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High School Sports

Football preview: Josh Bryan gives Sierra Canyon a leg up on rivals

Josh Bryan
Sierra Canyon kicker Josh Bryan is a junior with a strong leg.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

There’s a 40-foot-high fence in right field on Sierra Canyon’s baseball field that’s designed to prevent balls from coming onto the football field. Who knew that it would be the baseball players needing protection from flying footballs soaring off the foot of kicker Josh Bryan?

“I’ve always been able to kick far,” Bryan said. “I’ve had that gift.”

He set up his plastic holder on the 22-yard line and sent it so high and far beyond the football goal posts that it easily cleared the net, causing baseball players practicing down the right-field line to stare up before figuring out the unidentified flying object was one of Bryan’s booming kicks.

A 6-foot-1, 187-pound junior who also plays linebacker, Bryan is ranked as the No. 1 kicker from the class of 2021, according to kicking expert Chris Sailer.

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“He’s awesome,” Sailer said. “He’s probably one of the top 10 or 15 that I’ve ever trained from a young age as far as talent is concerned. He’s got incredible athleticism. His leg strength is outstanding and he’s got the mental game of a college kicker. He expects perfection.”

Except Bryan was hardly perfect as a sophomore. He made eight of 14 field-goal attempts and missed on a 35-yard attempt during a 19-17 loss to Brentwood Liberty in the Division 1-A state championship bowl game.

The missed field-goal try wasn’t at the end of the game, but Bryan still took the disappointment hard.

“I was crying in the locker room,” he said.

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Sierra Canyon junior is a top kicker

Every kicker must be prepared for success and failure. It’s part of the psyche requirement to play the position.

“Misses happen,” he said. “I understand in order to be successful you have to fail as well. I can’t keep focusing on the past. I have to look to the next kick. I had to clear my mind. I can’t bring myself down and the team down.”

It took Bryan about a week to move on. His response was to get back to practice.

“You have to look at it and say, ‘Next time, I’m going to make it,’” he said. “I looked up early. My technique was very off. I got too caught up in the moment. The pressure got to me. I went out the next week and started practicing. I went to the same spot five times and I made that spot five out of five times, but the one time I missed it was in the game that mattered most.”

All summer, Bryan was focused on kicking by attending camps and practicing on his own. He’s still going to be counted on to be an important contributor on defense for Sierra Canyon, but make no mistake about the power and accuracy of his leg.

Top kickers/punters

Player, School | Ht. | Wt. | Yr. | Comment

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Josh Bryan, Sierra Canyon | 6-`1 | 187 | Jr. | Strong leg with excellent accuracy

RJ Lopez, Mission Viejo | 6-0 | 175 | Sr. | Has booming leg

Tommy Meek, Palisades | 6-1 | 175 | Sr. | Averaged 41 yards per punt

Miles Mena, St. Paul | 5-11 | 153 | Sr. | Made eight field-goal tries, with long of 48

Chase Meyer, Chaminade | 5-10 | 165 | So. | Kickoffs are routinely soaring into end zone

Jake Moos, Mater Dei | 5-9 | 160 | Sr. | Standout punter

Joseph Rouly, Anaheim Canyon | 6-2 | 180 | Sr. | Top athlete with strong leg

Brenden Segovia, Oaks Christian | 6-2 | 175 | Jr. | Had good summer at camps

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Jack Stonehouse, Chaminade | 6-0 | 170 | Jr. | Top punter from family of punters

Cole Thompson, San Clemente | 6-3 | 160 | Sr. | Navy commit made six of eight field-goal attempts

A look at some of the top high school football players at each position in the Southland for the upcoming 2019 season.


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