Final in a series: Local ‘sleeper’ kickers

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

We’ve talked about two big-time national recruit kickers so far this week in Parkway’s Aeron Burrell and Byrd’s Abram Murray. Today we spotlight several kickers locally who have a chance to become college kickers at some level before they are done with football.

Let’s start with Class 2023 Christobal Dario Gonzalez Cruz, a senior at Bossier High. Cruz is someone who has made many sacrifices to be on the team. He is from Hidalgo, Mexico — San Agustin Tlaxiaca, to be exact.

He moved to the United States in 2016 to North Carolina, moved back to Mexico for a year, and moved to Louisiana with his parents in 2018. He had to learn English from scratch to try and fit in. Cruz has a good leg and could land at a Division II or Division III school. The coaches at Bossier love his leadership and his strong leg.

“Since I was a child I have always worked, and here was no exception,” he said. “On the contrary, I was about to not attend high school because of our economic situation, but thank God we were able to stay on our feet and I was able to continue playing soccer, which opened the door to the beautiful sport of football.

“I remember my father telling me he didn’t want me to play, but after an intense talk with my former coach (Mike) Concillio and (soccer) coach Orlando Medellin, they managed to convince my dad at the beginning of my freshman year of high school,” Cruz said. “I did not know anything about the sport; they taught me everything from scratch and I thank all the coaches who were very hard on me because if it weren’t for them and all the things I experienced within the school, I could never have forged a mentality and leadership I have now.”

Cruz is 5-6, 150 pounds and has a GPA of 3.13. Cruz told me he learned a lot of what he does by watching kicking videos by himself.

Cruz’s hobbies: “I love learning about cars and playing soccer. Soccer comes from my dad; he loves it and that’s where the love of sports comes from. I don’t have much free time since I also have to work outside of sports.”

Cruz told me he would like to major in mechanics and continue to learn about cars.

Next is a late bloomer in the Class 2024, junior kicker John Hoyet Chance (6-2, 195) from Captain Shreve. Chance has a strong leg and could end up a big-time player in college.

“My first instruction came from coach Jimmy Martin,” said Chance. “He was Captain Shreve’s all-district and all-city kicker in 1985. Also, three former teammates helped me out a lot in Thomas Murray (2021 graduate), Mason Ingram (2021 graduate), and Alex Auer (2020 graduate).”

Chance’s favorite colleges: “Honestly I don’t have one favorite school. My dad graduated from Baylor and my mom from LSU so I’ve always pulled for them, but growing up in Dallas, I also follow the Longhorns and Aggies too,” he said.

So far this year Chance has made four field goals and looks to finish strong for a team with the ability to go deep in the playoffs. Chance has a 3.4 GPA and plans on majoring in engineering in college. His dad played basketball for Captain Shreve. Hobbies include playing golf with friends and watching Formula 1 racing with his dad.

There’s such a deep group of kickers in Shreveport-Bossier, and there are more to mention.

Calvary Baptist kicker Garrett Little is in the Class of 2023. He is one tough kicker with a strong leg. Garrett has been a part of the program for four years and improved every year; I think he’s a college prospect.

Haughton has a talented kicker in Carter Ebarb (5-9, 170). Ebarb is a Class of 2024 player with a 3.0 GPA. He made all-district in soccer in 2021 and really loves the Arkansas Razorbacks program.

Also keep an eye on punter/kicker Ben Jump from Airline. He has a big-time leg and started playing as a freshman. He is a Class of 2025 prospect.

Another sleeper you will be hearing about in the upcoming years is a Class of 2025 kicker from Evangel Christian, Kaegan Kent, who started as a freshman for Evangel in 2021. He already has a leg for over 45 yards. His dad is former Louisiana Tech kicker Marty Kent, who trains many kickers in the area.

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