RSU 9 might have punted away interscholastic fall sports, but that didn’t stop Mt. Blue junior Mason Biello from getting his kicks in anyway.

Biello, a punter and kicker for the Cougars, didn’t get to show off his skills in Western and Central Maine this season, but this weekend he will be doing just that, along with dozens of other high school football kickers in Austin, Texas.

Mason Biello will be the lone invitee from Maine in this weekend’s Kicking World National Showcase in Austin, Texas. Submitted photo

The only participant from Maine, Biello will be one of 90 high school kickers and punters out of 110 invitees to the Kicking World National Showcase.

“I am looking forward to competing in the showcase with all the other kickers there,” Biello said. “I also would like to gain some recognition from colleges at the showcase.”

Biello earned his invite after his performance at a Kicking World camp in the Boston suburb of Medford.

“I ran the camp in Boston in April and in October at Hormel Stadium. And Mason came last year, and he was sort of a rookie, and then he attended again this April and he showed some pretty good improvement,” Kicking World owner and coach Brent Grablachoff said. “But then when he came back again this October, this fall, it was a beautiful weather camp, he was absolutely crushing punts. He got invited as mostly a punter. He can kick too, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how he hangs with the top punters from around the country.”

Biello said he was averaging 40 yards per punt and four seconds of hangtime at the camp in October.

He said the lack of a tackle football season didn’t get in the way of his training.

“This year has been a struggle for sure without any tackle football but we still had practices, and although they didn’t look anything like last year it was still good to be in that routine. I also have been getting in the gym and taking this opportunity to lift and exercise a couple times a week,” he said.

“I have been using the practice field at Mt Blue to kick three days a week. I have also tried to push myself more with my accuracy and length on all my kicks as we have no football this year,” Biello added. “The cold and rainy weather has definitely been an obstacle for kicking, but the way I see it is it won’t always be perfect weather once we can finally return to playing on Friday nights. I like to look at it as more of an opportunity to practice in the bad weather.”

Biello has been kicking footballs since eighth grade, when he switched to the sport from soccer. He moved to Mt. Blue for his freshman year and started taking kicking seriously, and made his varsity debut in a Week 7 game against Messalonskee. He started attending Kicking World camps the following spring.

Mt. Blue’s Mason Biello kicks off during a Pine Tree Conference Class B game against Gardiner at Caldwell Field in Farmington in 2019. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Though he’s only been kicking footballs for a few years, he would like to extend his career past next year’s senior season.

“I would love to continue playing the game of football and it has always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL someday,” Biello said. “While I would love to play football anywhere in college, my first choice would be to play at the University of Maine-Orono.”

Biello will get an opportunity to catch the eye of college coaches and recruiters this weekend, when the weather in Austin will be much more pleasant than the predicted snowfall in Maine. Grablachoff said Biello’s best chance to make his mark is with his punting.

“He’s very consistent. He hits a beautiful spiral, he gets great hang time. And the way he was punting at the October camp, if he can do that again, with him only being a junior, I’d say right now he’s already shown the ability to play at like a Division-II college,” Grablachoff said. “But if he could keep improving, like he did from last year to this year, to next year, I think he could potentially play maybe at a Division-I college, depending on how much he improves his consistency. Because he’s got a pretty big leg. He’s not a really big kid, but he’s got a big leg and a fast leg, which when you hit the ball on the right part of your foot with the right part of the ball, and your leg is quick, that’s what attributes to further distance, and he does a really good job of that.”

Biello agrees that he is a stronger punter than kicker, but he does enjoy the place-kicking part of football the best. He’s only attempted and completed one field goal during a game — “it was from 27 yards out on a cold November evening,” he said — but has hit from 45 yards in practice.

He also kicked some clutch PATs to help the Cougars knock off unbeaten Cony in a playoff game in 2019.

“Kicking in games, I’ve never really gotten nerves, but I think I’ll get some at the showcase because I’ve been preparing for it for so long,” Biello said.

The competition portion of the Showcase can be streamed live Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time at kickingworld.com/live.


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