Stratford’s Tekac enjoying second chance

Stratford High’s Tyler Tekac will play in Saturday’s North-South all-star soccer classic at Patriots Point.

Having already earned one all-star game opportunity during the 2014 football season, Stratford High’s Tyler Tekac will put an official capper on his prep career with a second all-star game appearance on Saturday as he participates in the North-South all-star soccer classic.

Tekac is one of six locals participating on the boys’ South all-star team, which plays the all-stars from the upper state at 2:15 at Patriots Point.

The South boys roster includes Roman Brockman of James Island, Jon Milligan and Jeffrey Owens of Wando, and Nick Nybo and Zack Reineke of Academic Magnet.

Academic Magnet coach Jason Hamil and Ashley Ridge coach Nate Harris will coach the South boys’ team.

Fort Dorchester coach Taryn Floyd is a co-head coach of the South girls’ team. Locals on that roster include Chris Sacha and Caroline Smith of Academic Magnet, Heather Blaszak of Stratford, Mary Shirley of West Ashley and Cassidy Govan of Ashley Ridge.

The girls’ contest kicks off at noon.

Tekac was able to pull off the double all-star game senior year by earning a spot on the South Carolina Shrine Bowl team as the placekicker and punter to cap the 2014 football season before closing out his senior year with the soccer selection.

Tekac nearly missed out on the 2015 soccer season with plans to graduate in December but opted to finish out his prep career and attempt to be a two-sport all-star.

“I was really kind of set to graduate and go ahead and enroll at USC, but I decided to stay and play soccer with all of my friends and teammates,” said Tekac, who is an invited walk-on as a placekicker at South Carolina. “I’m happy that I stayed and played soccer for one last season. I’ve had a great time and it’s a nice honor to be chosen for the all-star game.”

Tekac finished the 2015 soccer season with 23 goals and 12 assists. In football, he leaves the highly successful program at Stratford as the school’s career leader in field goals (27) and career leader in scoring for kicking.

Though he found success in soccer at an early age, Tekac decided to give football a try in the eighth grade at the urging of a physical education teacher. He took to placekicking naturally and spent three years as a varsity kicker.

“I loved soccer, and I still do, but I got hooked on football,” said Tekac. “Kicking was really kind of natural for me. I taught myself mostly and I just became very good at it. Once I got accepted at South Carolina, the special teams coach there liked me and said he wanted me to walk-on in August. It’s an exciting opportunity for me.”

Tekac realizes earning the starting nod as a walk-on will be difficult. He is one of three placekickers coming into the program this fall, including A.C. Flora’s Joseph Carlton — the nation’s second-ranked kicker by at least one recruiting service. But competing is something Tekac enjoys and he plans to make the most of it.

“I know I can compete and I know that all of the kickers will push each other so it will make all of us better,” said Tekac, whose early plans are to major in law at USC.

Tekac has not totally ruled out a future in soccer, saying if a college came along late with scholarship money, he would certainly consider changing sports. However, no matter what happens down the road, Tekac hopes to enjoy his soccer all-star experience as much as he enjoyed the Shrine Bowl.

“The Shrine Bowl was my favorite high school memory so far, but this is going to be great also because I know a lot of these guys I’m playing with,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to be out there one more time. I’d love to have an impact on the game, maybe score a goal. But I really just want to enjoy it and have fun. If it is my last soccer game, I want to make it memorable.”