Two local kickers eyeing ‘special’ Super Bowl

Two local kickers eyeing ‘special’ Super Bowl
Two local kickers eyeing ‘special’ Super Bowl (Source: AP)

TAMPA, Fla. (WBTV) - As you settle in, grab your favorite Super Bowl snacks, and turn on football’s biggest game, familiar names with close ties to many in the WBTV viewing area will be front and center.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who last won the NFL Championship in 2002, will play defending champs Kansas Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 on Sunday evening. The game kicks off around 6:30 p.m. right here on CBS.

For friends, family and coaches in two communities in our area, this year’s Super Bowl will be extra special.

Tampa Bay kicker Ryan Succop, a Hickory High School graduate, and punter Bradley Pinion, a Northwest Cabarrus alumnus, will be starting in this weekend’s Super Bowl.

To boot, Charlotte Latin graduate Ross Cockrell is a defensive back for the Buccaneers.

Succop didn’t start playing football until he was a freshman at Hickory High School. He was an outstanding soccer player as he was named to the all-state team 3 times with over 100 career goals.

Now, he is playing in the Super Bowl, a game witnessed by millions, football fans and non-football fans alike.

“Never imagined playing in the Super Bowl,” Succop told WBTV. “It’s something you maybe dream about when you watch the Super Bowl and you sit there and go ‘man that would be so cool’ but it never really feels like a reality.”

Succop, in his 12th season, kicked a 46-yard field goal and made four extra points in the Buccaneers’ 31-26 win over Green Bay in the NFC Championship game on Jan. 23.

On the year, he has made 28-of-31 field goals and connected on all but one extra point.

Pinion, who is from Concord, had two punts for 80 yards in the NFC Championship game, both pinned inside the 20-yard-line.

This season, he has punted 55 times, with an average of 45.2 yards.

Pinion is in his sixth season out of Clemson.

Cockrell, who played college football at Duke, has 11 tackles and a pass breakup this season. He is listed on the depth chart as the second-string left cornerback.

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