Hayes on display: Red Devils’ senior Addison Hayes talks about his time as a football kicker and a forward in soccer

Red Devils’ senior kicker/punter Addison Hayes (17) prepping during the home game against North Lincoln on Friday, October 25, 2019. (File photo by Michelle Thompson)Red Devils’ senior kicker/punter Addison Hayes (17) punting during the home game against North Lincoln on Friday, October 25, 2019. (File photo by Michelle Thompson)Red Devils’ forward Addison Hayes (5) competing against Maiden on October 2, 2019. (File photo by Marcus Smith)
Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

Not everybody can play multiple sports with success and not everybody can certainly do so simultaneously.

Like his counterpart at Maiden -- Adrian Campos, who plays soccer and football -- Newton-Conover senior Addison Hayes did just that in 2019.

Hayes has proven he can handle the stressful nature of competing in two sports at once as he entered the 2019-20 Fall sports season competing on the Red Devils’ varsity soccer team as a forward, as well as a kicker for the school’s varsity football team.

In rare form, Hayes not only got to compete on both teams during the regular season, but he also had the honor of taking his talent in both programs into the playoffs. He is currently competing with the football team with the next playoff game set for Friday night against Reidsville in the 2A West.

Hayes has played football all four years of high school but decided to switch things up and play soccer in 2019.

“I have played soccer for the majority of my life, but I decided to drop it my 8th grade year because I wanted to focus on kicking,” said Hayes. “I got into kicking in middle school. I’ve always had a big leg in soccer and the football coach told me to come to a practice one day and try it out. I fell in love with it instantly.”

Hayes said that deciding to play soccer and football concurrently was the best decision he ever made.

“The coaches would both work with each other, so after soccer practice I would head down to the (football) practice field or if the coach (Steven Pack) was doing kickoff team first period, I would tell coach (Angelo) Palozzi and come back up after,” he said.

Hayes said that he thinks he has a little different approach to each sport.

“For soccer, my approach is to give everything I got in both practice and games, go in for every header, be aggressive, (and) run as hard as I could,” he said. “But for football, it’s a little bit different. Kicking is more of a mental game than a physical game in my opinion. A solid mindset is key to being successful and consistent because if you miss a field goal and you down yourself, you’re more than likely going to miss the next one. So, I try to keep a positive mindset every time I kick a ball.”

So far this season, Hayes has converted on 6-of-9 field goal attempts, including a season-long 37-yarder.

In terms of point-after attempts, he’s converted 40-of-46. In last week’s playoff win over Thomasville, Hayes went 4-for-4 on PATs, as well as punted the ball for 102 yards on three attempts. He’s even made four tackles in 2019.

As far as his sole season in soccer, he scored eight goals and earned five assists.

“The best memory I have of soccer at Gurley Stadium was the playoff game against Fred T. Foard (on November 9) that went into penalty kicks and we ended up winning,” said Hayes. “We tied them the first time (on September 12) so it was nice to finally beat them and especially in the playoffs.”

Hayes said he’s had a lot of good memories in football with one being against West Lincoln on October 11, 2019, in which he ultimately sealed the game with a 37-yard FG conversion down the left hash. Another good memory for him was defeating Thomasville last week in the program’s first home win in 10 years.

When the Red Devils’ football season’s officially over, his will be too.

Hayes said that he is looking to play football on the collegiate level with a few schools in mind, but he hasn’t decided, yet.