Union Grad Competes for Kicking Job in Waco
By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
When you watch Oklahoma or Oklahoma State play football against Baylor this fall, you could see a familiar name kicking extra points and field goals for the Bears.
That would be Noah Rauschenberg, who had been a record-setting kicker the previous three seasons for Union, ranking him among the top kickers in the state.
Like many other area athletes leaving the state but staying in the Big 12, Rauschenberg looks forward to games against the Sooners and Cowboys.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “Growing up, OU was my favorite team. I always liked OU. I had OU blankets, OU hoodies, OU shirts and everything. Having former Union players there like Tre Brown, Jordan Kelly and Patrick Fields, it’s going to be fun playing against them.”
Most of that Sooner memorabilia has been done away now that his allegiance is made with the Bears.
“As for playing against OSU, my parents, a lot of my family and friends are OSU fans,” Rauschenberg said. “Plus, with C.J. Moore and Braden Spicer there, it will be fun playing against them too.”
Rauschenberg committed to Baylor and signed in February. He chose the Baptist university over Tulsa, Houston and Arkansas.
In his senior campaign of 2018, Rauschenberg kicked 10-of-16 field goals, including a school record 54-yarder against Edmond North, 3-of-5 field goal attempts from outside 50 yards, and 50 of 66 kickoffs for touchbacks. Since the 2016 season, he booted 36 field goals and 185 extra points.
“The reason I chose Baylor, first of all, the academics are really amazing,” Rauschenberg said. “It’s a school that I thought would help me with my future and there was also a real possibility for me to start as a freshman. The coaches, the players and the family atmosphere on campus, it just felt like home. I felt like that was where I was wanted and that was where I needed to be.
“I think one of my strengths is that my kickoffs, at this level they are at right now, I could fight for a starting spot,” he added.
Many football kickers started by playing soccer. Such was the case with Rauschenberg, who began playing in the fourth grade. Eventually, he took his kicking skills to the gridiron.
By 10th and 11th grade, I got serious and started going to camps,” he said. “That’s when I got serious that kicking was what I was going to do in college.
“All the camps I’ve been to have really been fun,” Rauschenberg said. “You make some lifelong friends, which makes it an amazing time.”
A memorable moment came at a Chris Sailer camp in Las Vegas. Sailer kicked for UCLA in the late 1990s and now puts on what is considered the most prominent camp in the country for potential college placekickers, punters and long snappers.
“He put me on the spot to make a 50-yard field goal in front of about 200 people and I made it,” Rauschenberg said. “That was definitely an amazing moment.”
Favorite NFL kickers of Rauschenberg’s are Adam Vinatieri, Stephen Gostkowski and Justin Tucker.
“I like how accurate they are,” he said. “I like how precise they are and they do everything over and over again 100 percent right and never do anything wrong.”
Rauschenberg does hope to one day be kicking on Sundays. He is a fan of the six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and claims Tom Brady to be his all-time favorite player.
“Being a kicker is a head case,” Rauschenberg said. “If you mess up, you have to go out with the mindset that you’re going to make the next one. You have to forget it (the miss) and move on to the next kick.”
He is now in Waco training for the 2019 season. But, he is grateful for the mark he made on Union football.
“It will always be a part of my life,” Rauschenberg said. “It will always have a special place in my heart. I can’t thank my coaches enough for helping me be the hard-working man I am.
He was a member of Union’s 2016 state championship team his sophomore year. That is what he will always remember most about his high school career.
“That was the happiest moment in my life ever,” Rauschenberg said. “Just seeing all the joy on the faces of everyone involved was special. I was one of the few people to have won a state championship at Union. It is a very big honor.”