11/18/09 — Odum getting his kicks for Cougars

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Odum getting his kicks for Cougars

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 18, 2009 1:46 PM

Eric Reid searched nearly three years for a kicker.

Allan Odum just wanted a chance.

The two finally connected this season.

Goldsboro's third-year head football coach, Reid beat the bushes to find a reliable place-kicker. Odum, a freshman in the Wayne School of Engineering, had played football in the past.

"I play soccer, so I have a pretty strong foot," said Odum. "I've played football, but I never thought about kicking. It feels pretty good knowing I'm the one out here kicking for them because I know they've been looking for one."

Reid discovered Odum at a soccer camp over the summer and stopped by a few of Goldsboro's soccer games to check on his future kicker's abilities. Each of the past two seasons, Reid had been forced to either use position players on PATs or attempt two-point conversions following touchdowns.

"Even when I was here we didn't have a field goal kicker," said Reid. "That's been almost 20 years. I met Allan at a soccer camp and I always kept in contact with him.

"He eventually decided he wanted to do it. It's been a great marriage ever since."

Odum joined the football team in early October and has converted 24 of 39 PATs in seven games. Despite spending the majority of practice working on kicking away from his teammates, Odum insists he quickly formed a tight bond with the rest of the Cougars.

"In the locker room we're all joking around and having a good time," said Odum. "They've included me as one of them."

Odum's ability to provide consistent kickoffs, punts and extra points has taken pressure off all facets of the team and allowed Reid to sleep easier at night.

"You would be surprised if you counted how many points we've lost in the past few years going for two when we could have gotten almost that sure one," said Reid. "That comes back to bite you in the hindparts. It takes a lot of pressure off me and my offense.

"I think it's to the point now where everyone gets fired up about seeing me put up one finger when we score."

Despite not having attempted a field goal in a game, Odum is confident in his ability to split the uprights from as far as 35 yards out. Reid knows that while he may not have to call on Odum to kick a field goal during this postseason, eventually that time will come.

"I'm just about as eager as he is," said Reid. "I've seen him kick from about 30 yards out and he's beautiful. That would be the perfect ending if we could be in the state championship down by one or two, and he kicks it through the uprights and we go off in a blaze of glory.

"Before he leaves here he's going to win some ballgames for us."