ST. CHARLES – The Francis Howell Viking football team made history on Dec. 2, 2022.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in,” head coach Brent Chojnacki said.
Don’t misinterpret Chojnacki’s emotions for disblief. He knew what his team was capable for a long time.
“I told the [Athletic Director} when I got the job that this is a place where we could win a state championship,” he recalled. “It took all five, but we made it happen.”
The Francis Howell Vikings won the program’s first state title after an unbeaten 2022 season, defeating Fort Osage 49-21 to finish the job.
The accomplishment was special, and only possible through the hard work and dedication of every player on the viking roster.
Including senior Luke McChesney.
“That dream became a reality our senior year,” McChesney said.
Why point out McChesney in particular? When McChesney is at his best, you probably don’t even notice him on the field.
“I’m the long snapper,” McChesney said.
A unique position, tasked with getting the ball from his hands to a punter or kicker as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“A lot of coaches might take it for granted but it is a weapon,” Chojnacki said. “I’ve been doing it 12 years and I haven’t seen anybody as good as him snapping the ball.”
The numbers support it.
McChesney is among the top 30 long snappers in the country, according the Kohl’s 2023 national Rankings.
“I’m being measured on my snap speed,” McChesney explained. “Right now I’m snapping between a 0.67 and a 0.69 snap time.”
That marks the time it takes for McChesney to get to ball from his hands to a holder’s spot for a field goal.
In the NFL, long snappers perform that task in just over seven-tenths of a second on average, a fraction slower than McChesney’s current averages.
“That’s the end goal,” McChesney said. “I want to snap for the NFL for as long as I can, but first I have to go to college.”
The Vikings long snapper is currently fielding interest from programs across the country. A handful of coaches visited in late 2022, but Coach Chojnacki is expecting more in 2023.
“It’s cool when [coaches and recruiters] come in and one of the first names is, ‘hey I want to talk to your long snapper,” Chojnacki said. “There’s going to be another 30 guys on top of the 30 or 35 guys that have already been in [to see McChesney].”
McChesney hopes to make his college decision in the spring but, in the meantime, will continue to perfect his craft one snap at a time.