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July 24, 2014

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PREP FOOTBALL:

Green Valley High place kicker aims for national prestige

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Green Valley High kicker Nolan Kohorst verbally committed to the UNLV football program just days after Bobby Hauck’s arrival in late December.

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Green Valley High junior kicker Nolan Kohorst practices last week in preparation for a national kicking combine Saturday and Sunday at UNLV.

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Green Valley High junior kicker Nolan Kohorst practices last week in preparation for a national kicking combine Saturday and Sunday at UNLV.

Green Valley High junior place kicker Nolan Kohorst is ready to make a splash on the national stage.

Kohorst, who has proven to be the most reliable kicker in Southern Nevada the past two years, will compete in the Chris Sailer National Kicking and Snapping Event Saturday and Sunday at UNLV.

The seventh annual combine will draw the top punters, kickers and long-snappers to compete in front of college coaches for a highly respected national ranking. The ranking is used by colleges to offer scholarships, which are hard to come by for kickers.

"It's all about getting my name out there," Kohorst said. "Right now I'm real local. I'm drawing interest from schools, but it's pretty limited to the West Coast. I don't think recruiters look at Nevada as much, and when they do, they look for the top running back or quarterback. Kickers have to work harder to get noticed."

Kohorst, who hit 10 fields goals this season with a long of 54 yards, already has a scholarship offer from UNLV and has been in contact with Utah. Others school are sure to follow if Kohorst duplicates his success from the past fall — he was also 21-of-22 on extra points — at the combine.

"Nolan, for us, was the difference in a lot of games," Green Valley coach Matt Gerber said. "We're not the biggest team or the fastest team, so special teams have to come up big for us and Nolan is a big part of that and a big reason we were successful this year."

Kohorst, a first-team All-Sunrise Region selection during the past two years, hit field goals of 51 and 54 yards in a victory against Coronado on Sept. 26. He was 10-of-14 on field goals as a sophomore in 2007, also hitting 21 of 22 extra points.

"To have a kid who can consistently hit field goals and consistently hit them from 50 yards out, that's something you just don't see often at the high school level," Gerber said. "When we see Nolan go out on the field, we expect him to make it."

Kohorst trains with former UNLV kicker Darren Libonati, whose son, Nick, was Green Valley's quarterback. Darren Libonati has a history of working with potential Division I kickers, also tutoring Tommy Sieler (Nebraska), Nick Garritano (UNLV), Randy Lund (Oregon State) and Tim O'Reilly (UNLV).

Libonati said Kohorst is progressing ahead of his other pupils.

"Going into his senior year, Nolan is way ahead of the other guys," Libonati said. "He has the ability to listen and grasp what it means to deliver a nice swing."

This will be Kohorst's first appearance in the combine. He has heard stories of the intense competition that takes place. In preparation, he has recruited his older brother to accompany him to practices — he works out every other day — and try to direct him while he kicks.

"It's real competitive and I heard they talk a lot of trash," Kohorst said. "I've never experienced anything like that but I wanted to be prepared so I have my brother scream at me or criticize me and try to get in my head."

Jared Harmon can be reached at 990-8922 or [email protected].

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