Even Cody Gagnon knows, having a kicker on an all star team is somewhat unconventional.
"Last year they had Nate Dick do some kicking, and Keaton Anderson did some punting and that kind of stuff, but I think they normally don't have a designated kicker," said Gagnon."
It takes a pretty impressive kicker to make the Badlands Bowl roster. Gagnon fits the bill. The former West High Golden Bear was 7-8 this past season, with three boots over 40 yards, including a career long of 46 yards, and the coaches see him as a key player for team Montana.
"There's games where, other games I've coached in, where you don't have a kicker, and it's by committee on kickoff, by committee on your onside kick, and usually you always end up going for two," said Montana head coach Mark Sulser. "But having Cody is just a good security blanket, and more than that he's just an awesome kid to have around."
Not being a position player, Cody can't practice like the rest of his teammates. He has to wait until after they're done to work on his kicks. But that doesn't stop him from helping the team in other ways during practice.
"We really didn't think much about it, and he goes 'hey is there something I could be doing?'" said Sulser. "And then all of the sudden he got an endless list of jobs."
One such job is relaying the plays. So while Cody's teammates are learning the X's and O's he's learning how to let them know which X and O to use.
"I don't really get much rest, I've got to learn all the signals as the wide receivers to signal in the plays," sad Gagnon. "And just standing next to coach Sulser, coach Sulser tells me 'here's this one, here's this one' and you've just got to memorize it. It's new for me. I've never really played any other position except for kicker, so it was different. It's nice to learn it though, now I've got something else in the tool bag."
But ultimately Cody is on team Montana to kick. Not to just be another coach.
"My mentality going in is to definitely when they need me to be there for them," said Gagnon. "If they need me to kick a 50 yard field goal I'll be there for them, I'll give it my best effort, and I'll go in with the mentality that I'm going to make it."
The longest field goal in Badlands Bowl history is 45 yards, set by North Dakota in 2005. And as all the position players eye breaking records in this year's game, Cody hopes to put his name in the record books on Saturday.>