In football, a defense’s best friend is a lead on the scoreboard. As long as that’s on your side, there’s simply no way you can lose. But leads aren’t exactly loyal. They come and go.
A defense’s second best friend is a good punter. And senior Ethan Hunke of West Point, Neb., is the best punter in NWU history.
The first-team 2010 AFCA NAIA Coaches All-American averaged 42.9 yards on 54 punts last year to top all punters in NCAA Division III. (By comparison, Alex Henery, the University of Nebraska’s lauded punter and kicker, averaged just one foot more per punt at the Division I level.) Hunke pinned opponents inside their 20 yard-line 15 times. Ten of his punts went for 50 yards or more. His season long was a 71-yard blast.
The value of being able to turn the field like that is difficult to overstate. It relieves the pressure on a defense and forces opponents to earn every point.
Hunke is just the second NWU football player to earn AFCA Coaches All-America honors. The athletic training major holds a GPA of 3.5.