The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 21, 2014

Joplin's Renken to kick for Lions

Joplin Eagles football coach Chris Shields said he knew from the first day of practice that Brock Renken had a future as a kicker.

The only question was whether or not it was a future Renken wanted to pursue.

You see, Renken grew up loving soccer and was a standout goalkeeper for the Eagles. So Shields wasn’t sure if Renken’s long-term plans included football.

“From the second he stepped out on the field, I knew he had the potential,” Shields said. “But I didn’t know if he had the desire. Soccer was always his primary sport.”

But after two successful seasons as Joplin’s kicker, Renken has made football his sport. Renken (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) signed his letter of intent Thursday at Joplin High School to play for his hometown Missouri Southern Lions.

He picked a college football career at MSSU over playing soccer at Crowder College or Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.

“Right after my junior year, I told myself I had to keep playing football,” Renken said.

During his junior and senior seasons, Renken made 66-of-68 point-after attempts and 10-of-17 field goals. He made 4-of-8 field goals his senior season, but was perfect on all attempts from 40 yards and closer. Blessed with a strong leg, Renken had a long of 42 yards and recorded 28 touchbacks on kickoffs as a senior.

“I never hesitated putting him out there,” Shields said. “All his misses were on me. And none of them were short, they were either wide right or left.”

The soccer-style kicker said he’s accurate on anything from 30 to 45 yards, but that his range can go as far as 55 yards.

After Renken’s senior year, he was named all-state, first-team all-district, first-team all-Ozark Conference and second-team all-Southwest Missouri Football Coaches Association. Renken also was selected as the Eagles’ special teams MVP.

“We’re extremely happy to have Brock join our program,” Missouri Southern coach Daryl Daye said in a news release. “He’s an outstanding young kicker and has the ability to help us out right away. It’s also nice when you can dip into the local talent to help your program. He comes from a great coaching staff, and I’m looking forward to seeing him on our team.”

Renken earned first-team district, conference and regional honors as a goalkeeper for Joplin.

“Both sports bring a lot of pressure,” Renken said. “Being a goalie in soccer, it’s up to you to keep them from scoring. As a kicker, everyone is counting on you to make it.”

Renken said he hopes to compete immediately for the Lions.

“I want to be as perfect as possible,” he said. “I’ll do whatever it takes to compete, and I’ll just see where it goes from there.”

He is the son of David and April Renken.

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