Dylan Early is tall with a smooth swing. He led the Santa Monica High baseball team in RBIs last season, and it’s likely he has a future in the sport, either in college or professionally.
But when Early saw that the Samohi football team was looking for a kicker, he decided to volunteer. He had no experience in football but had been a Viking soccer player.
“Kevin Brockway, the baseball coach, has joined the football staff and is coaching the defensive backs,” said head football coach Zach Cuda. “He called me and said Dylan wanted to try out.
“We had penciled in Alesandro Canale, who was our junior varsity kicker last season, to replace Jordan Rosenbeck (an all-league kicker who graduated). But Canale suffered a muscle strain.”
As a result, tryouts were held under the direction of Frank Gottel, the Samohi soccer coach. Early was clearly the best candidate.
“When he walked on the field at Hueneme High for our opening game it was the first time he had been in that situation,” said Cuda “He kicked seven straight extra points, kicked off into the end zone three times and did all the punting.
“Our coaches wondered if there would be a problem if he was hit while doing any of those things but it had no effect on him.”
In Samohi’s first three games, Early is 14 for 14 on extra points.
His football inexperience did show up, however, in Samohi’s 48-23 loss to Venice Friday, September 22.
The ball was snapped over his head on a punt. Instead of falling on the ball at the Samohi five-yard-line he tried to scoop it up and escape the rush. He fumbled and Venice picked up the ball and went in for a touchdown.
“He’s a competitor,” said Cuda. “But we’ve talked to him about knowing where you are on the field and doing the wise thing. Falling on the ball would have been the right thing to do.”
Early is a senior. He also has one season of baseball left and should be one of Samohi’s candidates for individual honors.