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Henson named All-State

December 23, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

Henson named All-State: Smithsburg punter consensus pick from all Maryland schools

In two days, Jon Henson went from last to know to first in show.

Now, the Smithsburg senior, who spent his last three years as the Leopards' reluctant punter, has the ultimate honor of kicking up his heels.

cont. from sports page

Henson didn't have to go to school today to find out that he was named the Maryland Consensus All-State punter, different from the uneasy time he spent on Wednesday being informed he was named to the same position on Maryland's small school team.

"I got to school and I had people coming up and congratulating me," Henson said. "They were all telling me that they saw it in the paper or heard it on the radio. I acted like I knew what was going on, but I really didn't know that I was really on the team until I got to read the paper later that day."

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Henson won't fake it today.

The 6-foot, 180-pound guard and defensive end doubled as Smithsburg's punter and slowly built himself to the best the state had to offer with his 41.2-yard average. More importantly, only 12 of his kicks were even fielded.

"He bailed us out of a couple of games with his punts by helping us gain field position," said Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff said. "He had a deceptively low line-drive kick that changed a lot of games. It just seemed like the games we won, we did it because Jon kicked us out of a hole."

Henson didn't exactly volunteer for the punting job, but he made the best of it with his hard work.

"He's low-key," Orndorff said. "When he does well, he almost looks embarrassed. Truthfully, he's been punting well all year long. He was booming kicks back in August ... he was getting the ball six and seven yards further than he had just by practicing."

Henson did the work, but won't take all the credit for his success. Each kick was a testament to his support system.

"I have to give a lot of credit to my line and all my coaches," Henson said. "Without them, none of this would have happened. I had to learn a lot of the basic technique, like following through, angling the ball and dropping it right. I didn't want to do it at first, but now that I'm half-decent at it, I wouldn't mind going on doing it if it happens."

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