The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor
The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

‘He goes out there and does his thing’: Sac State kicker earns scholarship

Junior kicker Zach Schreiner was rewarded with a scholarship after his great performance against Stanford.
Chris Woodard
Junior kicker Zach Schreiner has been cool and collected under pressure for the Hornets. He has made all extra point attempts, 9 for 11 field goal attempts and his longest field goals were 44-yards against Stanford and Idaho. (Photos courtesy of the Schreiner family, Ryan Lorenz, graphic made in Canva by Chris Woodard)

In possibly the most emotionally significant game of the season for the Hornets, they are down by three late in the fourth quarter against Stanford.

On third-and-3, senior running back Marcus Fulcher ran up the middle for the gain of 1-yard creating a big decision for Sac State’s first-year head coach Andy Thompson. Do you go for it on fourth-and-2 or do you put it up to the feet of your new junior transfer kicker?

Thompson rolled the dice and made the decision to go with his young kicker.

Special teams marched onto the field, and the crowd erupted. The game was now on the shoulders of the 6-foot-tall kicker from Rocklin.

To any normal person, they would be sweating bullets, but the overlooked local kid wasn’t.

These are the moments he waits for.

The ball was snapped and the crowd got quiet as the ball sailed right through the uprights. Perfect from 44 yards to tie the game.

“I was very confident in our kicker,” Thompson said. “I wanted to give us another chance, we had a couple of timeouts and Zach made me look smart because we made the kick.”

RELATED: ‘They can have him’: Sac State chops down Stanford in a classic

Zach Schreiner had a perfect game, making all three field goal attempts and all three extra points. Schreiner currently has an 88.89% field goal completion rate with only one miss from 40 or more yards.

Sac State junior kicker Zach Schreiner lines up to attempt a field goal Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023. Schreiner is 9 for 11 on field goal attempts this season. (James Fife)

So, how did he stay cool under so much pressure?

Some might say he is born different, others might say he has ice in his veins but he has a more pragmatic response— experience.

“I think being in that situation before has definitely helped,” Schreiner said. “I’ve learned to control my nerves and use that as a strength. I always get a little adrenaline rush running out there on that field, so I always kick better in the game.”

Another game that demonstrated Schreiner’s cool demeanor happened last year when he was at American River facing off against Sacramento City. It was a game that his mother, Michelle Schreiner, remembers all too well.

“We were down by two points with five seconds left in the game,” Michelle Schreiner said. “First league game of the season and they put him back there for a 50-yard field goal and he made the kick and we won the game. That was a feeling I’ll never forget.”

Schreiner’s mother might never forget that moment, but Schreiner said those are the reasons why he plays.

“That’s why I love being a kicker. Some people love you, some people hate you given the situation,” Schreiner said. “I love those scenarios and being able to come up big for my team.”

It’s safe to say that his team appreciates how he “comes up big” because the Hornets announced Schreiner’s scholarship on Sept. 19.

“I loved that,” Michelle Schreiner said. “They made him feel so special and I love the fact that that team like they shared in that happiness.”

Michelle Schreiner said that she heard the news from her son after practice over the phone.
Their conversation was over and right before they hung up, Schreiner dropped the news.

“Oh, wait. There is something I got to tell you. I got a scholarship,” Schreiner said.

That moment might be the embodiment of who Schreiner truly is. Someone who takes everything in stride, doesn’t get too high and doesn’t get too low.

“I think maybe the reason that works for him is because he’s just such a mellow person that he doesn’t go out there and get himself so worked up,” Michelle Schreiner said. “He just goes out there and does his thing.”

Zach Schreiner extends his leg after kicking a field goal for his high school team. Schreiner’s longest field goal for Whiney was 47 yards. (Courtesy of Schreiner Family)

He didn’t initially dream of being a kicker for football. In fact, he didn’t even plan on playing football when he was younger.

His journey as a kicker started when he was a freshman attending Whitney High School.

Michelle Schreiner said they went on a camping trip with some of their friends, who coached the Whitney Junior Warriors program for years. They had kids that were friends with Schreiner and they told him he should join the football team.

“And so he just went out there one day and just started kicking a few and they convinced him and ever since then he absolutely fell in love with kicking,” Michelle Schreiner said.

His mom described him as someone who values his family and wants to remain close to them, but his opportunities would not allow that to happen. That is until American River made a push to get him.

“[AR’s coach] pulled him out of class one day with the athletic director and started talking with him and saying that they would like him to come to AR,” Michelle Schreiner said.

It was a great fit for Schreiner. He made 73% of his kicks and 100% of his extra points while he was with the Beavers.

“Love that great program, all good things, I really developed and matured there,” Schreiner said. “Learned a lot of valuable stuff and was able to just apply that to my game.”

After his tenure with the Beavers had come to a close, he became a Hornet and earned his scholarship facing off on a Stanford field that he was familiar with growing up.

“Growing up, we would go watch some of the professional soccer teams that played there,” Michelle Schreiner said. “That stadium has actually been really, really good to Zach so many years ago, he actually got to walk out and so he has super fond memories of being on that field.”

Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sacramento State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ryan Lorenz
Ryan Lorenz, Sports Staffer
(he/him) Ryan Lorenz is in his second semester at The State Hornet. He is a former Sports Editor for Cosumnes River College's publication, The Connection. He has a strong passion for sports and plans on having a career in sports media.
Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal