The WPIAL isn’t known for producing a ton of elite kickers/punters but they have one this year.
Plum senior kicker/punter Jake Chapla is one of the best kickers Western Pa. has produced in years and has the records to prove it.
Chapla broke former Plum and current Indianapolis Colts kicker Pat McAfee’s school record this year by making a 51 yard field goal this season. Chapla’s strong leg also produced 30+ touchbacks for Plum.
The kicker’s talent isn’t just known in Pittsburgh. Prior to the season, Chapla received an invite to a prestigious kicking camp at the University of Alabama. That was a time that Chapla will never forget.
” To go into football one day in the offseason with Coach Morgan waiting for me with the big envelope with the Alabama “A” on it was exciting”, said Chapla. ” I really didn’t know what to think at first to be honest. I was surprised to see my name on it. To see that they had acknowledged me and invited me down to their camp was exciting. It was an incredible experience getting the chance to go down there and kick.”
Now that Chapla’s high school football career is over, his focus is on deciding where to kick in college. It’s obvious that he has a school that he’d like to kick for.
“My dream school without a doubt is the University of Pittsburgh”, said Chapla. “To play for my hometown school would be a dream come true. I haven’t played football all my life but even as a toddler while playing soccer, it was my dream to play at Pitt. Now it’s my dream to play football at Pitt.”
Chapla took a step towards that by visiting Pitt this past weekend for the Pitt/Louisville game.
“My weekend down at Pitt was awesome. They treat you so well. Getting to be down on the field for pregame is an awesome feeling. I talked to Coach Kabala and Coach Powell.”
Chapla went on to tell me that no offer was extended at the time but they did tell him that they’d be in touch.
Some other schools that are showing interest in him are Army, Colgate, Columbia, Penn, Bowling Green, Akron and New Hampshire and Albany.
Aside from being an accomplished kicker, Chapla is a very good punter. In fact, he told me that the majority of schools are looking at him to handle all the kicking duties.
Handling both kicking and punting would be just like McAfee, a person that’s been a big influence in his life. The Pro Bowl kicker has worked with and continues to help Chapla.
“To have Pat McAfee as a mentor is such a blessing”, said Chapla. ” He is the best punter in the league and to have worked with the best and getting tips from the best just really helped me a million. He’s done so much to help through my mechanics and form, to being mentally tough.”
We’ll keep in touch with Chapla and see if he’s lucky enough to get his dream offer from Pitt.