OLYMPIA — A blocked punt is one of the lowest percentage plays in football, one that requires skill, timing and luck.
Neverthless, opponents should beware: Jakob Racimo has South Sound’s highest percentage of blocked punts.
Not only is the Capital High senior the team’s punter (25 percent of his punts have landed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line) and a two-way starter at tight end and outside linebacker, but on occasion – and by choice – he’ll line up at end in hopes of turning an opposing team’s punt into a game-changing play.
Posting results that would represent a career for a lot of players, Racimo has blocked four punts over the past three games.
In fact, all of Racimo’s contributions during that span – where the Cougars outscored opponents, 132-20, in three victories heading into Friday’s 7 p.m. 2A Evergreen Conference showdown with W.F. West at Ingersoll Stadium – were eye-popping.
• Two blocked punts against Centralia, and two more against Black Hills, one that led to a safety, the other a touchdown return by Jacob Johnson.
• Six touchdowns — four on offense (catches of 29, 26, 16 and 14 yards), two on defense (36-yard interception return, 36-yard fumble return).
Capital coach J.D. Johnson said the start of 2A EvCo play renewed the team’s sense of urgency after the Cougars opened the season 0-4, and Racimo is leading the way.
“It’s almost like he’s a man possessed right now,” Johnson said.
But credit Racimo’s growing development in soccer as a source for his punt-blocking abilities.
Three years ago as a freshman, he turned out for soccer with little experience at goalkeeper, yet his 6-foot-2 frame and strong hands propelled him into the starting role. In two seasons from 2011-12, he has notched nine shutouts.
The coordination for blocking punts and saving shots goes hand in hand, Racimo said.
“I know how to throw my body out there,” he said. “That’s what happens on punts.”
Said Johnson: “He stretches out perfectly for the ball.”
Racimo thinks his high success rate on blocked punts starts with timing.
“It’s all about the snap,” Racimo said. “If you don’t get a good read on the snap … if you jump (offside), that’s a penalty. If you’re late, you don’t get there. It’s a lot of timing, and you have to make sure you don’t get blocked.”
Teams have taken extra notice of Racimo as of late, and it goes beyond his special-teams play. His mobility within the Cougars’ Wing-T offense means he line up tight or roll out as a slot receiver or wideout.
Racimo has been sophomore quarterback Cody Jenkins’ top target with 188 receiving yards on 11 catches, and his play in all phases over recent weeks is a big reason why the Cougars (3-4 overall, 2-1 league) can lock up a postseason berth with a win over the Bearcats (6-1, 2-1).
“He’s made things easy for me,” Jenkins said. “He’s made catches that probably would have been drops on bad balls from my part. He finds ways to get open, and when he’s not, he still makes plays.”Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/ south-sound-sports-blog @megwochnick