St. C.’s Bolyard to kick at Marietta College
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — If Jake Bolyard had been told several years ago that he’d have the opportunity to play college football, he wouldn’t have ever believed it.
When Bolyard — a senior at St. Clairsville — was young, he didn’t even consider being a football player because soccer was his first love.
However, as a 12 year old, Bolyard was approached about joining the junior high football team to serve as the Red Devils kicker.
“Coach (Steve) Hicks asked me if I was interested in playing because the seventh grade team needed a punter and kicker,” Bolyard recalled. “One thing led to another, and they had me for four years (of high school).”
That opportunity has led to another door opening for Bolyard. He recently made his decision to continue his football and academic careers at Marietta College where he will vie to be the Pioneers’ place kicker.
“I feel really fortunate to end up at Marietta,” Bolyard said. “It really felt like a second home when I visited.”
Bolyard was a four-year mainstay at kicker for the Red Devils. He enjoyed a brilliant senior season in which he connected on 33 PAT kicks and a field goal as the Red Devils went 9-1 and played for a regional championship.
“It was a huge honor to be able to play for Coach (Brett) McLean,” Bolyard said. “Being a part of his team and program for four years just felt like family. Everyone was so (close). You’d wake up each day excited to go to practice and be in the locker room with the guys.”
As he begins to transition to kicking in college, Bolyard knows he’ll have his work cut out for him to make an impact for the Pioneers, who are embarking on a spring season in the coming weeks.
“They have a few other kickers on the team, so I’ll have to earn my spot,” Bolyard said. “I am excited to see what happens.”
Because the Red Devils scored so many touchdowns, Bolyard wasn’t called upon as frequently for field goal tries. He was confident and willing, however, to basically kick from anywhere McLean and co. may have asked.
“If the coaches trust me enough to call on me to kick it, I’ll kick it even from anywhere,” Bolyard confessed.
Along with football, Bolyard is a member of the St. C. Singers.
Jake, who is the son of Mike and Angie Bolayrd, plans to major in petroleum engineering.