Jake Verity has a quiet confidence that eases his East Carolina football coaches and teammates.
Amid all the yards and points and highlights for the ECU offense in its last two games to grab attention, Verity quietly and calmly took over as the Pirates’ all-time leader in single-season field goals made and career field goals.
He was 3-for-3 in a 59-51 loss at SMU on Nov. 9, making him 22-for-26 this season and 58-of-74 for his career. He passed Ben Hartman in both of the ECU kicking record book categories.
“I think he’s the best kicker I’ve ever had, and I felt like that as soon as I saw him kick live,” Pirate coach Mike Houston said. “He has that pop coming off his foot and the ball gets up quick and he has excellent accuracy. Nothing really rattles him.”
The Pirates’ 51 points against SMU came one week after scoring 43 in a loss to Cincinnati. The recent surge has moved ECU (3-7, 0-6 American Athletic Conference) into the top-50 nationally in total offense — 49th at 427.0 yards per game — and sophomore quarterback Holton Ahlers now has ECU 32nd in passing offense at 278.4 yards per outing.
“I believe we’re clicking as much as anything else because the pass protection has just been really better,” offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick said Wednesday night. “We’ve had a lot of kids make plays, but it all goes back to the offensive line. When the quarterback has a little more time to throw the ball, it’s a lot easier.
“We’re in a good place with a bunch of guys. We’re on a five-game losing streak and we’re really out there having fun, because we’ve kind of said that we are not going to think about all of that and we have a lot of kids that think they are getting better. We also we have a lot of kids who are going to be here for a while.”
Verity and punter Jonn Young are both juniors. Kicker Warren Harvey is the Pirates’ all-time leading scorer with 300 points. Verity is fourth with 267.
The Pirate depth chart on offense for this week’s game at Connecticut (2-8, 0-6) features only interior linemen Branden Pena and Fernando Frye as starting seniors. In addition to Verity and Ahlers set to return next year as key scorers, all of ECU’s starting receivers slated for this week are freshmen or sophomores.
“He is a great kicker and just like he expects us to go down there and score every time, we expect him to do his thing,” Frye said.