I’ll continue to do what I’m doing.”