Matt Bostic shrugs off talk of being a hero because he's the type of player every football coach wants.
No matter what he's asked to do, Bostic gives his best effort and hopes the chip falls in favor of his team. So far this season, he has come through numerous times as the Cougars' kicker and is a big reason why York is 10-3, its best record since 2006.
Much better than last year's 2-8 team that took its licks but stayed together with the hope of better days.
For Bostic and his teammates, it doesn't get much better than Friday, when the Cougars travel to South Pointe and play the 12-2 and No. 1-ranked Stallions for the Upper State title at 7:30 p.m. The winner advances to the Class AAA state championship game on Dec. 3 in Clemson.
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As York's kicker, Bostic handles punts, kickoffs, extra points and field goals. Twice this season, he's made a game-winning field goal.
The first was against Fort Mill. It allowed York to stay undefeated in the region until its showdown with South Pointe in the final game of the regular season. South Pointe romped and Bostic was not asked to come on and win it.
Last week, he missed a field goal in regulation, and York's game against Daniel went into overtime. Bostic said after York's 10-7 win that all he wanted was another chance. He got it and nailed a 20-yard field goal that sent his team into Friday's Upper State final.
"Sure it felt good ... was an awesome feeling," Bostic said of the field goal. "But I don't look at it as something for me. I care more about winning for our team and our community.
"I've kicked since I was little playing in the yard, but started working harder at it when I got to high school. I've never been to a camp, but Spencer Lanning, who kicked here and for South Carolina, has come over a few times ... and helped me. The best thing he told me was not to think about it. Keep my head down, get the right angle and make sure to make the same steps. He's right."
In 2010, Bostic was in a battle with Spencer Carroll and Corey Dover for the quarterback job. Carroll won it over Dover, who was needed to play several positions on both sides of the ball.
Bostic was the team's only kicker and was awarded the job by default. But that in no way was a reflection on his talent.
"I remember the first time I saw him," first-year York coach Bobby Carroll said. "We (South Pointe) were in York for our final game of the regular season. I turned during warm-ups to watch Spencer (Carroll's son) and saw this kid booming punts.
"I walked over and asked if any schools were looking at him. He said not yet, so I told him a lot of college coaches were coming around to watch Jadeveon Clowney and I'd get his name out there. Now I'm coaching him and he's played a big part in us turning the program around."
When Carroll arrived at York this season and got to work with the coaching staff he put together, one of the priorities was to look over the talent and find out if any of the players felt they could play another position.
Jason McManus, brought to York by Carroll from Troy University to take over as offensive coordinator, asked Bostic where he might like to play. Rather than say "quarterback," a position he grew up playing, the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder said, "wide receiver."
Bostic got the chance and has given Carroll a tall, sure-handed option in the passing game. He has 11 catches for 142 yards and a touchdown.
"The expanded role lets me get more excited because I get on the field for more than just kicking," Bostic said. "I had to learn the routes because I had never been a receiver, but it was not that hard because I know them from being a backup quarterback.
"The communication is good between me and Spencer. But he has that with all of our receivers and none of us are selfish about who gets the ball."
Bostic also is a standout on the Cougars' baseball team - one of York's top pitchers and a starter in the outfield off the mound. He believes there will be scholarship offers for baseball but is hoping for a long-shot at earning a grant in football.
Seldom do kickers get offers from bigger schools. They prefer that a kicker walks on and earns a scholarship if one comes available. If that's how it has to be, Bostic decided it's what he will do.
This season he has made 42 of 49 extra points, 6 of10 field goals, has a 33.7-yard punting average that could be better if he wasn't punting to a short field regularly, and averaged 41.5 yards on kickoffs with three touchbacks.
"I worked hard in the offseason working on my kicking and going to the weight room to increase my leg strength," he said. "My hang time is better and my leg is stronger. My longest field goal in practice was a 60-yarder and the longest in a game from 42 out. The 60-yard hit the crossbar and bounced through, but I'll take it.
"Here we are, one game way from the state. We made up our minds after last year that there would be no more 2-8 seasons. We worked hard to get ready for this year and the coaches brought in new attitudes. We have to play well to beat South Pointe, and if it's close and I'm called on, I'll be ready."
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