When Jonah Wieland saw his teammate kick during practice, he had to face reality.

"I thought to myself, 'There is no way I'm going to match this kid,'" the Hudson senior said.

Wieland was talking about kicker Grant Gonya, who has set some school records for the Explorers.

So Wieland had to figure out some way to utilize his powerful right leg.

Fortunately, Wieland decided to give punting a try.

It turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life.

Wieland signed a national letter of intent to continue his academic and football careers at the University of Akron Feb. 1.

Wieland, who plans to major in statistics, also considered the University of Dayton.

"The facility is amazing," Wieland said. "They have the same goals as me. They want to win championship games and bowl games. They were the only school that really liked me. I didn't have to go to them. They told me, 'We want you.'"

Wieland, who played on the offensive line for much of his career, averaged 43.3 yards per punt. He had an 86-yard punt during Hudson's come-from-behind 25-24 win over Stow-Munroe Falls and downed many punts inside the 20-yard line.

As a result of Wieland's play, the Explorers shared the Suburban League National Conference title with the Bulldogs and reached the Division II state semifinals for the second consecutive year. Hudson finished 11-3 in 2016.

"I think Jonah is the best punter in the state," Explorers' first-year head coach Jeff Gough said. "He's very selfless and competes every day. Day in and day out, he did what he needed to do to perfect his craft of punting. He is a special talent that is unrivaled in Ohio."

Wieland hopes his success on the high school level continues at Akron. The Zips finished 5-7 overall, including 3-5 in the Mid-American Conference, in 2016.

When he enrolls at Akron, he won't forget about Hudson any time soon.

"It's indescribable the experience I had," Wieland said. "The experience I had here is unlike any other high school in the country. I'll have memories that I'll talk about for the rest of my life."

Gough will certainly miss his jack-of-all-trades' player. Wieland proved something that seems to get lost in the shuffle when it comes to success.

The best teams thrive on offense, defense and special teams to win games.

"Jonah is a fantastic kid who comes from a great family," Gough said. "He's a hard worker. He always has a smile on his face and is a great leader."

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