Prep Athlete of Week
Kicking, football has grown on Loyola's Leo Sheridan
Loyola senior Leo Sheridan didn't kick as well as he would have liked at a few of the elite camps this summer.
Sheridan had a few inconsistent days, and it's probably the reason colleges haven't come calling for his kicking services.
But after watching Sheridan connect on a state-record five field goals, including a 47-yarder in last week's quarterfinal win over Mount Carmel, Loyola coach John Holecek believes those colleges may want to rethink their opinion of him.
"When you see this kid under pressure, there isn't any pressure on him," said Holecek of the ESPNChicago.com Prep Athlete of the Week. "He's a robot. The kid is as cool as a cucumber. He's a smart kid. He goes out there and does what he does. He's a winner."
Sheridan was the difference in Loyola's 24-7 win last week. He made kicks from 31, 33, 36, 41 and 47 yards. The first was the 47-yarder, a career best, to put Loyola ahead 3-0, and he just kept going from there.
"I knew if I could get that one through I'd have a good day," Sheridan said.
Sheridan felt some pressure as he took the field in the biggest game of his career, but he handled it well.
"The adrenaline certainly starts pumping when I get out there," Sheridan said. "I'm pretty good in keeping that under control. I've been kicking for a long time. I do the same thing over and over again."
Sheridan played football and soccer in grade school, but his love always has been soccer. He was prepared to give up football at Loyola until a freshman football coach recruited him to be a part-time kicker. Since then, he has played both sports all four years.
His priority each fall has been soccer, but he always made enough practices to be eligible in football and kicked in games when they didn't conflict with soccer matches.
Now, he practices daily with the football team, but only when it's time to kick.
"He's like a professional kicker," Holecek said. "He comes out in the end when we do special teams."
Football has grown on Sheridan, and he actually wouldn't mind continuing his kicking career at the next level.
"I would love to kick in college," Sheridan said. "It's something I would definitely love to do. I think I've proved myself to be a very accurate kicker."
Holecek would concur.
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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