East County Sports

Former Scot Rowley booting at Tennessee State

Former Helix High punter AUSTIN ROWLEY will continue his duties as kicker and punter at Tennessee State University.

“He (Rowley) kicked balls off in front of 10,000 people, so he is a proven guy,” Helix coach Troy Starr expressed.

Rowley made a strong first impression with his performance at a Tigers’ scrimmage on Aug. 13, which even brought a roar from his special teams unit.

Rowley averaged 40.9 yards over 43 punts for the Highlanders last season, including a long of 62 in a field-position battle against Cathedral Catholic early in the season.

Rowler is known for his long, high kicks, especially in practice, since the Highlanders usually punted only three or four times per game.

Rowley had 3.9 GPA at Helix, helping the Highlanders’ field position battle all the way to the CIF Championship game. He didn’t have a punt blocked after his freshman year and was a specialist in preventing touchbacks.

He was named to the 2014 Ray Guy All-American team for kickers.

Rowley, a 6-foot, 205-pounder, initially reported interest from Cal Poly SLO, UCLA, Cal, San Jose State and UC Davis.

However, TSU also brought in Rowley just Thursday. He is already expected to push Clark for the starting assignment.

“Rowley’s a really good punter and we want to see what he can do,” coach Rod Reed said.

Tennessee State had Gordie Bunn expected to do the punting duties, as he was set to replace Leon Holderhead, who left the team last week. Also, quarterback O’Shay Ackerman-Carter is also in the mix as the Tigers try to find their new punter.

That meant giving sophomore placekicker Lane Clark a shot along with Ackerman-Carter, a redshirt freshman who is locked in a battle with junior Ronald Butler for the starting quarterback position.

Ackerman-Carter started at quarterback and punter at Trinity Christian High School in Jacksonville, Fla. He averaged 37.4 yards on 49 punts as a senior, with a long of 74 yards and nine punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

“He’s a good punter and right now he’s our second punter,” Reed said prior to Rowley’s arrival.

Ackerman-Carter spent most of Thursday’s morning practice working with the first team at quarterback.

Reed said Clark is at the top of the depth chart at punter.

Clark, who has never punted for the Tigers, connected on 8-of-15 field goals last season, including a 46-yarder.

He also made 26-of-28 extra points and handled almost all kickoffs.

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