University of Missouri

Auburn punter from Park Hill kicks to former high school foes

Updated: 2013-12-08T03:38:42Z

By BLAIR KERKHOFF

The Kansas City Star

— Missouri didn’t win the SEC championship, but a Missourian did.

Auburn punter Steven Clark, who attended Park Hill High, completed his SEC career with another excellent game. Clark, a senior, kicked three times for a 40-yard average, and all of his boots landed inside the 20.

Clark has been Auburn’s regular punter for three years and kicked some as a freshman during its 2010 national championship season.

It was something of old home week for Clark, playing Mizzou. He has played basketball with Missouri punter Christian Brinser, who is from Liberty.

Playing for Park Hill, Clark punted to E.J. Gaines, who played at Fort Osage, and Marcus Lucas at Liberty.

“And a lot of my friends from high school go to Mizzou,” Clark said. “It’s been quite a week.”

Clark wasn’t recruited by Missouri or any of the Big 12 schools. He started getting recruiting attention in summer camps and took a visit to Auburn during his senior season. On a rainy night, as he watched Auburn beat West Virginia, Clark fell in love with the campus. He had visited Iowa and Purdue and got some attention from Arizona State, but once he saw Auburn he was hooked.

And he’s delivered. As a sophomore, Clark was an all-SEC punter. He followed that with a strong junior season and is among the nation’s best this season as a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, which goes to college football’s top punter.

In the dramatic victory over Alabama last week, two of Clark’s punts were downed at the 1.

Against Missouri, on a night when offense flowed, two of Missouri’s three possessions that started after a Clark punt resulted in small gains.

“Lately, I’ve been really good at pinning teams,” Clark said. “That’s something I love doing, give a team a long field and putting our defense in a good position.”

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.

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