GCC’s Slike will take kicking game to Akron

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Sunday, February 11, 2018 | 2:51 PM


Ethan Slike gave up soccer to focus full-time on kicking footballs.

The senior from Greensburg Central Catholic just “preferred” it that way.

The extra work honing his craft led to an opening at the Division-I level. On Sunday, he accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Akron.

Slike will have a spot on the team and has a chance to earn a scholarship later.

“Playing soccer since I was 3 years old was ultimately what led to my success in football,” Slike said. “Giving up soccer my senior year was a tough decision, but in the end, I think it helped me to better my abilities in football. It gave me more time to really focus on football and not have to be worried about being tired from going back and forth from soccer and football everyday.”

The WPIAL Class A Eastern Conference first-team pick also had offers from Robert Morris and West Virginia Wesleyan and another preferred walk-on opportunity at St. Francis (Pa.).

“Ethan is a great role model to the players and the football program,” GCC coach Aaron Smetanka said. “He embodies what it means to be a successful student-athlete and how hard work will put you in the right direction.”

Slike made all six field goals he attempted last season and was 18 of 18 on extra points for the Centurions. And don't discount his powerful right leg that sent numerous kickoffs into the end zone, and his punts that flipped fields against the ultra-athletic teams of the Eastern Conference.

“When I visited Akron, it just felt right,” he said. “With all the schools I visited, it was the first one that truly felt like home.

Slike plans to major in engineering.

“The opportunity I will have at Akron, academically and athletically, I think is the best fit for me,” he said.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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