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Oct. 14—Storybook first field goal for Whittier kicker
by Michael Muldoon
HAVERHILL — Kickers never forget their first field goal.
Especially when you waited nearly a decade for it.
Whittier Tech senior Ben Hussey of Newburyport has been kicking since Pop Warner ... for coaches who've always eschewed field goals and even extra points.
He's been a starter or second-string kicker most of his career but last Friday night was the first kicking points he'd ever scored in a game. That includes Pop Warner, Whittier freshmen, Whittier JV and Whittier varsity.
And this wasn't just any field goal. His 30-yarder with 31 seconds to play gave the Wildcats a dramatic 23-22 win over host Essex Tech.
Hussey admits, "The pressure was unreal."
He added, "It was crazy. (I thought) 'Man, I can hit a field goal.' I was definitely nervous. I've hit them hundreds of times in practice."
Ah, but this wasn't practice, Far from it. This was for a varsity win in the waning seconds on the road. And for someone with no career points. To make matters even worse, Essex Tech tried to ice him with a timeout.
"I was ready. I wasn't fazed," said the 5-11, 170-pound Hussey, who also kicks off and punts for the Wildcats. "I'll never have a moment like this again. I can't believe it."
Snapper Luke Hudson and holder Niko Burke did their jobs and Hussey did his for the win.
The kicker/reserve tight end said with a laugh, "I was in total shock that I won the game. It was just disbelief. It's still crazy."
Hussey was the epitome of understatement when he said of his first career points: "I just waited my time."
With his dad, Mark Daigle, a Pop Warner coach, Ben learned not to second-guess the coaches. But just be ready when called.
This was his third career field goal attempt, all this fall. One was blocked and the other just missed from 25 yards.
The Nock Middle School in Newburyport grad has enjoyed the life of Big Man On Campus with numerous Whittier teachers giving him a pat on the back.
His older stepbrothers were also football players. Chris and Tyler Daigle played for Sanborn Regional in Kingston, N.H.
Ben is a carpentry major at Whittier and every other week works 40 hours for his co-op job with Russell Bourque Building and Remodeling out of Salem, N.H.