Kjellsten has that special touch

Punter there to bail out Cowboys

{{tncms-inline account="dBerrySports" html="<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">My player of the game tonight for McNeese? Punter Alex Kjellsten. He 7 punts for 314 yards (48.7 average). He had a long punt of 60, 4 punts of 50+ yards and 1 punt inside the 20.</p>— David E. Berry (@dBerrySports) <a href="https://twitter.com/dBerrySports/status/1053848545151848448?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 21, 2018</a></blockquote>" id="1053848545151848448" type="twitter"}}

{{tncms-inline alignment="left" content="<p>6 p.m. Saturday</p>" id="902d9b42-5c95-495d-8d43-6ec6a501a254" style-type="fact" title="CENTRAL ARKANSAS at MCNEESE" type="relcontent"}}

At the end of last season, Alex Kjellsten wrote down a list of goals that he wanted to build upon and get better from last season coming into this season.

The senior punter/kickoff specialist for McNeese State did not specify what the goals were when asked, and he also mentioned that the season is far from over. But looking at the numbers, it’s hard to imagine that he’s not at least close to those goals.

Through the Cowboys’ first seven games, Kjellsten is 10th in the Football Championship Subdivision in punting average (43.6 yard per punt). He’s second in the Southland Conference behind Houston Baptist’s Alec Chadwick, but Kjellsten has played in one more game and has punted 27 more times.

Kjellsten, a Lake Charles native and St. Louis Catholic product, went into the season on the preseason all-SLC first team. He has not disappointed.

"I think it just goes back to all the work we’ve put in," Kjellsten said of the time that he and the other specialists put in leading into the season. "We kind of built on the things we did bad last year. The things that we did well last year, we want to continue to improve upon."

In McNeese’s 45-17 loss to Incarnate Word on Saturday, Kjellsten was one of the few bright spots, punting seven times for 314 times (48.7 ypp). His longest was 60 yards, four went 50 yards or longer, and he put one punt inside UIW’s 20-yard line. He also doubles as the kickoff specialist; McNeese’s kickoff coverage leads the SLC with 24 touchbacks and a 45.9 net yards average.

Kjellsten’s 60-yard punt against UIW pinned the Cardinals at their 8-yard line. McNeese’s defense, which had struggled up until that point in the game, used the field position to their advantage and forced a three-and-out and a UIW punt.

During football games, most teams like to see their punter on the field as little as possible. But with an offense that has struggled at various points this season, Kjellsten has been called on a lot.

"The thing I love about kicking — and it’s a lot different than any other position — is that every time you go on the field, you’re either going to be the hero or the villain," Kjellsten said of his mentality when he has a heavy punting game. "I’ve put enough work in the offseason that I’m confident that I’ll be the hero every time I step out on the field."

Head coach Lance Guidry has noticed the work that Kjellsten is doing and appreciates it. In fact, he wants to do more to help his punter out in other phases of special teams and the offense. For instance, against UIW, Cyron Sutton did not field a punt that wound up being downed at the McNeese 2-yard line. The Cowboys’ offense went three-and-out and had to punt from its own 8.

"We hurt him the other night," Guidry said of the situations the offense and special teams put Kjellsten in. "But Alex has been doing tremendous. He’s having a great year. His kickoffs are in the end zone almost all the time and we’re covering well when it isn’t. He is definitely an asset to our team. I think that’s why we’ve been successful.

"Even when we’ve struggled on offense and played good on defense, in those games, special teams has been huge. Whether it’s a punt return or it’s Alex’s kicking. And he needs to continue doing that because offense might have a big night and defense might be struggling but special teams needs to be the X-factor. And I think he’s done that."

From Kjellsten’s point of view, he simply wants to do what’s best for the team, even if it takes away from his impressive numbers.

"I’d rather have a 37-yard punt that’s downed at the 7 rather than a 50-yard punt that comes out for a touchback," Kjellsten said. "Whatever puts my team in the best position to win games is what I’m trying to do."

