Local footballer atop National Stats with best team in the West
Since grade 10, Kenner Collegiate’s Johnny Mark has been preparing himself to be a kicker.
“My junior football coach told me he thought I had the leg for it” describes Mark.
From then on, he attended countless training camps in both Canada and the US and worked with the University of Toronto’s special teams coach of the Varsity Blues Football Program. Prepare was all Johnny Mark had done.
All he needed now was the opportunity.
Earlier this year, Mark set his sites on the University of Calgary. He sent a tape to head coach Blake Nill, letting him know his intentions to attend and try out for the team.
“We already knew of Johnny,” states the Calgary head coach.
At the time, the Dinos already had Aaron Ifield, an eventual All-Canadian and the all time leader in field goals, as well as a reputable recruit on the way.
“In most cases we would have openly welcomed him,” says Nill
He let the 19 year old know he could certainly come out and fight for a spot, but the odds were definitely stacked against him. Nill wanted Mark to be sure this was the right choice for him. It was a long was to go for a long shot.
Knowing that the school was ranked one of the best in the country, Mark based his decision on its academic reputation and well-respected faculty of Medicine. Calgary’s programming complemented his goal of pursuing a career in medicine after completing his undergraduate degree.
“I was definitely making a decision based on education first and football second,” states Mark.
In a twist of fate, Mark received a phone call from the Dinos head coach in late July.
Veteran kicker Ifield had graduated and the blue chip recruit withdrew his application to the university, making Johnny the sole candidate for the kicker position.
“I let him know to be ready to go,” states Nill
What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each to each new twist of fate. Mark was well prepared.
Since then the Peterborough native has been giving the Dinos a leg up on the competition and in the eyes of the coaching staff “has been doing a fantastic job”.
In his first year as a Dino, Mark is not only the starting kicker for varsity football squad, but sits atop the national stats for kickers in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport football league.
“I try not to think about it too much,” say Mark. “I’m trying to keep it low key”
Mark is tied with McMaster University’s Tyler Crapigna. Both player have identical field goal and punt completions as well as total points. Mark however, holds the edge with a greater completion percentage in field goals in one less game played than his counterpart.
Having lost seven All-Canadians players last season, the Dinos have exceeded expectations in 2011 with a 6-0 record. Calgary sits second in the rankings ahead of last year’s Vanier Cup Champions Universite Laval Rouge et Or. The Western Mustangs, the only other undefeated team in the nation, currently ranks first.
The Dinos are currently preparing to lock horns with the University of Manitoba Bisons. Calgary squeaked out a win in the season opener by our points and the Bisons, who currently sit third in the Canada West Division, are hoping to make up some ground with a win.
Mark and the Dinos will host Manitoba on October 22. Kick off is set for 1:00pm and is available to watch via live streaming at www.canadawest.tv. More information can be found at www.cis-sic.ca or www.godinos.com/football .
As seen in Peterborough This Week: http://www.mykawartha.com/sports/article/1229678–johnny-is-on-the-mark