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Paulson to keep kicking with Tigers

Mitchell kicker Seth Paulson kicks off during a game in the 2016 season at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade/Republic)

Seth Paulson plans to keep kicking at Joe Quintal Field next fall.

The Mitchell High School senior all-state kicker and punter committed to play college football for Dakota Wesleyan University Monday.

Paulson, who was also receiving interest from Dakota State and Northern State, selected the Tigers when head coach Ross Cimpl made a scholarship offer.

“I talked it over with my dad and we both agreed and figured it would be the best decision for me,” he told The Daily Republic Monday.

Paulson didn’t play football for the Kernels until the 2016 season but made an immediate impact as soon as he took the field, putting together one of the best single-season kicking years in South Dakota prep football history. He drilled 68-of-71 extra points, including nine games in which he converted five or more attempts. He was 7-for-9 on field goal tries and didn’t miss a single kick -- 5-for-5 -- in the team’s final four games, including two field goals in Mitchell’s 41-6 Class 11AA state championship win over Harrisburg at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. He made kicks from 25, 28, 30, 32, 33, 35 and 44 yards over the course of the season.

That effort earned him the single-season state record for points by a kicker with 89.

On kickoffs, Paulson averaged 48.8 yards per kick and had 19 touchbacks in 92 tries. He had 24 punts, pinning four inside the 20.

Paulson considers himself to be a kicker that emphasizes accuracy over distance. He said during the season, he was comfortable kicking inside 45 yards.

“I like to be as accurate as possible,” he said. “You don’t want to miss the short ones and obviously, it’s nice to make the long ones.”

Prior to last season, most of Paulson’s high school autumns were spent on the soccer pitch, where he was a two-time all-Eastern South Dakota Conference selection and was a team captain in 2016. Paulson said he spent most of his offseason time focusing on soccer, so the full-time training transition to football will likely improve his game.

“I feel like I’ll excel in kicking, especially since I have more time to put towards football” he said. “Put in a lot of time into soccer in the past and I’ll be able to put that toward soccer."

Paulson is the fifth member of the Kernels Class 11AA state championship team that will play for the Tigers. Spencer Neugebauer, Alex Klingaman, Bryce Geraets and Cody Reichelt have also announced their intentions to play for DWU.

Paulson said he will have to earn his spot to be the Tigers kicker next season and DWU already has two kickers on the roster for 2017. Regardless, he’s fired up to be at the school, where he intends to study business.

“I really see a future with them and we’re going to have a good chemistry together,” he said. “With DWU, they want to do big things and I think it’s an exciting time to be there."