6 p.m. Saturday

      8ebb1dc4-e1d5-11e8-81c5-03bf580084682018-11-06T15:06:00Zchristmas,local artist,metal smithing classes,niche creative studio,gallery by the lake,artist,bridgett vallery,purple paint,diy,crafts,string art,cross,religious art,creative craftercreativecrafterString art is an easy and versatile option for handmade Christmas craftsCREATIVE CRAFTING with KIMKimKingClassified Advertising Managerhttps://www.americanpress.com/content/tncms/avatars/1/a7/d53/1a7d53ac-3725-11e7-81a5-e3dd81453762.2ba8d0d885e271a62e70601ce4a73e82.pngCreative Crafter.png

      Let’s talk Christmas.

      I know, “Halloween is barely over and you’re talking Christmas?!?” I feel the same way. However, it’s good to start thinking about what kind of gifts you’re going to give the special people in your life; whether you’re going to buy them something from their favorite store or hand make the gift.

      A couple years ago my fiancée, future mother-in-law, future brother and sister-in-law decided that the only gifts we were going to buy would be for my niece.

      If we wanted to give each other gifts, we would hand-make them. When you’re hand-making items, they require more time and thought to create than just buying an item, in my opinion. If I do buy a gift for someone, I prefer to buy something from a local artist; knowing how long it takes to craft an item, I feel it expresses how much I care for a person when buying locally and supporting that artisan.

      Lots of local places have classes to make handmade gifts; like the holiday card workshop hosted at Gallery By The Lake given by artist, Bridgett Vallery in this week’s Creative Crafter. Yayi Beads and Gems has had metal smithing classes recently and will have more classes which they announce in Creative Crafter and via their Facebook page: YayiBeadsGemsGallery, and Niche Creative Studio has a ton of classes which you can find at <a href="https://nichecreativestudio.com/classes" target="_blank">nichecreativestudio.com/classes</a>.

      So this week’s craft is a gift I made for my future mother-in-law two Christmas’s ago. As it seems, history is repeating itself again. Everything from the 70’s and 80’s are coming back. Vinyl is back and so are crafts from the 70’s.1101181006a.jpg

      Nostalgia drives inspiration as you sit and think about “the good old days”. When I was young, I remember my mom having a string art owl hanging on the wall. I was always impressed with that owl and was always curious how she made it. I wanted to do a string art design for my future mother-in-law and decided on making a cross with a heart inside.

      I gathered my supplies; graph paper, pencil, scotch tape, small gold crafting nails, small hammer, a wooden plaque, purple paint (her favorite color) and white string with silver entwined.

      First I painted the whole plaque purple. After it dried, I tacked my graph paper on the plaque with tape. I then plotted out on the graph paper the shape of a cross. I made it big enough to draw a heart inside the cross.1101181007.jpg

      I then started carefully and gently hammering nails into the cross outline. I left about ¼ inch between each nail. After the outline of the cross was finished, I proceeded to the heart outline. Once done with my nails, I removed the graph paper. This took a little time and I also needed some tweezers for the hard to reach pieces of paper.

      Now I was ready to start stringing. I began by tying a small knot at the bottom of the cross. Remembering how the owl looked from my childhood, I ran my string up and down between the cross outline and the heart outline.

      The fun thing about string art is that you can run your string very methodically or haphazardly; it’s your craft. Once I filled the space between the heart outline and the cross outline with string I tied it off with a single knot. My handmade Christmas gift was finished!

      String art is very versatile. You can create any design; use any kind of background color or fabric on the wood and any kind/color of string. Let your creativity flow while having fun with this craft.

      I hope this has helped you think of something to hand-make for the special people in your life this Christmas. Happy crafting!

      <hr /><p class="p2"><em><strong>Creative Crafting with Kim</strong> prints on Saturdays. If you would like to advertise your crafting business or sell leftover crafting supplies call the American Press Classified department at 337-494-4000 or email <a href="mailto:djean@americanpress.com">djean@americanpress.com</a>. Deadline to place a display ad is Wednesday at 4pm and line ad deadline is Friday at 4pm. Feedback about this article can be sent to <a href="mailto:kwright@americanpress.com">kwright@americanpress.com</a>.</em>

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