Kiski Area kicker showing Division I potential
Kiski Area had one first-team All-Quad East Conference football player last season — the punter. But Adam Mitcheson, an incoming junior, can do a lot more than punt.
Mitcheson could be one of the Cavaliers' most dangerous weapons this fall and one of the WPIAL's best kickers — with a booming right leg that can bounce kickoffs into the end zone and connect on long field goals.
He joined his teammates Monday for the opening day of training camp at Kiski Area High School. WPIAL teams will endure camp for three weeks in preparation for opening night Aug. 31.
A whirlwind, two-week showcase-camp tour this summer allowed Mitcheson to impress Division I college scouts and landed him a national ranking. Now, he is a Division I prospect with big goals.
Mitcheson and his father, John, attended camps in Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
At Youngstown State, Mitcheson was the top performer after a 55-yard field goal. He was selected as one of the top kickers at the 150-participant Penn State camp and also shined at Pitt, where he was the top-rated punter.
And at the Kohl's National Scholarship Camp at the University of Wisconsin, he earned the No. 6 rating in the country for the Class of 2014.
That was among 400 kickers.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Mitcheson has one unofficial college visit. He took a trip to Michigan State as a sophomore.
A pile of college letters from Penn State, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Illinois and several others prove that schools know about Mitcheson. Now, he awaits his first scholarship offer with two years of prep football ahead.
“I have to improve a lot,” said Mitcheson, who made a 45-yard field goal last year against North Allegheny at Davis Field. “I want to get better and keep working on my game. My dream is Division I for sure. I just want to kick in college.”
Practice has been non-stop for the Mitchesons, who often head to Highlands, Valley or Kiski Area for workouts.
“It could be raining or 100 degrees, it doesn't matter,” John Mitcheson said. “We try and kick on all kinds of weather. I tell Adam, ‘You're not going to kick when it's 65 and sunny are you?' If it's raining and storming, I say, ‘Let's go.' ”
Mitcheson, who gave up soccer in seventh grade but also plays baseball and basketball, said his longest punt is 73 yards with a 4.2-second hang time. He's kicked a 63-yard field goal during a practice at Highlands.
Overall last season, he was 3 for 4 on field goals and made 42 of 46 extra points.
Mitcheson is a student of Jon Bouchat, a Natrona Heights insurance agent and volunteer kicking coach. Bouchat sees major college potential in Mitcheson, who began kicking in eighth grade.
“The kid is so down to earth,” Bouchat said. “The thing is, you can't tell if he makes or misses. You don't know (by his reaction). He has kicked some of the longest field goals I have ever seen. With wind, you're talking about 65 to 67 yards.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.