GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WJBF) – Midland Valley’s football team has been the talk of the town so far this season: 6-0, and only getting better.
But this past Friday night, the team got to see a special moment of history, beyond the phenomenal start to the season.
During their win against Swansea this past Friday, Junior Kicker Peyton Waters tied a record that his father, Josh, set for this same program more than 20 years ago.
“It’s great, it means a ton to me.”
Peyton’s been the Mustangs starting kicker for the last three years, but then he reached new heights when he scored 11 points in last Friday’s win against Swansea.
“I love that Coach Chaptman and the team have put trust in me over the past three years, and they know I can make the kicks,” said Waters.
Even with all the accolades, he’s only been playing football for the last 5 years.
Prior to his days in the helmet and pads, he played soccer. Then his 7th grade year came along, and his dad talked him into trying football.
“It wasn’t a question he was going to play football,” said, Josh. “And he was going to kick. If he wanted to do any other position that would be up to him, but I knew I was going to teach him to kick.”
Josh Waters went to Midland Valley High School from 1996-2000, where he was part of the Mustangs football team as well.
He also went on to play college ball just down the road at Georgia Southern.
But it was during his junior year that he set the school record for the most points by a kicker in a single game.
25 years later–his son tied his original record, and he says it’s a proud parent moment for him.
“Oh man, it makes me proud. I’m gonna be honest with you–I wanted him to beat it! If it’s gotta be beaten, of course I want my son to beat it. But just knowing the fact that he tied it, that’s something that we get to share is pretty cool.”
It’s a time to celebrate for Father and son, but they’ve both learned important lessons from this achievement.
“You’re going to fail at things,” said Josh. “You might not make every single kick–we’ve known that from freshman up. But it pushes you to be better. Learn from the mistake, and get better–and that’s where he’s at this year. We have broken down video, sat down and gone through everything, and we know exactly where he needs to be and what he needs to do learning from the past.”
“It’s great to tie him, but I’d love to beat him one day,” Peyton said.
In terms of Peyton’s future, Josh says it’s “big”.
“I know there’s a lot of great kickers in the area and the majority are seniors, but he can hang with the best of them. He’s getting stronger, he’s getting better, he’s more consistent, so his future is hopefully big and bright.”
Peyton says he could see himself playing at the next level.
“I would love to play in college. So I’m hoping with the kicking and everything that I can get my name out there more, and hopefully this record helps me out a little bit.”
Although he’s got one more season to go, he says he and his teammates have their eyes on one prize for now: the state championship.
“With playoffs and everything, if we keep playing like we do, I think we have a very good shot at it. We have a ton of skill on the team, and we all have faith in each other and believe in each other that we can do this.”
Head Coach Earl Chaptman commented as well, saying that he’s enjoyed seeing Waters grow not just as an athlete, but a person.
“Oh man, it’s been great to see him grow,” said Chaptman. “He was little when he was a freshman, but it’s been great to see him grow in height, skill, and character since he’s been here. He’s come in and made some big kicks for us, and I’m gonna continue to give him the opportunities he’s earned going forward.”
The Mustangs are currently on a bye week, after winning their opening six games.
They’ll return to action on Friday, October 6th, where they will travel to Columbia to face the Aiport Eagles in their first region matchup.
Just as Chaptman mentioned, the plan is to have their star kicker to swing it through the uprights.