The Bonney Lake High football program may have found itself a special talent on special teams in Jacob Rasher.
Last season, the then-junior Rasher wasn’t even on the Bonney Lake football roster. His focus was on the spring sports season and pitching for the baseball team. But football coach Jason Silbaugh saw something in Rasher that the now senior didn’t see in himself.
“We thought his size and his athleticism in baseball would help us here as our punter, because I saw he had a big leg,” Silbaugh said. “He’s right there with what you see with punters in college in college … we think his leg will put us in good positions.”
Yes, it’s a punter that will help Bonney Lake improve upon a 3-7 season from a year ago. It’s the natural athleticism Silbaugh saw in Rasher, who plays first base and outfield as well for the baseball team.
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Silbaugh thought Rasher would be a natural talent with his special teams — just not as much as the senior has shown so far in camp.
“This year was my first time kicking a football,” Rasher admitted. “I did it a few times and the coaches were telling me it was good, so I guess I believe them.”
How good were his punts?
About what anyone would see among Division I college football where the best average around 45 yards per punt with more than four seconds of hang time.
Rasher’s first few punts were better than that.
“He was launching them across the field from one sideline to the other,” Silbaugh said. “He was nailing about the third lane on the other side of the track ... easy five-second hang time.”
It is about 53.3 yards from a high school football sideline to sideline. Rasher lined up deeper than that and punted the football even further.
Since seeing that showing, Silbaugh and special teams coordinator Terry Leifson have been trying to convince Rasher this is where he belongs — on the football field.
“I’ve been coaching for over 40 years now, and I’ve only seen one or two players with his talent,” Leifson said. “I’m telling him he can be great if he wants to be.”
“The coaches have been telling me that,” Rasher said. “That I’m getting what college punters get from their kicks.”
Having a true punter — or kicker for that matter — is a luxury on any high school football team. It’s rare to find that talent.
But the natural talent that is Rasher’s leg is even rarer. It’s the type of talent that can change the complexion of a game.
“We’re hoping he can put our defense in a good spot when we call on him,” Silbaugh said. “He has a special leg that will help us this year.”