An area of focus for the New Albany football team this past season was their special teams unit. Needing a place kicker, head coach Ron Price pursued found what he was looking for when senior Sonny Harrison approached him about joining the team. Now after a season that saw the Bulldogs achieve their second playoff birth in three years along with a winning record heading into the playoffs, Harrison picked up top state-wide recognition as he was named a second team All-State selection. While his play was a blessing for the ‘Dawgs, Harrison was not the first person Price had in mind at kicker.
“It’s funny because I was actually recruiting his brother,” Price laughed. “He played at receiver in junior high and I had made several calls to him and his parents. One conversation led to another, and Sonny came to me with interest in joining the team.”
Wanting to make the most of his senior year, Harrison felt his soccer skills could make him the player the Bulldogs were looking for.
“I wanted to be apart of something other than soccer my senior year, so I figured football would be a lot of fun, especially since I had a lot of friends playing,” Harrison said. “I gave it a try, and ended up having a lot of fun.”
Harrison started the season 7-for-10 in extra points, and after going 1-for-3 versus Ripley, the coaching staff made changes and Harrison knocked through 28 straight extra points leading up until the ‘Dawgs final regular season game at Tishomingo County.
“For Sonny it was all about confidence,” Price said. “We knew he had the potential, and after we made some changes with our field goal unit, things started clicking and fell into place.”
“The long snapper and holder, Shawn (Smith), Taylor (Goode) and sometimes Drew (Davis) once he was back, we were all just flowing together doing very well. We had a pretty long streak,” Harrison added.
Harrison also sought help from his soccer coach, who like him, played both soccer and football.
“Coach (Taylor) Nichols had to come out and help me. He was a kicker at East Central Community College, so he knows a lot about kicking and how to adjust and where to put the ball, extending my leg, that kind of stuff.”
Ending the 2009 season going 33-for-39 in extra points and making two field goals, earned Harrison not only All-State honors, but he was also named to the 1-4A first team this past Monday.
“That’s a pretty big honor for me. I know my dad is really proud of me, and I’ve been congratulated a lot about it. It’s all really exciting.”
Unsure of if he will continue to play in college, Harrison cherishes the time he had with the team this past season.
“When I look at colleges, I see a lot of classes and having to study a lot, so it will be hard to throw in football with that, but I’m going to see what options I have,” Harrison explained. “I really enjoyed football, and I regret not playing all four years. I enjoyed the Friday nights, running out with the team and just being with them every day before, after and even during practice was really fun. I enjoyed it, and I’m going to miss it.”
“I hope he has the opportunity to continue at the next level and be able to grow,” Price added. “He’s a great kicker who just wanted a chance, and now he’s All-State. Everything just fell in place.”