BEREA— The dream started with some PVC and nearly ended when the pressure was enough to burst the pipes.
Having built a goal post in his backyard for fun, Austin Davis, then in junior high school, discovered he could kick a football as well as he could throw it.
Whether it was his penchant for kicking or his continual practice, Davis was talented enough to kick for his high school team.
When it came time for Davis to put his talents on display in a game setting, however, things turned for the worst.
“I was a terrible kicker in high school, I couldn’t handle the pressure,” Davis said. “I made a couple extra points, but I choked on the field goals.”
Unable to handle the duties of a high school kicker, Davis decided that the pressure of being a quarterback was somehow far more tolerable.
“The difference in kicker and quarterback is a kicker, you trot out there, you get one shot. Quarterback, you make a bad play, you go to the next play,” Davis said. “I always thought that (kicking) was much harder than playing quarterback. Quarterback, you just play.”
Clearly, Davis thrived as a quarterback in high school and beyond, so he put kicking away for another day.
As it turns out, that day for Davis came amidst this 2015 season.
“We always have a little fun on Friday with a guest kicker and typically that’s what it is, just watching someone who really can’t kick a ball try to kick a ball, and it’s funny to do,” Davis said. “When we played the Rams I got to go.”
Initially lining up for extra points as did the rest of the “guest kickers,” Davis knew that he was going to put on a show for his unassuming teammates, so he decided to push the envelope.
“I talked Coach Pettine, because I knew I could kick,” Davis said. “‘Hey, let’s try a 40-yarder, let’s back it up a little more.’ He was like, ‘Ok, fine.’ And then, I made it.”
Pettine couldn’t believe his eyes.
"He'd knock through 45-yarders like nothing,” Pettine said. “He’s an outstanding kicker.”
Pettine was so impressed with Davis’ ability that he tabbed him the team’s emergency kicker.
Though the pressure of kicking in an NFL game would be much more than in a high school setting, Davis now thinks he’d assume the aforementioned role, if only to help his team.
“If it ever came up, sure, I’d give it a shot,” Davis said. “Nothing to lose.”
As it turns out, Davis could actually be needed in said spot as early as Sunday.
Cleveland’s current kicker, Travis Coons, has been dealing with a sore groin, but said he’s ready to play in front of some familiar fans in Seattle, where he kicked in college.
“I feel good. It’s just a little sore,” Coons, the University of Washington alumnus, said. “I haven't been there in a while, so it will be cool to go back there.”
Though he concentrates more so on his own abilities as a kicker, Coons too was impressed with the abilities of Davis, who he feels could fill in admirably.
“Austin went out there and he can kick. He's pretty good,” Coons said. “ I think he could do it…He’s athletic enough to do it.”
While Davis might be athletic enough to be the emergency option, when Coons was asked if he was at all nervous about the quarterback taking his job any time soon, the answer was quick and came with a smile.
Cleveland could clearly rely on Davis in an emergency situation, but if Coons suddenly can’t go before Sunday, the team has tried out kickers and has a backup plan in place.
The Browns will travel to Seattle on Saturday before taking on the Seahawks on Sunday afternoon at Centurylink Field.
Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m. ET.
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.