By Steve Svetovich
The poised kicker lined up for a field goal attempt to win a game, just minutes after missing an attempt to tie it, and he drilled it through the uprights.
Junior kicker Peyton Badyrka hit on a 21-yard field goal with 4.9 seconds left to win the game for the Dunmore Bucks, 13-12, handing No. 4 ranked Old Forge its first loss of the season Friday, September 27, at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
It was Badyrka’s second 21-yard field goal in the contest and came after Dunmore quarterback Steve Borgia led the Bucks on a 61-yard drive on 11 plays to set up the game winner.
“The winning kick felt pretty good,” he said. “My teammates were jumping up and down. It was just a great feeling.”
His missed attempt came with 9:31 left in the game when Old Forge’s Tyler Carey blocked the kick to preserve a 6-3 lead for the Blue Devils.
“You can’t worry about the previous kick or the next kick won’t be good,” Badyrka said. “You have to put it in the past and focus on the kick you are attempting in the moment.”
Badyrka has made four field goals in five tries this season for Dunmore. He has not missed an extra point kick in 25 tries. His longest field goal is 38 yards against Mid Valley. He made his only field goal attempt, for 32 yards in the state playoffs against West Catholic, last season.
Son of Daniel and Johanna Badyrka, Peyton is an honor student at Dunmore. His best subject is computers. He is a member of the French Club, Earth Club and Engineering Club.
Peyton also excels as a three-year member of the soccer team at Dunmore. He plays at the center midfield position. He was All League as a freshman member of the soccer team.
“I love soccer too. It is a great sport.”
Peyton suffered a torn ligament to his right knee and missed most of his sophomore soccer season. He worked hard to recuperate. “I had knee surgery and then it took three months of physical therapy and then another two months in the spring,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work and physical therapy. I wanted to get back on the field and I did for the state playoff football game against West Catholic where I was able to kick a field goal.”
Peyton said he wanted to be a kicker ever since he started watching Justin Yoon of Notre Dame. “My dad and I are huge Notre Dame fans. I started watching the kicker, Justin Yoon, and I wanted to be just like him.”
The scholar-athlete said he has learned a lot from his parents. “They tell me if you want to be good then keep working. Hard work will always pay off.”
Dunmore head football coach Kevin McHale has also been a big influence on the confident kicker. “He tells us to work hard every single day and be more willing than the other team to win.”
Peyton talked about what it takes to be a good kicker in high school. “You need to focus on the kick. You need to tune everything out. You need to forget about a previous miss and completely block it out. Just focus on making the kick.”
Peyton said he enjoys listening to rap music and would like to see Lil-Uzi-Vert in concert.
The hard working kicker/soccer standout said he wants to study computer design/programming in college and play either soccer or football as a kicker.
Peyton said he and his teammates still get to see former Dunmore football coach Jack Henzes in the locker room after every game. “It is awesome seeing him, especially after a win. He looks great. He is doing much better.”
Peyton talked about his future goals. “I want to continue working hard here at Dunmore and go to a college in California to study computers and play a sport, either soccer or football, and keep getting better at it.”