High School Football

Beaufort High kicker Brady Cormier succeeds with heavy heart

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comSeptember 25, 2013 

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Beaufort High School kicker Brady Cormier is shown Tuesday afternoon practicing his kicks at Beaufort High's football field. Cormier kicked a school-record-tying 52-yard field goal during last Friday's game against Cane Bay. That same week, a close friend died.

SARAH WELLIVER — Sarah Welliver Buy Photo

Brady Cormier kicked into a practice net on the sideline as he prepared for his chance to help the Beaufort High School football team as halftime approached at Cane Bay this past Friday.

As he kicked, he thought about his friend, Kyle Puckett, who died Sept. 16. Brady and Kyle grew up together in Griffin, Ga., before the Cormiers moved to Beaufort and the Pucketts to Opelika, Ala.

Their families remain close.

Before Friday's game, Cormier had dedicated his season in memory of his friend.

His 52-yard field goal just before the half at Cane Bay tied a school record and gave the Eagles a 17-7 lead. He added another field goal from 43 yards during Beaufort High's victory.

The Eagles won by six.

"I prayed 'Kyle, be with me on this; God be with me on this,'" Cormier said. "I know you're going to make me do what I can do."

The 52-yard kick, thought to be a school-record 53 before coaches watched the video, tied the mark set by Mitchell Stewart in 2010.

"The difference is this one would probably have been good from about 65," Beaufort High coach Mark Clifford said. "It cleared it by about 20 feet ... He'll get more chances."

Brady improved to three for four on the season. Seventeen of his 18 kickoffs have gone for touchbacks.

The junior attended camps during the summer at South Carolina, Duke and Auburn, where he saw Kyle for the last time.

The boys were a couple of years apart -- Brady was best friends with Kyle's younger brother, Cody.

During the five-on-five backyard football games in Georgia, Brady played receiver, Kyle running back and Brady's older brother, Hayden, played quarterback.

"It was a great time," Hayden said. "I'm never going to forget it."

After the moves, the families saw each other a couple of times a year on hunting trips.

Brady began kicking in seventh grade and works with Lady's Island resident Jeff Abrams, who kicked at Ware Shoals High School.

Abrams mowed and maintained a patch of an overgrown golf hole behind his house in Royal Pines, where he would hit golf balls and where Brady worked on his kicks.

The skill came naturally, and Abrams taught Brady to be precise with his steps and to forget his misses.

Brady attended a national invitational camp in Wisconsin this summer and finished among the top 35 of all classes and emerged as the camp's 11th-ranked kicker in the class of 2015.

He wants to kick for the Gamecocks and attended a home game this year, which included a long chat with assistant coach Everette Sands.

Brady said his teammates help support his college dreams.

"They believe I can do it when I'm on the field," he said. "They believe I can do anything."

Cormier wasn't able to attend his friend's memorial service last week. But he called Cody and talked to Kyle's mother, Regina.

Kyle graduated this year from Opelika High School, where he had played football for a team that played for the 2012 state championship.

"I dedicated all my achievements this season," Brady said. "Anything I earn, it's all going to Kyle."

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