SCHENECTADY — When Holy Trinity football coach John Barber called for a squib kick just before halftime in last week's game against Canajoharie/Fort Plain, he got the strangest look from Wil Lawson.
"He does not know football," Barber said of the Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons senior. "I wanted to squib kick, and he goes, 'What's a squib?' I told him to kick it hard on the ground, and he did it just how I wanted him to."
Lawson is catching on fast in a game he never previously played. He grew up playing soccer, and this fall season he is playing for both the ND-BG boys' soccer team and his high school's combined football team with Catholic Central.
"Their kicker graduated and they needed someone," said the 5-foot-11, 150-pound Lawson. "They figured the soccer team was the best place to look."
Holy Trinity didn't pluck just any guy from the soccer team. They got the Golden Knights' best offensive player, one who plans to play at the college level. Lawson scored 27 goals last year and has tallied 11 this season. He is the ND-BG's career goals leader with 73.
"The football team went to the state championship [last season]. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?" ND-BG boys' soccer coach Joe Masi said. "I wouldn't want to hold him back. We are working together to make it happen."
Lawson began his football prep late last school year.
"Last spring, the boys were talking to him about doing it," Barber said. "He came up and asked me about it. I told him what I wanted, and he's been great."
Lawson's first football game didn't start that way.
"In the [season opening] Corinth game, after our first touchdown, he hesitated," Barber recalled. "He looked at me and wasn't sure what to do. I said, 'That's you.'"
Lawson missed that first one, but had been perfect since then until having one blocked in Friday's Week 4 game. He said he is still getting used to football lingo, wearing the pads and a helmet, and having a mass of players swarm after him on extra point and field goal attempts.
"I've played soccer my whole life, and it's a different experience when guys are coming at you," the 17-year-old Lawson said. "The first time I had jitters, but it's gone pretty smooth from there."
Lawson did his first double dip with his two teams last Saturday. That day, he collected two goals and an assist in a 3-2 morning soccer win against Loudonville Christian before following each of Joe Tortello's state record-tying eight touchdown passes with an extra point in a 56-20 afternoon football win against Canajoharie/Fort Plain.
"Last week, we didn't think we'd have him for the [1 p.m. opening] kickoff," Barber said. "We had [Holy Trinity senior] Luke Geddies getting ready. Wil rolled in around 10 of one."
Lawson saw double-duty action again Friday with his soccer team against Northville and in football against Tamarac. Lawson scored two goals in ND-BG's soccer win in Schenectady, then connected on three extra points in Holy Trinity's 27-12 win at Tamarac.
"They [the football team] have something great going on here, and I want to be a part of it," Lawson said. "I know looking back in life, if I didn't do it, I would regret it. It's only been a few weeks, but its been a great experience."
"It's good to see him having fun with it," Masi said. "As a senior it will be one of those memorable things for him."
Lawson kicked five extra points in a 47-12 win over Corinth. In a 35-17 loss to Cambridge/Salem in Week 2, he kicked two extra points and a 27-yard field goal.
"He's got a crazy leg," Tortello said. "He never played football before. He's worked hard at it and become really good."
Barber said soccer would come first for Lawson should there be a game conflict later in the season.
"I see both teams going far," Lawson said. "I hope there isn't any overlap."
Luke Clement handled the kicking chores for Holy Trinity on last year's 11-2 state Class C runner-up team, and he is currently redshirting at the University at Albany. Justin Rohrwasser kicked before Clement, and he's currently starting at Marshall.
"If he [Lawson] wanted to put the time in and train, he could be another college kicker to come out of here," Barber said.