From Zurlein to Schmiemeier

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His story is as unique as his last name.

John Schmiemeier was going into the year battling for the starting kicker position with Taylor Anderson. After Anderson went down with an injury, Schmiemeier took the starting job as kicker and has worked out well for the Griffons.

Schmiemeier has been at Western since 2010 and has been patiently waiting for his chance to prove himself as a kicker.

The native of Fenton, Mo, did a majority of the punting for the team in his first year.

He averaged 37.5 yards on 22 punts and his longest punt was 53 yards against rival Northwest Missouri State. Schmiemeier also did majority of the kickoffs for the Griffons early on.

For the next two year’s, Schmiemeier would have to battle with transfers from different colleges, including pro kicker Greg Zurlein.

Schmiemeier said that he could not be any happier with how his career has played out here at Western.

He noted that he has been appreciative for every opportunity he has been given.

“I have been given great opportunities,” Schmiemeier said. “I have tried to do the best I can with every opportunity I have had. I’m not mad at anything, just blessed with the opportunities I have been given since my freshman year.”

This year, Schmiemeier has come up big for the special teams side of the squad. His kicking style has made it difficult for the opposing teams to return kicks.

Some of his kicks have even caused returners problems with controlling the ball after it falls out of the air.

“I have definitely progressed since my freshman year,” Schmiemeier said. “Since then I have just been focused on kickoffs and field goals. I have been given the opportunity to do both and I think I have made the most of it.”

Schmiemeier has not missed much the entire year. In fact, he is 6-8 on field goals this year, with 54 being his longest of the season.

His 54-yard field goal is one yard longer than Anderson’s longest field goal from last year, 53.

“In practice, I have made 60 before,” Schmiemeier said. “But coaches have to feel comfortable with the wind and stuff like that so that makes an impact.”

Schmiemeier has the support from his teammates as well.

Tight end, Reggie Jordan, noted that Schmiemeier has made a big impact on games and his kicking style is one of the reasons.

“John has done a lot of improving since the first game of the season,” Jordan said. “To be honest, John sets the tempo with his kicks, making it difficult to get a great return. I’m glad to see he is stepping up when we need him to.”

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