Meekins getting his kicks with the Pack

Published 7:50 pm Friday, August 29, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Justin Meekins has been helping the Washington Pam Pack get a leg up on the competition for four years now.
The versatile football player, voted the WDN All-Area First Team kicker in his sophomore and junior seasons, got off on the right foot to start his senior campaign. Meekins nailed all five of his PATs, while adding a career-long 41-yard field goal to boot in a season-opening 33-12 win against North Pitt.
After failing to convert a field goal last year, Meekins couldn’t have asked for a better start this year.
The field goal came in roughly the same spot where he attempted one last year in a 14-13 loss to New Bern. The field goal would have given Washington the win, thus ending a 37-year winless drought against the Bears.
Meekins, who has hit from 55 yards out in practice, didn’t let that miss effect him Friday night, as he easily split the yellow uprights at J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium. After nailing the kick, which would have been good from 46 yards out, Meekins ran to the sideline and was immediately congratulated by Pam Pack special teams coach Fritz Tanner.
Washington head coach Sport Sawyer said the long field goal was a huge plus for his kicker.
Meekins, who converted 45 of 54 PATs last year, also handles the punting and kickoff duties for Washington. He averaged 35.9 yards per punt his junior season.
Meekins punted the ball three times last week, averaging 33.3 yards per blast. The senior plopped down a beauty that landed inside the 10-yard line.
Tanner, who wants to see Meekins average 37.0 yards per punt this year, said height can be just as important as distance on punts.
In order to have his best season yet, Meekins, who caries a 4.3 GPA, was smart enough to know that he needed to get stronger. He spent countless hours in the gym during the off-season.
Along with trying to bulk up, Meekins attended kicking camps at Wake Forest, Duke and Elon to improve on his skills. Attending the camps also allowed Meekins to showcase his talents to various scouts and coaches.
Called up to the varsity squad during his freshman season, Meekins has spent the last few years as the Pam Pack’s kicker and punter.
He’s added a couple new hats this year. Meekins is a starting defensive end, finishing with a sack and a handful of tackles against North Pitt, while he’s also a back-up receiver.
Meekins doesn’t get many breaks during the game.
Tanner believes the multiple roles that Meekins handles is beneficial.
Tanner believes that the encouragement from Meekins’ parents, Allen and Lisa Meekins, also helps.
Meekins is hoping he’ll be good enough to play in college.
That decision can wait. For now, Meekins wants to end his prep football career in style.
For Meekins and the Pam Pack, now that would be a kick.