North Texas Daily

Mooney kicking his way into the record book for football

Mooney kicking his way into the record book for football

Mooney kicking his way into the record book for football
November 19
12:00 2022

Senior Ethan Mooney was destined to be a kicker. 

After earning kicking duties on his seventh grade team at Timberview Middle School in Keller, Texas, Mooney did not look back. When his coaches tried to get him to switch to tight end due to his frame, he refused, confident that his leg would get him an offer at the next level.

“I played soccer for so long that I had a strong leg, so I figured it would be an easy job to get — I was pretty good at it, stuck with it [and] got a [personal coach] for it outside of football,” Mooney said. [The] next thing I knew I had one offer and I took it.”

Mooney accepted his offer from North Texas and joined the team in 2018 after graduating from Keller Timber Creek High School. 2019 saw Mooney make 16 of his 20 attempted field goals and 43 of his 44 extra points in his first year taking over full kicking duties. He earned an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection following the campaign. 

In the 2020 offseason, Mooney had surgery on his foot to fix a cyst he believes developed from kicking a football the same way continuously. The operation was delayed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier that year, giving him one month to train with a new holder. The result was a season Mooney said he “forced [himself] to forget”. 

“My victory was [at] the finish of the season,” Mooney said. “It was not in every game, it was finishing strong [and] fighting through all the negative comments I was getting.”

Mooney missed seven of his 14 field goals in 2020, including all three of his kicks against the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Mooney also had a field goal attempt blocked against the University of Southern Mississippi, dipping his field goal percentage under 50 percent for the year.

Despite the different variables involved in the 2020 season, Mooney made all 38 of his extra points, amassing a streak of 61 successful point after attempts dating back to 2019. 

“After that year it was game time,” Mooney said. “I have been told I have the ability to go to the next level and I started training like it.”

Mooney saw improvement in 2021, converting on 11 of his 13 field goals and making all 40 of his PATs on the season, moving the streak to 101 in a row. Mooney was awarded another honorable mention All-C-USA selection in 2021. 

“[He] bounced back and put in a lot of work and effort in the offseason trying to get back to what he needed to do,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “He has been a huge asset for our team.”

So far in 2022, Mooney has made all but two of his 17 field goal attempts. A point-after-attempt by Mooney against Western Kentucky University on Oct. 19 was blocked, ending the streak. 

“He is a team guy,” junior quarterback Austin Aune said. “It might hurt personally, but he does not show it.”

After the win against Florida International University on Nov. 15, Mooney stands three points away from former North Texas kicker Trevor Moore’s school record of 313 points. Should Mooney surpass Moore, it would make him the highest-scoring player in North Texas history.

“I had just been playing and focusing on the game,” Mooney said. “Next thing I know I am close to breaking a few records.”

From middle school to his last year of eligibility, Mooney has had doubters. Despite the ups and downs, Mooney continues to use the “negative energy” to power his game and if he tallies four more points during the season, break records.

“I have had plenty of people tell me ‘you are never going to go anywhere,’” Mooney said. “I take it with a grain of salt, use it to fuel me for the next game, and after all is said and done I am going to let my stats talk.”

Featured Image: Senior kicker Ethan Mooney warms up on the sideline at Apogee Stadium on Nov. 5, 2022. Photo by Marco Barrera

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James Carroll

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