Tim Kotlar of Tustin High School enjoys the on-the-spot pressure of kicking field goals. When it comes down to him, the ball and the goal posts some 40 yards away, he's content.
But then, there has been a lot of contentment along the Tustin side of the field this year. The Tillers are 8-1, enjoying their finest season since 1955.
And Kotlar, the anxious player often seen pacing the sidelines until the field-goal unit is called upon, has been an integral part of the Tillers' success.
Kotlar, The Times' Player of the Week, kicked three field goals--including a 40 yarder--to lead Tustin to a 9-7 upset over Saddleback Friday.
"It was so exciting; the game was so intense," Kotlar said. "I thought before the game it might come down to a field goal. There was a lot of pressure (being in a key game) for the league title."
The pressure makes Kotlar more competitive.
"I like kicking in those situations," he said. "I get my chance to really prove myself. When I go out there, I hear all the noise (of the crowd), but it's like it's not really there. I block all the nervousness out."
Kotlar has benefited from Tustin's success because he has had more chances to kick.
"Last year was pretty depressing," Kotlar said. "Sometimes I'd sit through a whole game without even getting to go out once. It got to the point where sometimes I didn't even want to go to the games."
Kotlar made 4 of 5 kicks and all 14 PATs in 1985. This season, he has made 7 field goals without a miss and has made 20 of 21 PATs.
"We have no fear when we put him in," said Marijon Ancich, Tustin coach. "If it's a pressure situation, we know he'll step in and make the kick."
Kotlar also plays goalkeeper on the Tiller soccer team and is a high jumper on the track and field team.
"I like (playing) goalkeeper because it helps my kicking," Kotlar said. "But I like high jumping because instead of the football going over the bar, it's you. Mentally, it's the same as kicking field goals. It's just you and the bar and you think 'Bar, come and get me.' "