Photo by Robert Turner
Grainger Today Correspondent
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) and the Tennessee Football Coaches Association (TnFCA) recently announced their All-State team members in each of the six high school football classifications. On both All-State teams, the All-State punter of the 4-A classification teams was Zac Courter from the Grainger Grizzly football squad.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Courter on his reaction when told that he had been named to the All-State team as a punter. “My jaw just dropped when Coach Tate told me and made me believe that it was true.”
In selecting Courter, both associations decided on an athlete who has worked diligently to raise the level of his punting skills over the past three years. The result was a consistent punter who averaged 38 yards per punt and frequently flipped the field with the distance and hang time of his punts putting the opponent in poor field position and forcing them to drive the ball long distances for a score.
“Zac has been our punter for the past three years,” said Tate. “First and foremost, he is a great athlete who has put a lot of time into developing as a punter. He and Coach (Barry) Liles have spent a lot of time after practice over the last three years and that has obviously paid dividends. Punting is a big part of the game, and Zac has been such a weapon as a punter and as a quarterback who helped us win ball games. It’s a great honor, and one he’s work hard to accomplish.”
Unlike most punters, Courter did not have the luxury of simply being a punter and working on his skill during practice time. Instead Courter, as the quarterback for the Grizzlies, posted impressive credentials as he rushed for 513 yards and passed for 515 yards over the 10 games in which he played. In addition, he scored seven rushing touchdowns and threw four touchdown passes. He was equally effective in scoring two-point conversions after touchdowns. He carried the ball for nine two-point conversions and passed for six additional two-point conversions as he racked up 72 points on the season.
“Over the past three years, Coach Liles and I have worked on my punting after practice,” said Courter. “Every Monday after practice Coach Lyle would point out what I could do better, and I would work on it. It just shows that practice and dedication is what you have to have if you want to improve. There’s no way around that. I want to thank the coaching staff, as I wouldn’t be where I am without their help and encouragement.”