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Billings West placekicker Spencer Berger: 'It started on YouTube'

Bears' placekicker/punter thriving into title game
Berger West FB.png
Posted at 2:10 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 17:34:01-05

BILLINGS - It's a spot on the football roster everybody thinks they can play — until they try it.

"He's in a position that everybody thinks they can do, but nobody else can," Billings West head football coach Rob Stanton told MTN Sports when asked about Bears' senior placekicker Spencer Berger.

Yet, Berger has never backed down from it.

"I ended up getting hurt in 8th grade, so I just kind of picked up kicking and found that, and I just stuck with it and, surprisingly, it works," Berger said.

Oh, it works. Berger has been nearly automatic for West this season on points after touchdown and field goal attempts. Pretty solid for a guy who works mostly alone in practice.

"He gets zero to no coaching, so he does it all by himself," Stanton said.

Which might lead you to wonder how Berger initially taught himself. Turns out, the same way most of us teach ourselves how to problem solve in 2021.

"It started on YouTube," Berger said. "Then Rob Gagnon (who's son Cody was an all-state placekicker for the Bears) worked with me last year, then I found (former Kalispell Flathead and Carroll College placekicker) Dylan Torgerson who works with some kickers in state and they've both just developed me beyond what I ever thought I could do."

It certainly helped that Berger brought a well-rounded sports background to the table, starting with youth soccer.

"He's a good athlete," Stanton said. "He was (also) a wrestler back in the day and always used to be on the (West football) scout team. He would run routes for us, and when we'd throw to three receivers at one time, he's the quarterback."

Berger is also the Bears' punter, which didn't come easily.

"Punting was always one of my big struggles," he admitted.

Not anymore. Stanton says both his punts and kickoffs are greatly improved. Late in Friday's semifinal win over Helena, he booted a late-game kickoff that almost sailed through the uprights giving the Bengals no shot at a return.

"Everybody thinks they can kick and punt until they actually do it," Stanton reiterated. "We just say, go kick the ball and make it, and he usually does."

West travels to Missoula Sentinel for a 7 p.m. Friday night State AA championship rematch against the Spartans, who won last year's title game in Billings.