Monitoring an outdoor recess period four years ago, Columbus Academy football coach Robin Miller saw a student-athlete who eventually would become an integral member of the Vikings.

Sam Massick, then a club soccer player for Crew SC Academy, was kicking field goals with his friends during the school break and caught the attention of Miller, who at the time was in his first season as coach.

After a quick recruitment, Miller persuaded the then-eighth-grader to join the football program.

Massick soon established himself as one of the top kickers and punters in the area, and he has earned the opportunity to continue his football career at the collegiate level.

"He was at recess," Miller said. "I heard him before I saw him. He was either in socks or Sperry's (shoes) and he was booming them with a crappy little recess ball, a hard ball, and he was drilling them. I knew we had to get that kid (on the football team). I knew he was a good soccer player."

Massick will kick for Princeton, joining former Academy standout kicker Sam Tuckerman at an Ivy League school. Tuckerman, a 2016 graduate, is a senior kicker at Yale.

"(We've had) two straight Division I kickers," Miller said. "We've been lucky ... to have both of them. Both come from great families (that provide) a lot of support. They've worked extremely hard to earn everything that they've been given."

Massick has made all 25 of his extra-point attempts and is 2-for-4 on field goals this season. He also has an average of 52 yards per punt with six punts placed inside the 20-yard line.

"He's a high-achieving kid in just about everything he does," Miller said. "He has the natural gifts, but he works really hard for everything he's done in the classroom, on the soccer field, on the football field."

The Vikings improved to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division with a 49-6 win over Buckeye Valley on Oct. 11. They continue league play Friday, Oct. 18, at Liberty Union.

Last season, Massick was 10-for-11 on field goals and 45-for-45 on extra points, earning him first-team all-state and all-district honors in Division V.

Massick joined Crew SC Academy in fifth grade and played for the club program for six years, including during his first two years of high school. He left Crew SC Academy before his junior year to focus on football as he neared a college decision.

"The Crew was an incredible privilege," Massick said. "I got to play with some of the best players in the country. I had some of the best coaches in the country."

After selecting Princeton, Massick decided to play for the Academy boys soccer team as a senior.

"It's been an unbelievable experience," he said. "Getting to play with your schoolmates has always been a dream of mine. It was truly something that made the experience more memorable. That was something that I missed in club. It's a different feeling playing with your high school classmates and kids you grew up with."

That decision is paying dividends for the soccer team, as Massick has helped it earn the No. 1 seed for the Division II district tournament. A forward, he led the Vikings in scoring with 23 goals and 10 assists through 15 games.

"He's been the catalyst for us," coach Ron Leach said. "He's having a fun year. He's enjoying himself a lot. He missed soccer and it's brought something back to his life."

The Vikings fell to 8-3-5 overall and finished 2-1-3 in the MSL-Ohio with an 8-1 loss to Worthington Christian on Oct. 12.

Massick also has a 4.13 GPA and competes on the track and field team in the spring.

"It's a challenge," he said. "Plenty of other kids are dealing with a lot more stuff than I am related to extra-curriculars. Balancing two sports (this fall) as well as a rigorous course load, it provides its challenges, but my coaches have been great. They've really done an amazing job of allowing me to take rest days."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank