Fargo South kicker Landon Docken has spent his summer improving and impressing


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The special-team ace shone in hosting demonstration camps and had his name inserted into the conversation with some of the country’s top high school specialists. Docken was among the top performers at Kohl’s Professional Kicking Camp in Wisconsin in July and was invited to Kohl’s National Scholarship Camp in Gatlinburg, Tenn. The scholarship camp is the best specialist camp in the country and attracts the attention of top university scouts. and filing services.

He was unable to make it to Tennessee for the scholarship camp, which took place July 24 and 25. But the affirmation of being recognized with an invitation is a motivator to improve.

“It’s really nice to know that all of this hard work you’ve put in is paying off to try and make it to a camp like this,” Docken said. “Everyone is watching this camp. I will work harder to improve myself and try to get another invite next year.

At Kohl’s camp in Wisconsin, Docken, along with about 30 specialists from across the country, received one-on-one instruction from Kohl’s head national coach, Blaine Sidders, as well as kickers from the University of Minnesota Dragan. Kesich and Matt Trickett. They spent time in class studying their film to analyze its shape and find areas for improvement. And they competed to see who could score the longest goals, kick the longest, and hit the longest. He and Bryce Soli, of Sioux Falls, SD, were the top two in just about every contest, Docken said.

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The one-on-one instruction paid immediate dividends for the kicker.

“The kicks are just more than you think they are,” Docken said. “It’s a fluid movement that if you don’t do it right every time – if you change one thing – a kick could go wrong. You can very easily miss a kick if something goes wrong.

Docken’s longest field goal in practice is 55 yards and his longest in a game is 38. His longest kickoff has been 65 yards – he’s averaging about 60 yards on strokes sending – right on the verge of a touchback. He handled South’s kickoff duties last year in sophomore, while Xander Coleman – who now kicks Mayville State – managed most field goals and points. additional. Docken scored a field goal in college last year, plus a handful on JV.

“(Coleman) is probably the person I learned the most from because we trained with each other every day,” Docken said. “This summer he and I trained a few times as well. I really enjoy training with him.

Docken started kicking in eighth grade when his parents, Tina and Justin Docken, encouraged him to transfer the skills he learned in youth football to the grill. He played football from 4 years until the seventh grade. In eighth grade, he asked Ryan Boyer, assistant football coach for the Bruins and teacher at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School, if he would help him with his kicks. Boyer and former Bruins kicker Josh Weiler, who was a Division II kicker at U-Mary, have worked with Landon throughout this school year.

“Her dad and I, my husband Justin, said to her, ‘You know, you were a great soccer player, you know how to place the ball, how to kick the ball. started planting that seed, ”Tina said.“ So he started kicking and he did well and started talking to the football coach. The football coach said, yes, let’s see what you can do. I don’t know if we’re 100% (the reason he started kicking). But we just told him he can kick a ball. And his father is a huge football fan.

Landon has said he hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Fargo kicker Shanley Emmet Kenney, who is now kicking Stanford in the Pac-12. Seeing that it is possible for a specialist to come from Fargo and gain national attention inspires him to continue to improve.

Landon is the latest member of a sort of boom period for the leggy specialists coming out of Fargo. Kenney scored several 50-yard goals last year, including an unofficial record of 58 yards. The same night Kenney hit the 58-yard yard, Fargo Davies kicker Pablo Nunez Perez hit 48 yards.

“Maybe there’s been more attention in our area lately with more camps coming up here and more specialist coaches reaching out to kickers here,” Landon said. “I don’t know (why there were so many good kickers), it’s weird. All of a sudden it started to happen. One guy led another guy to train with each other and then maybe it grew from there.

Landon is already doing his part to inspire and help coach another kicker behind him. His younger brother Keaton will be in his first year at Fargo South this year. The brothers train together and compete against each other all the time.

“It’s fun to watch him try to improve himself to try to be at my level when he gets older,” Landon said. “He wants to try and beat me, and then we’ll see where he goes.”

While sibling rivalry may motivate the siblings, their mom is hopeful that they don’t clash over their heads too much.

“It’s fun that they do this together, it’s a great bond,” Tina said. “It’s a fraternal thing. It will be fun to watch. I hope they will keep competitiveness to a minimum. But Landon leading his brother and brother watching him is awesome. “

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