Geissler just kickin’ it

German exchange student comes up with season-changing field goal for Colfax
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Matti Geissler’s mission for his year in the United States is to experience as many new things as he can. He can check off his list kicking one of the biggest field goals in Colfax High football history after last Friday night. The foreign exchange student from a small village near Leipzig, Germany put the finishing touch on the Falcons’ 24-21 double-overtime victory in what coach Tony Martello called the best win of his career. Only after he made the kick did Geissler realize the magnitude of the moment. “Everyone told me about (the rivalry) the week before and there was great hype about the game,” Geissler said. “I didn’t think it meant so much until after when people were crying. It was amazing.” Several Colfax players struggled to come up with Geissler’s full name following the game, but it’s tough to blame them. He was a late arrival at Colfax after his initial host family in Turlock fell through. Athletic director Rob Hitchcock was told about the situation and scrambled to help arrange a place for Geissler to stay for the school year. He wound up at the home of Virginia Pankoski. A soccer player in Germany, Geissler opted for football when he found out the Falcon soccer roster was full. He met with Colfax assistant coach Mondo Alonzo to try some field goals and joined the team shortly thereafter. In three PVL games, Geissler is 13-for-13 on extra-point kicks and made his only field goal attempt – a 27-yarder. Placer missed a 33-yard field goal attempt in the second overtime and Martello did not hesitate to send Geissler out on first down for the game-winner. “I was not nervous because I know about what distance I can make,” Geissler said. “It wasn’t much farther (than an extra point). I would have been nervous if it was a bigger distance.” Geissler wasn’t the only unlikely hero in a big rivalry game last week. Earlier in the evening in Granite Bay, Del Oro’s season took another upswing thanks to a field goal from Skyler Rand. The sophomore booted a 25-yarder with less than three minutes remaining to deliver a 24-21 victory for the Golden Eagles, who improved to 4-4. “We really worked on our kicking last week and he had a great week at practice,” Del Oro coach Casey Taylor said. “He came up with a big kick in a big game as a sophomore.” Rand approached Taylor last spring to inquire about kicking for the Eagles’ varsity squad this fall. Taylor gave him a shot and has been impressed with the results. “He has a great leg and he’s getting better every week,” Taylor said. “We feel like he’s going to be a good weapon for us for the next couple of years.” Geissler will have two more years of high school left when he returns to Germany. The 17-year-old said he might try out for the ski team this winter and would like to try tennis in the spring. Now he’s immersed in a football season that he could not have imagined one month ago, when he didn’t understand even the most basic football rules. “I’ve seen football on TV maybe twice,” Geissler said. “I did not watch it for long because it was not that interesting to me. I didn’t understand it. That’s why I wanted to try it.”