For most high school football teams, a good kicker is a luxury. Two? Unheard of. Williams Field has not only the top kicker in the state in senior Blake Ruiz, but his younger brother, Brandon, is the top kicker in the country for the 2017 football recruiting class.
Currently, Blake handles field goals and extra points, while Brandon is in charge of kickoffs. How did the brothers fair in their season opening win against Show Low? Blake hit all of his extra points, as well as a 48-yard field goal, and Brandon limited Show Low’s field position by kicking three touchbacks.
So what exactly is the Ruiz genes that make them such successful kickers?
“A lot of soccer,” Blake said while laughing. Both played the sport growing up before finding the football field.
Both kickers use the sibling rivalry to drive themselves to be better kickers. The recognition they have received only fuels the incredibly high standards they place for themselves.
“My goal right now is to get to 100% touchbacks and 100% on field goals my senior year,” Brandon said.
Older brother Blake has also tried to set an example for his brother to realize these accomplishments and accolades are the product of many years of hard work.
“You really have to put your best foot forward starting your freshman year. There’s a lot of time out here by yourself, just kicking,” Blake said.
While having two special team weapons at their disposal, the Williams Field coaching staff has crafted a way to utilize both kickers, and their roles may change throughout the year.
“We have a plan. We’re not going to talk about it,” Williams Field Head Football Coach Steve Campbell said with a smile. “Come to another game and you’ll see.”