By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PUNTA GORDA/PORT CHARLOTTE — There’s one position in football where the only time you get any attention is when you make a mistake.
While most football players work as hard as they can so people will notice them on the field, Tommy Zozus, Charlotte High School’s long snapper, works as hard as he can so that nobody will ever pay attention to him during a game.
If you do notice Zozus during a game, it likely means he made a bad snap on either a field goal or a punt, but because of that hard work, you haven’t had the chance to notice him yet this season.
“I keep wondering every game ‘Oh. I hope I don’t have a bad snap,’” Zozus said. “You just have to clear your head, believe in yourself, and take a deep breath and snap the ball. I’ve been blessed to have all good snaps this year.”
The senior is rated by Kornblue Kicking, one of the top kicking and long-snapping training companies, as the fourth-best long snapper in the nation, and No. 1 in the state of Florida. Those rankings are among the 49 long snappers who train with Kornblue around the country.
They also have him rated as a five-star long snapper, which would make him Division-I worthy in college, and a potential starter as a freshman wherever he ended up.
“They’ve taught me a lot,” Zozus said. “I was surprised the first time they told me I was ranked No. 1 in Florida.”
Zozus is joined at Kornblue by teammate Kenny Scribner. The sophomore is ranked 39th in the country and fifth in the class of 2019 by Kornblue.
Working with Kornblue has helped elevate the sophomore’s game.
“They fixed my form,” Scribner said. “They showed me how to follow through with the ball. It’s helped me stay consistent. Sometimes we watch film to see the good things and bad things people do.”
Scribner doesn’t get to showcase his leg in field goal opportunities very often since most of Charlotte’s drives end in a touchdown, in which he’s hit each of his 19 extra points so far this season.
He’s 1-for-2 in field goal attempts, with that one miss coming when he hit the upright in Week 2. He has forced a touchback on kickoffs 20 times.
Port Charlotte kicker Devyn McCormick also trains with Kronblue. Proximity says the two kickers should be enemies, but they’re anything but foes.
“We’re really close,” Scribner said. “Just this last weekend our training was rained out with Kornblue so we came (to Charlotte High School) and practiced together with his brother. We always talk about what’s going to happen when we play him.
“It’s weird, but it’s really cool to know my rival is also my friend who knows a lot about kicking.”
McCormick, a senior, is the No. 1 kicker in the nation for Kornblue, and will likely have his choice of colleges by the end of the season.
“The summer going into junior year is when I realized I could really kick,” McCormick said. “It means a lot (to be ranked No. 1). It’s really cool, and it means a lot to my family, and to my friends.”
He is 4-for-4 on field goals this season, with a career-long of 47 yards. He’s 16-for-17 on extra points with the one miss being blocked. McCormick has hit from 64 yards in practice.
Just like Scribner, McCormick reaches the end zone on kickoffs with ease, which is a great advantage for his team.
“It’s huge,” Port Charlotte coach Jordan Ingman said. “If you look at the statistics, when you make a team drive 80 yards to score, it’s a very low scoring percentage. When he has the ability to put the ball in the end zone, and make the other team drive 80 yards, especially in high school, it’s an incredible advantage.”
McCormick’s leg doesn’t just help his defense defend a longer field, but influences the play calling on offense for Ingman, as well.
“It changes the way you approach the game,” Ingman said. “It allows you to be a tad bit more conservative, because you know you have that special teams comfort.”
McCormick and Zozus are on the road for tonight’s Tarpons game against Fort Myers, while McCormick and the Pirates are at home to face Booker.