THREE AMIGOS HAVE KICKS AT WORK AND HOME

Buddy sys­tem reap­ing re­wards three points at a time dur­ing Lau­ther’s stel­lar sea­son

Regina Leader-Post - - SPORTS - DAN BARNES dbarnes@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/sports­dan­barnes

Brett Lau­ther’s 15 min­utes of fame are still tick­ing away slowly and sweetly, 1.3 sec­onds at a time, and even now he’s not nearly fin­ished get­ting his kicks.

He’s fi­nally on a CFL joyride, but it felt more like a mer­rygo-round for years. The job, the pay­cheque and his re­cent rel­a­tive fame in Saskatchewan are the end prod­ucts of an odyssey that oc­ca­sion­ally de­fied logic and was good mostly for his Air Miles ac­count with vary­ing but mostly fleet­ing stints in Hamil­ton, Toronto, Mon­treal, Ot­tawa, Ed­mon­ton and Regina af­ter get­ting drafted by the Tiger-cats in 2013.

In this, his third crack at the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers’ ros­ter, he fi­nally grabbed the brass ring, leaped off that merry-go-round and stuck the land­ing. If you care to tor­ture the metaphor, Jor­gen Hus ac­tu­ally snapped the brass ring to Josh Bar­tel, who held it for Lau­ther to kick through the up­rights: all in a span of 1.3 sec­onds.

They are a close-knit team of three spe­cial­ists within a larger team of Roughrid­ers get­ting ready for the West Divi­sion semi­fi­nal Sun­day against the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers. Hus is the gre­gar­i­ous long-snap­per from Saska­toon, Bar­tel the wise­crack­ing holder and punter from Aus­tralia, Lau­ther the me­thod­i­cal kicker from Truro, N.S.

Not only do they sit side by side by side in a cor­ner of the mam­moth Rid­ers dress­ing room, they also live to­gether in a Regina house with Lau­ther and his girl­friend in the base­ment and Hus and Bar­tel up­stairs.

And they all cite the liv­ing con­di­tions as a rea­son for Lau­ther’s un­her­alded suc­cess. He booted 54 of 60 field goals, in­clud­ing two from 56 yards out. No other CFL kicker made a longer one all year.

“We’re to­gether lit­er­ally 24/7, but it’s awe­some be­cause our per­son­al­i­ties re­ally mesh well, so we never have any prob­lems that way,” said Hus. “It just helps us on the field. It helps our chem­istry. We’re al­ways talk­ing at home. If the tim­ing is off or some­thing isn’t just right, we’re al­ways able to work though it.”

So does Hus snap the gro­ceries from the trunk of the car to Bar­tel on the front lawn for Lau­ther to boot through the open front door?

“You know, I prob­a­bly would, but when Bar­tel is done hold­ing and catch­ing (snaps), he’s done, he doesn’t want to do any ex­tra,” said Hus. “If it was up to me, I’d be snap­ping can­taloupes down the aisle, but he holds me back. We’ve got a re­ally good bal­ance that way. He knows when to say when.”

Bar­tel de­cided to say when a cou­ple of times Fri­day in the bit­ter cold of a Regina af­ter­noon prac­tice at Mo­saic Sta­dium. Hus fired a cou­ple of long snaps back 13 yards to Bar­tel, who let the ball clang off his hel­met.

“The kan­ga­roo mitts were get­ting a lit­tle cold,” said Hus. “He didn’t want to catch those. Those balls were like rocks to­day. He’s a warm-weather guy.”

Bar­tel said it was less self­de­fence than com­mon sense.

They have a grand time to­gether, wher­ever they are. At home they make sure to cook and eat to­gether of­ten, es­pe­cially when it isn’t bloody cold out­side.

“At the start of the sea­son we were cook­ing heaps be­cause we had the bar­be­cue fired up,” said Bar­tel, who may have thrown a shrimp on it once or twice. “So it was the bar­be­cue and a cou­ple Coronas to get us through ev­ery night.”

Ev­ery day at prac­tice, they’re found in a clus­ter, talk­ing and jok­ing and get­ting in the ap­pro­pri­ate num­ber of reps. Most days af­ter prac­tice they’re in one car headed home and they all know when to turn off the foot­ball talk.

“We don’t re­ally bring too much home with us,” said Lau­ther. “We try to sep­a­rate the two. When we need to get some ex­tra work in or video at home, we do that.”

And when some­body calls time­out, that’s that.

“Some­times I like to go a lit­tle over­board and keep snap­ping and snap­ping, but (Bar­tel) is good at hold­ing me back and say­ing we put our work in, it’s time to re­lax, put our feet up, watch a movie, have a beer,” said Hus.

The rou­tine and the liv­ing con­di­tions have worked like a charm. Ot­tawa kicker Lewis Ward was a vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed three points this year; Lau­ther was the next best thing and he is quick to share it with his house­mates, his coaches and fans.

“It hasn’t just been me by any means. It’s a sup­port sys­tem back home and out here that have been with me along this ride. I’m just try­ing to make ev­ery­thing I can for them. I def­i­nitely don’t want to let any­one in this room or this prov­ince down.”

MATT SMITH/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Roughrid­ers kicker Brett Lau­ther has made 54 of 60 field-goal at­tempts, suc­cess he at­tributes to holder Josh Bar­tel and long-snap­per Jor­gen Hus.

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