Ben Abercrombie watched his older brother, John, set school records during his four years as Mountain Pointe High’s kicker. Now Ben, a senior, has broken them all in his fourth year as the Pride’s kicker. Eric Newman/AFN Staff
The legs of the Abercrombie family have been a staple on the Mountain Pointe High sideline for much of this decade.
Senior kicker Ben Abercrombie is among few players on the Pride – a team that’s a lock for the playoffs nearly every season – who has played on the varsity for all four years of high school, just like his older brother, John Abercrombie, did.
A soccer player who realized he could utilize his kicking leg on the football field, John began kicking extra points for the Pride in 2011, and converted 108 of them by the time he graduated in 2014.
In 2015, his little brother, Ben, took over.
Ben Abercrombie said there was initial pressure to live up to his brother’s legacy. People expected him to be just as good.
“Everybody always used to call me ‘Mini-Cooper’ because I was his little brother. It’s interesting, and it was definitely something to strive for,” Ben said.
By the end of his junior season, Ben had converted 124 extra points and 17 field goals, both breaking his older brother’s school records.
If it was not clear before, those statistics are the validation that Ben Abercrombie has created his own legacy.
“I think I’ve kind of made my own identity now, and I’ve made my own life out of it,” Abercrombie said.
MP coach Rich Wellbrock said Abercrombie is “by far” the best kicker he has coached in high school.
On kickoffs, Abercrombie consistently puts the ball in or near the end zone. On field goals from long-distance, Abercrombie is as reliable as anybody in the state. Wellbrock said the senior’s ability unlocks options that other teams might not have.
“As a coach, you can actually think of a bunch of different scenarios that you can’t use at other places. The depth he gets on his kickoffs and where they go is great. And then, when we cross the 40-yard-line, we’re in field-goal range, and that’s rare.”
Abercrombie’s power as a player lies not only in his right foot, but in his ability to make teammates smile and feel comfortable around him.
Not much of a talker by nature, Abercrombie chuckled at the notion of addressing the team in the locker room or giving a motivational speech at practice. He said he does try to set an example with his focus and preparation.
“I don’t address the team or anything usually, but I try to be there for guys and talk to them one-on-one about staying positive,” he said.
He goes through his own routine on the sideline while the rest of the team practices on the field. Pride players often look over to Abercrombie and yell encouragement as he kicks into the practice net.
“He’s a quiet leader, and the guys always know he’ll be ready when his number is called,” Wellbrock said. “Whether it’s in the locker room or on the field, the guys love being around him.”
Cameron Rasmussen, a junior who trains with Abercrombie and likely will succeed him as Mountain Pointe’s kicker in 2019, has seen first hand how calming of a presence Abercrombie is in big moments.
“He knows how to act in certain pressure situations that other people would crack under. He can handle the big moments,” Rasmussen said.
On a team that has playoff aspirations and hopes to score a ton of points again, Abercrombie likely will continue to pile onto his school record. He added four extra points in the season opener against Pinnacle on Aug. 24.
The brothers talk about kicking and handling senior year, and Ben said John still motivates him to work harder.