Despite spending a season on the team, Rowan DuBois still doesn't feel like a football player. Give the Moffat County High School kicker a couple of weeks though, the season hasn't ended.
"They still call me soccer player," he said. "But I really haven't had to do that much for them yet."
Although his size isn't much different from some of the players, DuBois' shoes single him out as someone other than a full-blooded football player.
"I get comments about my shoes," the owner of a bright orange pair of soccer cleats said.
Last week, the orange cleats could be seen breaking through the offensive line of Cortez and were credited for a tackle.
"It was awkward to be on the field," he said. "It wasn't bad, though."
DuBois is 36 for 46 this year in extra points. Last week against Montezuma Cortez, he kicked his first field goal of the season, a 20-yarder.
"It was good to get that first one," he said. "I didn't want to go out there with the game on the line and have it be my first kick."
In his first love, soccer, the senior played sweeper and stopper. He earned Western Slope All-League honors and helped the soccer team to its best season in more than a decade. DuBois' other teammates hope the success carries over.
"He's starting to get his kicking leg back," defensive coordinator and kicking coach Chris Dralle said. "During the middle of the soccer season he was in his soccer style, and he was leaning back and popping it up."
The difference between soccer-style kicking and field-goal kicking has a lot to do with body posture.
"In soccer, you lift your head at the last moment to see where the goalie is," DuBois said. "In football you keep your head down the whole time or the ball will go nowhere."
Dralle drilled DuBois about keeping his head down all season. Now that the soccer season has ended and the kicker is practicing every day instead of once or twice a week, Dralle is seeing more improvements.
"There's no question (he's improving)," Dralle said. "He's turning into a football kicker."
DuBois is the third soccer player to kick for the Bulldogs during the Kip Hafey era. Brad Hurd and Brendan Beachman laced up their soccer cleats on the Bulldogs' football field.
He volunteered to kick for the team last year before school was out. Hafey gave him a football and a tee and set him free.
"My first problem was stuttering when I came up to the ball," DuBois said.
DuBois' kicking has been improving enough that he is sharing time in practice with sophomore Corey Pike as the kickoff kicker.
His increasing confidence and ability as a kicker could help the team down the road in the playoffs. He doesn't want to think about hurting the team.
"If I make a game-winner maybe the 'soccer player' comments will be less," he said. "Then again if I miss it, they'll probably be worse."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.