Peer Pressure Guides Henson Down Golden Path
Sam Henson planned to play soccer at a "big time" level. He has the talent to do so after being named All-State as a senior last fall for the Huskies. He says soccer was his first true sports-love. But he can also kick a football very accurately and quite far. Thanks to some pushing and prodding along his athletic path, Henson will kick the oblong-shaped ball at Concordia-St. Paul.
Henson announced his decision in mid-April shortly after a very positive visit to the St. Paul campus of the Division II Golden Bears. He also felt some great vibes from future teammates through social media during the recruitment process.
He started playing soccer in kindergarten but remembers some gentle suggestions from his neighbors and friends (and football coaches) of the Achterkirch's, Williams', and Solie's around second grade. He was told they thought he would probably be able to kick a football pretty well. Henson said coach Wiese also worked on him during the baseball seasons.
Click the link below to hear the full interview with Sam.
Before his junior season, Henson was invited by football/soccer player David Keller to join him on the football squad in addition to playing soccer. Huskies boys soccer coach Bob Waypa and football coach Jeff Williams have worked together well over the years to accommodate players wishing to do both.
Henson really worked hard last off season with a kicking coach and on his own, "I also just went out and kicked a ton by myself." He usually had to retrieve the balls he kicked, although said occasionally his younger brother would help out.
Letting go of the soccer dream still seemed like a difficult choice for him. He had visited University of Dayton, but an injury during his senior season cooled down that avenue. Henson was very proud of earning First-Time All-State honors with the Huskies as he conveys at the very end of the interview included in this posting.
Henson says things really took off in about January at a kicking camp at Concordia where their current kicker said Henson had the ability to play at the D-II or even D-I level. Sioux Falls, Drake, and Iowa State all expressed interest in him, but Henson is excited to be able to play right away for the Golden Bears.
He says his dad told him, "You've seen this rapid growth (in football) so far. Imagine what you could be like in three or four years from now."
During his senior season for the section champion Huskies, Henson went 5-for-7 on field goals with a long of 34 yards. He connected on 45-of-47 PAT tries. At the time he was named All-District, coach Williams said, "Sam became one of the most accurate placekickers in school history and his ability to kick the ball deep gave our team a considerable advantage. He was instrumental in helping our team win the field position battle."
Williams added after Henson made his decision, "He worked tremendously hard to become a collegiate-level kicker and it is always rewarding to see a kid's hard work pay off for him. He will go down as one our finest kickers ever. Very accurate on his field goals, automatic on his extra points, and he trails only Carter McCauley in touchbacks. He still has room for growth as he continues to mature."
Henson was not able to catch McCauley in the OHS record book, but says he was a big inspiration and hopes to surpass some of McCauley's marks set while at Winona State University, who also plays in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference as Concordia-St. Paul does.
Henson looks forward to reporting the fall camp which is scheduled for August 7 for now. He plans to begin school as an accounting major with a minor is sports marketing or sports management. He said accounting classes at OHS struck his interest.
You can see Henson in the front row, on the left end, wearing the No. 11 in the picture with this article. The photo was taken by Todd Walkingstick. Henson was very well spoken in the interview and expressed his thoughts very well. It will be fun to watch how his career develops with the Golden Bears.
Also read, OHS grad Sydney Schultz just finished her sophomore season with Concordia-St. Paul women's basketball team.