Mitchell Tomasek already gets plenty of attention as the starting quarterback for the Worthington Kilbourne football team.

And as the season has worn on, the junior has shown a marked improvement at the position.

But it's his play as the team's punter that has been one of the bright spots during a difficult season for the Wolves, who are 1-6 overall and 1-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division entering their home game against Hilliard Darby on Oct. 18.

"Our record doesn't really show where we want to be right now," Tomasek said. "But we're going to keep fighting and hopefully pull out some more wins before the year is out."

Tomasek is averaging 47.3 yards per punt and has had 11 of his 35 punts downed inside the 20 -- one more than he had all of last year in three fewer punts.

Tomasek worked on his punting during the offseason, attending a camp run by Filip Filipovic, a native of Serbia who punted for the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, as well as Kohl's Football Kicking and Punting Camp.

"I've done some training with ex-Ohio State punter Ben Buchanan and he's really helped me with my game," Tomasek said. "It's just practice and repetition."

Punting comes down to fundamentals and talent.

"Some guys have it and some guys don't," said Buchanan, a Westerville Central graduate. "It's something that you can't teach. He's a natural athlete and just a fun guy to work with because he really showcases a lot of athleticism."

Buchanan worked one fundamental in particular.

"We really focused on that drop, keeping (the ball) parallel to when it hits your foot," Buchanan said. "I don't care if you have the strongest leg in the world, an amazing squat and lunge and you're extremely flexible and able to get through the power zone quickly. But if you have a terrible drop, it's not going to matter.

"If you have that consistent drop ... you're mitigating those chances to shank one off the side of your foot."

One noticeable statistic shows just how much Tomasek's work has paid off: he is averaging over 10 yards per punt more than he did last season.

Tomasek's play at quarterback also has seen a marked improvement the past three games. He's thrown for more than 200 yards in each of the past three games after topping out at 162 yards in Week 1. He threw for a season-high 308 yards and two touchdowns in the Wolves' 30-14 loss to Dublin Scioto in the Battle of Hard Road on Oct. 11.

"Every week, it clicks a little bit more with him," coach Mike Edwards said. "He's seeing it and understanding more and more and taking ownership of it. We knew it was going to come. He still has a long way to go, but he's starting to take control of that offense.

"(Against Scioto), we had 27 rushes for 34 yards. He got put in a bad place because if you're able to establish a respectable run game in that type of battle, you probably find a way to come out and win. You can't put it all on one guy."

On the season, Tomasek has completed 49 of his 76 passes (64.5 percent) for 536 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

"Anything I can do to help the team win," Tomasek said. "That's what I'm here for."

Darby is 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Cardinal and is coming off a 35-7 win over Thomas on Oct. 11.

The Panthers amassed 290 yards rushing against the Cardinals, led by Connor Jones with 80 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. Darby held Thomas to 141 total yards.

"I'm trying to focus on our issues," Edwards said. "When we do the right things and we play assignment football, we execute pretty well. Some of the mistakes are the same mistakes that we saw two months ago and it's unacceptable. It's undisciplined football, assignment-wise, that we have to fix."

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