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Knell kicks his way to all-conference honors
Rocky Mountain College placekicker Nick Knell (4) was named to his college all-conference team this season. Billings Gazette photo

Knell kicks his way to all-conference honors

Dec 2, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

The former Lander Valley High School standout will play in two postseason all-star games.

Rocky Mountain College kicker Nick Knell of Lander ended his collegiate career by being named to the 2012 Frontier all-conference football team.

The former Lander Valley High School standout athlete finished the season 15-20 in field goal attempts for Rocky.

Knell said the number put him second in kicking on the NAIA level for field goals. Knell is listed at 6 feet, 175 pounds.

Rocky Mountain College is in Billings, Mont. Rocky finished the season with a 5-5 conference record and was 6-5 overall.

Career long

Knell's long kick for the season was a 49-yard field goal in a 46-14 victory over visiting Dickinson State.

Knell was also 5-6 on point after kicks for the game, and he had a 56-yard punt to his credit. He was named the conference special teams player of the week for his effort.

"I have a pretty live leg," Knell said. "On kickoffs, I'm hanging the ball up there for four seconds on the hang time."

Knell's goal was to finish first nationally on the NAIA level in field goals.

"I knew that I could have done better, but I finished out pretty strong," Knell said. "I was really trying to get first. On my last field goal, I pulled it and I just missed it.

Knell said his biggest field goal came on a 35-yard kick that put Rocky up by 10 points against Carroll College. Rocky upset Carroll 31-28 in November.

"That was monumental to my career," said Knell about beating Carroll College. "After playing against Carroll College for five years on two different teams was pretty huge to finally beat them."

Knell started out his college career at Eastern Oregon.

With two years left in his college career, Knell moved to Rocky Mountain College.

"The people in Rocky Mountain accepted me and let me in," Knell said.

Eastern and Rocky play in the same division.

"I just want to thank all my friends and family and everybody that put me where I'm at," Knell said.

Coach reaction

"Nick brought a consistent ability to move the football down in field goals or kickoffs," Rocky Mountain College football coach Brian Armstrong said.

This year, Knell also had the punting and kickoff duties.

"I thought that in the kickoffs, he did an unbelievable job," Armstrong said. "He did an excellent job for us. I thought that he improved the most in the hang time on kickoffs."

Armstrong said Knell's longest field goal could have been good from beyond 50 yards. "That was a pretty impressive field goal," Armstrong said. "It was a heck of a kick."

Knell averaged 39 yards on his punts. "We moved around Nick when he punted and did some rugby punts," Armstrong said. "We moved the pocket a little bit. He did a great job with that."

All-star events

Knell is preparing to represent Rocky Mountain College in a pair of all-star events in December.

"I'm pumped to go because there are going to be a lot of NFL scouts and CFL scouts," Knell said. "I'm really looking forward to it because I have never played outside my conference. I'm really excited to show what I have."

The first game will be played on Dec. 9 in Pennsylvania. The second one is slated for Dec. 15 in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.

"It's a great exposure for him and great exposure for our university and our football program," Armstrong said. "I hope that he goes there and does a great job."

The games are between Division II and NAIA all-stars.

"I think that it's going to take more hard work and me doing what I do," Knell said. "I just have to go out there and execute it every day."

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