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Toms stands up to kick standard of dad

November 20, 2003|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

Rick Toms might still hold the Boonsboro High School record for extra points in a season, but he lost the family title to his son this year.

Brent Toms broke the North Hagerstown record earlier this season, then set a new family standard with three PATs last Friday in the Hubs 33-13 win over Fort Hill in the Maryland Class 2A West semifinals.

Toms' 35 extra points eclipses the 34 his father made in 1968, his senior season at Boonsboro.

"It's too late for me," Rick Toms said. "I can't go back now and try to kick more. After all this time, I figured someone would have broken the record (at Boonsboro)."

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During a trip to Boonsboro for a freshman basketball game two years ago, the Toms family discovered that the record, though tied once, still stood.

"He never really said anything about it, but we were walking up the hall at Boonsboro and Dad called me over," Brent Toms said. "He pointed up at the wall and there was his name."

The similarities in Rick Toms' 1968 season and Brent Toms' 2003 season are eerie. Both teams finished the regular season 10-0 with nearly the same number of points - the '68 Warriors scored 335 points to the Hubs' 331 this year.

At one time this season, Brent Toms said he didn't think he would get enough chances to top his father.

"Then we got (Bryan) Slater and Rigo (Valentin) and Derrick (Keith) going," Toms said. "It's because of them and the line, my snapper (Dean Staley) and holder (Chris Bumbaugh) that I even got the opportunity."

Like so many youngsters, Toms played soccer from the time he was 5 years old. He played junior football through eighth grade, then was faced with a choice when he reached high school - football or soccer.

Toms said he started working with his father on his kicking, booting the ball toward an old barn in their back yard. He said he kicks 25 to 35 balls each night to build his strength and sharpen his accuracy.

"Rick works him pretty hard," North coach Danny Cunningham said. "We told him over the summer that Brent was going to get his record this year."

In the process, Brent Toms has become one of a rare breed in Washington County football - and, to an extent, Tri-State area football. He's one of only a handful of players in the area whose sole purpose is to kick.

Cunningham said he's kept Toms out of offensive and defensive roles for most of this season because he doesn't want one of his valuable weapons lost to injury.

"He's a huge weapon. He's our secret weapon," Cunningham said. "If not for a couple of slip-ups on the line, his percentage would be higher. He's automatic."

Toms hasn't had much of a chance to showcase his range this season, hitting only three field goals. Still, Cunningham said his kickoffs, which routinely send returners inside their own 5-yard-line, are yet another reason the Hubs have had so much success this season.

And even though Toms seems to have found his niche on the gridiron, he'd still like to get more involved in the game.

"To see the other guys hit, it gets my emotions up and I want to get back out there," Toms said. "I think next year I'm going to try to be a linebacker, like my Dad was."

That must be music to the ears of Rick Toms, a father who likes being involved with his son.

"I love working with him and coaching him," Rick Toms said. "And he just has so much fun with football."

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