Pub team's kicker jumps in with both feet

Posted: May 03, 2012

TWENTY, 30, 40 years from now, people still might be discussing Howard Lynn's upcoming performance at Lincoln Financial Field.

Hopefully, they'll do so while talking out of both sides of their mouths.

Such an approach would not qualify as a sign of disrespect. In fact, it would be quite the tribute, seeing as how Lynn is ambifootrous.

Yes, you read that correctly. When Lynn, a 6-3, 210-pound senior at Northeast High, performs kicking and punting duties for Public vs. Non-Public in the 38th annual Philadelphia Eagles City All-Star Football Classic, set for May 10, 7:30 p.m., at the Linc, he will be using his right foot for the former and left for the latter.

Don't all scratch your heads at once.

"I still don't feel it's strange, but everyone sure asks me about it," Lynn noted Tuesday after completing his classes. He was standing near Northeast's baseball field and a guy kept whizzing past on a riding lawn mower.

He added: "By now, I don't even think about it. If I try to punt with my right foot, it's a mess." Mower delay. "The ball goes off my shin. Flies everywhere. Looks like I can't even play soccer. Punting leftfooted. It's just natural. I can kick the ball leftfooted as far as I can with my right." Mower delay. "But I have to hit with my toe. It just feels so weird, though. Like I'd be throwing lefthanded."

Lynn then mentioned that Northeast coach Chris Riley installed a play in which Lynn would run a few steps to his right and then punt with that foot, hoping to catch the opponent off-guard.

"The very first time, he found out that idea wasn't going to work," Lynn said, laughing. "Ball went about 25 yards. Lot different than 40."

Lynn is a three-sport athlete and his original fall endeavor, back in his youth, was soccer. He does nothing else in his life rightfooted or righthanded, but when he started to play goalie, it just seemed natural to grab the ball with his right hand and drop it down to his left foot for boom-it-outta-here purposes.

Even now, he thinks he's a much better punter than kicker (and he received third-team honors at that spot on the Daily News All-City Team).

Erik Zipay, of Simon Gratz Charter, the coach of the Pub squad, concurs.

"Legit boomers come off that kid's foot," was how he put it.

Mind you, Lynn was no placekicking slouch. His three varsity seasons produced 70 points, thanks to 52 PAT and six field goals. And in soccer, he twice helped the Vikings advance to PL finals.

In baseball, he stars as a pitcher-first baseman (minor back issues have moved him out from behind the dish) and is also quite the team leader from the vocal/nurture standpoint.

The middle school buddies with whom Lynn has lost touch would be stunned to see him now, seeing as how he has dropped 50-odd pounds over the last 4 years.

"I didn't really do anything special," he insisted. "Just working hard at sports made it happen, with two in the fall and baseball in the spring. I'd gain weight in the winter while I'd wind down and take things easy a little, but then I'd lose it again with baseball."

Maybe like many kids in this game, Lynn has never seen the Eagles in person. Four Vikings teammates - tight end Daquan White, linebacker Michael Brown and linemen Jordan Jones and Josh Wallace - also are part of the Pub squad.

"This is going to be so awesome," he said. "I'm already excited about just getting onto the field. We had our picture session recently at the Linc, but we didn't go on the field. We were standing behind the goalposts.

"The Pub beat them last year. We'll be looking to put a smackin' on them this year, too."

Lynn lives on Magee near Algon, about seven blocks northeast, and is bound for Lock Haven to major in business management.

"I want to own my own business," he said. "Not sure what kind yet. As soon as I find my strong point, I'll jump on that real quick. I messed up with my grades a little bit here, but that won't happen in college. I'll be taking out loans, spending my own money, so I'll be working hard and really staying focused."

Which sport(s) will he play?

"Don't know yet," he responded. "I'm going to talk to the coaches and see who'd like to have me. I'll walk on and try to earn some scholarship money from there."

Rightly so, the decision should be left to him.


Contact Ted Silary at silary@phillynews.com.

Online high school coverage at philly.com/rally.

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