Hunter Hanay has been a valuable kicker for Bishop Blanchet
Seattle Times staff reporter
Bishop Blanchet kicker Hunter Hanay didn’t want to finish high school with any regrets. Not rejoining the football team would have been a regret.
Hanay joined the Blanchet football program as a freshman, but he took his sophomore and junior years off to focus on playing club soccer for Emerald City FC. Last spring, he approached coach Aaron Maul and told him that he wanted to come back.
“I thought I was better at soccer than football, so I thought I could maybe get to college with soccer,” Hanay said.
But Hanay realized he missed football. He missed the community and he missed his teammates, who had been urging him to come back to the team.
The coaches had kept an eye on Hanay during his absence. So when Hanay wanted to return, he walked into open arms.
Maul said it’s been a blessing having Hanay back on the team. The numbers make it obvious why.
In four games, Hanay has made 28 of 29 extra points and 3 of 5 field goals, two of which were for more than 40 yards. He’s also racked up 11 touchbacks.
Some of his talent comes naturally, some of it comes from his soccer background and a lot of it comes from his work ethic, which Maul said is one of his most admirable qualities.
Hanay went to several kicking camps in the offseason, and during practice he spends one-on-one time with kicking coach Nate Basich. In a two-hour practice, Maul said Hanay is always working.
“There’s a lot of self-motivation or self-discipline attached to that,” Maul said.
Basich has been impressed with Hanay. The two work together in team elements that simulate game-time events, and they work solo on kickoffs, field goals and punting.
And Basich agrees with Maul that Hanay’s work ethic is most impressive.
“He’s improved in every aspect of the game in just a few months,” Basich said.
Over the phone Wednesday evening, Hanay never bragged about his talent. The closest he ever came to bragging was when he said his decision to kick “turned out pretty good.” He gave credit to his line for giving him time, and to Cam Martin, his holder, who places the ball “just the way I like it.”
Basich, who was next to Hanay on speaker phone, chimed in.
“If you can’t tell, Hunter’s a humble guy,” Basich said.
But that’s just his personality. He doesn’t let things get to him, and Maul said he can be a little reserved.
“Not a lot bothers him, which is a great attribute to have in your kicker,” Maul said.
Hanay keeps it simple. He knows his job and how to get it done.
“I try to clear my mind of all things around me,” Hanay said. “I focus on having confidence when I kick.”
Hanay could’ve regretted not rejoining the Blanchet football team, but now, he doesn’t have to find out.
Blanchet focused on Bainbridge
In Maul’s four previous seasons at Bishop Blanchet, the Braves have won only one game in their division (the Metro League Mountain Division). That win came in 2009, when they beat Bainbridge, 17-14. Because of this fact, Maul said they’re not in a position to overlook any team they play. Blanchet (4-0) plays Bainbridge (0-4) on Saturday.
• Federal Way opponents no doubt have Chico McClatcher‘s number memorized at this point. In last week’s game against Bethel, McClatcher had a rushing, passing and receiving touchdown. He also almost had a punt return for a touchdown in the 45-18 win.
• Kentwood coach Rex Norris called the 28-27 overtime victory over Kent-Meridian last week a “comedy of errors” – starting with the absence of a bus, causing the unbeaten Conquerors to arrive 80 minutes late. Their starting kicker was hurt during warmups and backup Min Park kicked the game-winning PAT. Kent-Meridian, which led 21-13 in the fourth, has not beaten Kentwood since 1995.
Times staff reporter Sandy Ringer contributed to this report.