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Pacheco overcomes injury for record kick

On October 1, Austin Pacheco of the Carson City (Nevada) Carson High School football team etched his name into the National Federation of State High School Associations’ National High School Sports Record Book when he kicked a game-winning 64-yard field goal with just 27.4 seconds left in the Senators’ 27-24 win over Reno (Nevada) Bishop Manogue High School.

As a result, the 6-foot, 170-pound senior now holds the dual distinction of kicking the fifth-longest field goal in high school history, as well as the second-longest in Nevada state history. Interestingly, the record-holder in both instances is a fellow Nevadan ‑ Dirk Borgognone, who kicked a 68-yarder for Reno (Nevada) High School on September 27, 1985.

And to put it into perspective, Pacheco’s kick was longer than the National Football League record of 63 yards, which is held by Tom Dempsey of the New Orleans Saints, Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos and Sebastian Janikowski of the Oakland Raiders.

While Pacheco’s performance is clearly very remarkable from a pure athletic standpoint, making it truly amazing is the fact that just 11 months earlier he sustained a leg injury that not only jeopardized his playing career, but his life.

During Carson’s Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Northern 4A Regional semifinal victory over Reed High School in 2010, Pacheco sustained a deep-tissue bruise in his right (kicking) leg.

Three days later, he collapsed in his school’s hallway and was subsequently diagnosed with compartment syndrome. With bleeding occurring inside the quadriceps muscle of his right leg, Pacheco had to undergo emergency surgery. Had he waited just one hour longer, the muscle would have died and the doctors would have had to amputate his leg. Had he waited two hours longer, Pacheco would have bled to death.

After undergoing a second surgery five days later, Pacheco was relegated to a wheelchair and could only watch from the sidelines as his teammates played against Reno (Nevada) McQueen High School in the regional final. He eventually recovered and was able to return to his team.

And as if to prove that it wasn’t a one-time fluke, just six days after his record kick, Pacheco booted a game-winning 42-yard field goal in Carson’s thrilling 31-29 win over rival Minden (Nevada) Douglas High School.

A versatile athlete, Pacheco also plays safety for the football team and is one of the baseball team’s top hitters. 

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