A Gain on the Competition
Junior Nick Ganus gives ZT an underrated weapon
By Shayne Combs, SVCsportszone.com

The Zane Trace Pioneers have had plenty of an advantage in
several match-ups this season; however, the one advantage they
have just about every week that does not get nearly enough
credit is in the kicking game provided by junior place-kicker
Nick Ganus.

This weapon influences the game on both sides of the ball. The
obvious influence comes offensively where Ganus has provided
29 extra points and four field goals for a total of 41 points (a
great total considering ZT was shutout in Week 2, and Ganus
did not kick at SE in Week 9), but it does not stop there. Ganus
has also consistently kicked the ball off deep into his
opponents’ territory giving the Zane Trace defense a great
advantage. In high school football, a ball can’t be brought
out of the end zone on a kickoff return. Every team–good or
bad–is going to have a great athlete that they hope to utilize
in the return game. You always see big runs from those players
or you see teams trying to squib kick and giving their
opponents great field position. Ganus eliminates all of this. He
simply kicks the ball deep and kills the play or at least forces
the return guys to field it inside the ten yard line.

I believe Ganus has produced several key plays in several key
games. In the Piketon win Ganus was 2-for-2 in PATs–the
second of which proving to be the game-winning point in a 14-
13 win. In the Westfall game he scored seven points (two field
goals and an extra point), which again proved to be the winning
total at 29-22. In that same game, Westfall’s kicking game
(which was so important in the last couple of years with
Cameron Puckett) scored zero points. Finally, in Week 10
against Paint Valley, Ganus recorded eight points.

Ganus’s contributions are key for more reasons than the
points. His ability completely can change the complexion of the
game. You see so many high school football teams turn it over
on downs in the red zone because they have no other option but
to go for it on fourth down. These empty possessions can
really cost teams throughout the season.

Take Week 10 for example. Zane Trace entered with all the
pressure on them. Paint Valley takes the opening kickoff and
runs it right down their throat capping off the drive with a Ben
Krech touchdown to give PV a 7-0 advantage. Zane Trace takes
the ball and has a drive in which they were facing a very tough
down and distance on a fourth down at the Paint Valley 20-yard
line. Again, where most teams are forced to go for it, ZT calls
on Ganus and he delivers a 37-yard field goal. On the ensuing
possession, PV drives deep into ZT territory again, but this
time is facing a tough fourth and goal from the 11 yard line.
Instead of kicking a FG to go up 10-3 and put added pressure
on a team trying to win a gold ball, the Bearcats are forced to go
for it. They turn it over on downs, Kirk Maxwell goes 89 yards
for a score, and the rest is history.

Also deserving a lot of credit is snapper Josh Flint and holder
Chase Shanton. This group really gives ZT more options in
managing the game. I know there are many people who say just
go for two every time…all you have to do is be 50-percent.
That math equation looks great on paper, but the inability to
kick has you chasing points all night. It gives you no chance to
get something out of a good drive, and it can end up putting you
behind multiple possessions instead of just one.

I don’t know if Zane Trace can go toe-to-toe with teams
like Heath, Ironton, and Amanda or not, but I do know if a close
game is something ZT is in Saturday night, I like their chances if
it comes down to the toe of Ganus.
Click here to view the final SVC standings, SVC schedules, and ZT's regional bracket
www.svcsportszone.com
"Offensively, we can
consider scoring from the
30 yard line in, and factor
this into our play calling
options."

-Coach Peters when
asked about Nick's
impact on the ZT
offense.

"Defensively, when the
opponents' offense must
go 80 yards to answer a
score we just made; or , at
the start of a half the
long field helps us to win
the field position battle
and increase our chances
of scoring on a short field
after a change of
possession, it is very
daunting to the
opposition."

-Coach Peters when
asked about Nick's
impact on the ZT
defense.

"In a game where the
teams are fairly even on
O and D, the 17% of the
plays in a game that are
kicking teams' plays may
very well be the difference
in the outcome of the
game. We spend
considerable time on this
phase of the game in
organized practice
sessions. The students
spend that much time or
more on their own getting
better because they know
the importance of their
contribution to our
success."

-Coach Peters when
asked about the
overall importance of
the kicking game.
"A kicking game in HS
football is invaluable.  
Special teams can, and
in the playoffs do, play
a huge part in the
outcome of the game.  
Playoff games are
where you normally see
the importance of a
weapon like that just
because of the
importance of every
single snap, and the
talent level of both
teams. One, points are
important on any
possession. If you have
a kid that can
consistently get you
three points from 40
yards out or more, your
scoring zone gets
significantly larger.  
Two, a kid that can kick
the ball into the end
zone on kickoffs puts an
enormous amount of
pressure on an opposing
offense. First of all,
they have 80 yards in
front of them at that
point. If they average
five yards per play, it's
going to take them 16
plays to score. High
school offenses can't
consistently go 80 yards
on 10, 12, or 14 plays
throughout a game.  At
some point in time,
they're going to make a
mistake and end up in
3rd and long or worse
yet, turn the ball over.  
The other thing that
adds to that pressure is
that your kickoffs have
come after a score. So
you've now gotten
momentum, you kick
off a touchback and
you've put your defense
out there with a long
field at their back.
Takes a lot of pressure
off of your defense to
defend the field, and
puts a lot of pressure on
the opposing offense to
drive the length of the
field."

-Westfall head coach
Scott Keller