Most high school football teams feel pretty confident about scoring once they move into the red zone. At Broadneck, the Bruins only have to reach the Greene zone.
With All-Metro kicker Adam Greene, the Bruins have a chance to score every time they cross midfield. Last season as a junior, he kicked an Anne Arundel County record 55-yard field goal – just shy of the state record of 59 set by Havre de Grace's Shane West in 2003.
Greene, who has hit 31 of his last 32 extra points and has put 16 of 17 kickoffs in the end zone this fall, also hit a 50-yard field goal last season. In practice this fall, he has hit twice from 60 yards.
Former Ravens kicker Matt Stover called Greene a natural.
"You don't have to coach him much at all," said Stover, who has worked with Greene at his kicking camps. "He's one of those kids where you just have to give them the rhyme and reason and they become their own coach. He's got the interest and the talent and you never had to tell him to go work, ever."
Ask Greene what he does for fun and he'll answer, "kicking footballs." He gets three footballs for his birthday and three for Christmas every year and he's a regular on fields from Broadneck to the Naval Academy (because his father is a former submarine captain) taking as many as 40 kicks on days when the Bruins aren't practicing.
For the straight A student with a 4.46 GPA, kicking is the perfect challenge.
"I guess it sort of just fits my personality type, because I'm basically a perfectionist in everything I do," Greene said. "Like in school, it always has to be an A or I'm going crazy. Kicking just allows me to focus and I like the feel of accomplishment when I make something for the team. I just love kicking. I just have so much fun when I'm out there."
Last fall, Greene was 29-for-29 on extra points and 6-for-9 on field goals – two of which he missed in the pouring rain. He credits holder Scott Rosenbloom and snapper Tom Dyson with being a big part of that success, averaging a 1.2-second snap-to-kick time, Greene said. Dyson is back this fall and Canaan Gebele is the new holder.
To prepare for college, Greene is kicking without a block which would raise the ball an inch off the ground, so Gebele has been setting it up on the turf – a rarity for high school and an adjustment for both boys.
In the Bruins' first three games, Greene is 2-for-4 on field goals and 2-for-3 on extra points. He missed attempts of 52 and 47 yards but has made every field goal from 45 yards since the first scrimmage.
Broadneck coach Rob Harris never hesitates to send Greene out for the long ones.
"It's not like it's something new," Harris said. "He's shown he can make those and you want to put your kid in a position to succeed. Nobody works harder than he does. He knows his stroke. He knows his leg swing, the mechanics of his kick so well that he knows how to fix it if it's not on."
While trying to master the physical side of kicking, Greene also works hard to maintain the mental toughness needed to bounce back after a miss. The perfectionist realizes that no kicker is perfect. He uses yoga to help focus and relax.
"Kicking is really a head game," Greene, 17, said. "If you do miss, some kickers sit back and look over that kick again and again, but what makes the good kickers is they clear that out of their minds and go to the next one. To me if you miss, it's how you come back on the next kick. It's not five games down the road that you want to have a good kick."
He did that at Chesapeake two weeks ago when he missed a 47-yard attempt then hit a 41-yard field goal. An offsides penalty against the Bruins (2-1) before the snap wiped that out, but Greene nailed the ensuing 36-yarder. In Friday's 28-24 upset of then-No. 12 South River, he hit his only attempt, a 42-yarder.
Stover gave Greene an early taste of pressure after the seventh grader won the middle school kicking competition at Stover's camp. Even then, he could kick it off the cross bar from 50 yards, so Stover put him in with the high school players and counselors, some of whom were former NFL kickers. Greene finished second.
"The reason I put him in there was to put him up against pressure," Stover said. "So you can kick a football. I know a lot of soccer guys who think they can kick a football and when they get out there, they crumble under the pressure and they're not very confident. I was trying to teach Adam to be confident even when you think you can't win. That's special too, because he had the fortitude and the courage to go out and perform well."
Greene, who started as a soccer player at 4, is the fourth consensus All-State kicker at Broadneck and has been selected for the Crab and Chesapeake bowls in December. He fell in love with kicking a football after Rob Niemeyer, a Naval Academy midshipmen hosted by his family, taught him how.
His kicks soon outdistanced the half-acre yard beside his old house in Arnold. The field, about 35 yards long, had 20-foot trees lining one side. Clearing them meant kicking into the street.
"I hit a plumbing truck once and it stopped too, so I just hid behind the bushes until he drove away, but I needed a bigger field."
Greene aims to kick on the biggest field of all in the NFL and he likely will play college football at Navy, Maryland, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt or Cornell. Before he heads to college, he would like to experience one thing he's never done before – kick a last-minute, game-winning field goal.
"I've never been in a game with five seconds left where this has got to be the kick," Greene said. "My coaches are saying, 'You've done every single thing a college coach could want except a game-winning field goal.' I would love to have that."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times