By Rick Smith
SUDBURY TOWN CRIER
SUDBURY — Life sometimes takes the strangest twists and turns. Here Wayland's Brian Nowak was one weekday at the end of his freshman year at Assumption College out on the football field, messing around with his buddies, kicking field goals in his bare feet.
Even shoeless, Nowak, who played soccer, hockey and lacrosse in high school, nailed a 40-yarder.
That weekend, the Greyhounds played their spring game, a contest that Nowak watched with interest. But more importantly, the younger sister of one of Nowak's friends came up to Worcester that weekend and brought his soccer cleats with her.
``I went out with my of my buddies that weekend and was fooling around kicking field goals on the football field,'' said Nowak, now a 20-year old junior. ``One of the assistant coaches walked up to me and asked me if I went to school at Assumption. He asked me what year I was. He had me kick 20 balls on the spot and then told me to come to his office on Monday.''
After meeting with head coach Cory Bailey, Nowak underwent some more mini tryouts.
``By Friday, I was on the team,'' said Nowak.
Just like that, Brian Nowak was back playing a sport he hadn't played since youth football.
Last year, he was behind a transfer student from Purdue for the team's number one kicking job. He took the experience as a learning year.
``I sat back and took it all in,'' said Nowak, a 6-2, 175-pounder. ``I was under the radar. But in spring ball I did very well and now in the fall I got the job." Nowak admits to feeling anxiety at being thrust into the kicking spotlight.
``I was pretty nervous,'' he said. ``Expectations were high going into the season. I really had the butterflies going. But then I settled down and just kicked. Kicking is a mental game. Besides if you get too serious, you lose the point of the game.''
Nowak also handles the punting duties for the Greyhounds. ``Yeah, I punt too,'' he said. ``I'll hit a good one and then a bad one.''
In terms of field goals and points after, there is no such inconsistency. Going into this past weekend's game against Stonehill, Nowak was 11-for-15 on field goals and a perfect 31-for-31 on PAT attempts, good for 64 points. He already owns the school record for field goals for a season and a career and is within shouting distance of most consecutive PATs with 37.
Nowak is smart enough to realize that those records are the result of a lot of working parts.
``I have to credit my teammates,'' he said. ``The holder, the snapper have been good and my offensive line has been phenomenal.''
However, Brian Nowak shouldn't discount the effect those strange twists and turns life can take have on the equation.
SUDBURY TOWN CRIER: Brian Nowak owns Hounds records
By Rick Smith