Tim Wienclaw had his paws all over Tuesday night's Empire Challenge.

He kicked, he punted, he caught, and most importantly, he tackled. The Kellenberg senior drilled a 26-yard field goal, downed a punt on the City All-Stars' 3-yard line, caught a pass for 4 yards and made a touchdown-saving tackle on UConn-bound kick returner Wilbert Lee. He also hit extra points after both Long Island touchdowns.

"I'm used to it," the omnipresent Wienclaw said about being arguably the busiest man on the Long Island team. "I'm just going out there like there's no pressure on me."

Wienclaw's field goal was a chip shot that split the uprights to put Long Island up 10-0 with 1:40 left in the first. But the game's history suggested a close finish, and the 17-14 LI victory meant that eight of the 17 contests have been decided by five points or fewer.

"I'm taking this seriously, I want to win," Wienclaw said. "I'm just playing my game -- I punt, I kick, I play receiver. I love playing football and I'm just going out and giving it my all."

Wienclaw was used to seeing a lot of action with the Firebirds. This past season, the 6-2, 195-pounder caught 51 passes for 832 yards (second in the CHSFL) with a league-leading 10 touchdowns. He made 29 of 33 extra points, 4 of 5 field goals and netted 42.3 yards per punt.

Roosevelt coach Joe Vito, Long Island's special teams coach, said: "What a weapon. He's a real cool customer -- if we need him to kick a field goal, we know he's going to do a real fine job.

"He's special, he doesn't know he's a kicker."

The last statement was in reference to Wienclaw's beautiful open-field tackle on Lee's 52-yard kick return. With just one man to beat, Wienclaw dove at Lee's legs and wrapped him up.

Later, Wienclaw, who will attend Rhode Island, again used his legs to avoid a rush on a punt, and the boot got a favorable bounce for a net of 56 yards. In the fourth, he punted one out of bounds at the NYC 19-yard line.

The game's rules stipulate only two punts per half for each side, so changing field position is crucial. Wienclaw's best effort was in the second quarter, when his punt rolled parallel to the goal line for about 10 yards before being downed on the 3.

Said Wienclaw: "I'm just enjoying being out here with these guys, doing what I love, playing football."

And playing a lot of it.

More High Schools