Even though soccer was his passion growing up, Boonville senior Will Rehagen has found a new sport that he now calls his love.
As a three sport athlete at Boonville High School, Rehagen said football became his first love with soccer and tennis following suit.
Of course Rehagen may not get to finish what he started with spring tennis put on hold for the time being due to COVID-19.
Although Rehagen said he played soccer since he was 6-7 years old and only missed 1-2 seasons the entire 12 years, it was football that found his heart as a junior as a walk-on for the Boonville Pirates football team.
He said it all started 2-3 days before school his junior year.
“A senior football players comes up to me ‘I think it was Carson Campbell’ and said we need a kicker,” Rehagen said. “I was like really, so I called my parents and they didn’t care and told me to do whatever I wanted. The next day I went up to coach Hough and said I want to kick. I told him I had no idea what I’m getting myself into, so I would like to try this out and just see how it goes.
“The first practice coach Hough said set this up and kick and it looked like crap. I didn’t know the steps or anything. I just went up and kicked. I only kicked a football just once before and I was putting up 40 yarders, so it was something I could do and it was a little different with pads on obviously. There wasn’t really a tryout for me. Coach Hough just kind of saw me and saw a little bit in me. I didn’t go to more than 15 practices those two years. However, I made the media all-district team, so now I have a new love of my life and it was just a lot of fun for me.”
As it turned out, Rehagen hit 33 of 36 extra point attempts in two years and was 4 of 6 on field goals, with his longest being 32 yards against the California Pintos in 2018.
Rehagen said he liked football because it was something that he wasn’t tired of and it was a little more welcoming. “It wasn’t grueling,” he said. “I know to trust the process you’ve got to work for it. It didn’t require as much physical activity, which sounds really kind of odd. It just sounded a little more fun and it was a little different and I like change so I liked it.”
Although Rehagen had two scholarship offers-one at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska and Missouri Valley College in Marshall, he said he recently declined the offers unless Mizzou came calling for a walk-on. Rehagen will attend the University of Missouri this coming fall.
“I also had another school interested from Pennsylvania but it was from an e-mail, so I don’t know how interested they really were,” Rehagen said. “It was just a fun experience getting to go on visits with athletics.”
As for the highlight of his career in football, Rehagen said it was either the first round of districts this past season against Oak Grove or the Homecoming game against Osage.
In the Oak Grove game, Rehagen said everybody went crazy after recovering an onside kick and that was pretty cool.
“We had tried onside kicks a lot but we weren’t successful, so to get one against Oak Grove was just crazy,” he said. “In the Homecoming game, I was feeling good that night and I had my first and only ever career tackle so that was cool to have a different stat on the board.”
Rehagen said he is going miss the feeling of kicking a football but will definitely do it on his own. But first he has to find a buddy who wants to snag footballs.
“Football was kind of an escape for me and put my mind off things,” Rehagen said. “I just liked it.”
Of course Rehagen wasn’t too bad in soccer or tennis, either. While playing all four years in soccer at Boonville High School, Rehagen set a record for most goals under coach Kaz Hazell with 17. He said that record actually beat his brother, Luke, who had 15.
Rehagen also recalls having two hat tricks his senior year against Moberly, which still stands out as a highlight in his career.
“I had four goals in one game against Moberly, so of course, that stands out,” Rehagen said. Another highlight was probably in the semifinal game of districts last fall against Marshall. I didn’t have a great game but it was Marshall and that was only like the second time that we have beaten them, so that was really, really cool to say that we beat Marshall.”
Rehagen said he will miss soccer and being around his friends and the bonds they shared.
As for tennis, Rehagen said he took up the game because of his brother and dad.
Although the final chapter has yet to be written for his senior year of tennis, Rehagen has battled just like in football and soccer while moving up in the ranks.
He said after moving into the No. 11 spot as a freshman, the following year saw him vault to the seventh spot-which was just one slot out of varsity. Then, after playing at the No. 3 spot last spring, Rehagen said he was either No. 3 or 4 again this year.
Rehagen finished 3-8 in 2019 at the No. 3 position but played much better than his record.
“Tennis was one of those sports that was just there for me,” Rehagen said. “My brother started because my dad played in high school and I played because of Luke and my dad. My dad also knew a lot about tennis and was trying to get back in it with us. I also had a couple of buddies who were seniors that year and they were like ‘come out and play’. It’s a lot different than what soccer and football are obviously. It was a lot of fun whenever we went out and played and I kind of developed a new love for it. I also needed a break from the others so I went to it.”
While the season is still up in the air, Rehagen said it’s been pretty tough not knowing whether they are going to play or not, especially since they were scheduled to be back on Monday and now it’s been changed to a month from now.
“Like I said, tennis was just another one there for me so I’m not too worried about it,” Rehagen said. “I was just there for the fun of it. I am disappointed that I won’t be getting a varsity letter this year and get to finish the job.”
In his spare time since school has been out, Rehagen said he continues to do his homework and get in a few hours at the local YMCA with cleaning everything. Rehagen was also scheduled to go to Europe, which he said will surely be canceled due to COVID-19.
As for his hobbies, he said he likes playing video games and hanging out with his mom and dad with projects around the house.
“We’re building shelves and redoing the kitchen,” Rehagen said. “I just like spending time with my family and these few months left that I have before hopefully going to college.”
Rehagen said if he and his classmates get to have a graduation, he would be speechless. “I remember the first day of my freshmen year and thinking like, wow, in four short years I will be walking across the stage,” Rehagen said. “I didn’t take any of it for granted. One step at a time and now I’m here.”