Pace High senior Ryan Santoso has already experienced so many firsts in the past year, thanks in large part to his thunderous right leg.
Thursday, he added another one to his list.
Santoso became the first Pace High player to take part in the prestigious Under Armour All-American game, suiting up as a kicker for the White Team during Thursday's game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
"We've had quite a few play in the (FACA) North-South game," Pace coach Mickey Lindsey said. "We've had some play in the Georgia-Florida game, but never in this game.
"It's quite a big deal for our school. That's why we had the ceremony back in October for him. This is a national game. These are the elite players in the country right now playing in this game."
Santoso is only the second player from the Pensacola area to play in the game, joining Cleveland Browns tailback and former Escambia High and University of Alabama standout Trent Richardson.
The 6-5, 270-pound kicker's debut came in the first quarter on a 44-yard field goal attempt. His kick had plenty of distance, but sailed just right of the uprights.
He came back out in the second quarter for another shot at a 44-yard attempt, and this time he nailed it to pull the White to within a touchdown at 10-3.
He finished the night with a 44-yard field goal, one punt for 46 yards and two kickoffs for 117 yards. Santoso also missed another field goal from 42 yards out in the second half.
"He had a great summer and I thought that's what made the difference for him," Lindsey said. "That carried over into his senior year and he had a great year. He led the state in field goals. I think he was 46-for-48 on kickoffs and the only two he had returned were sky kicks, I believe.
"We've had some good kickers play (at Pace), but he's definitely up there. I think he's just now starting to realize his potential. He's only played football two years now. He came out in his sophomore year, the third game of the season. I think he's got a tremendous upside and will only get better."
If Santoso holds true to his commitment, the University of Minnesota will reap the benefits of Santoso's upside. Santoso committed to the Golden Gophers over the Christmas break.
"He really enjoyed his trip up there," Lindsey said. "He came back very impressed with everything up there.
"I think he's got a tremendous future ahead of him. The ball comes off his foot like (college coaches) want to see. And he's a great kid. He's a great young man. He's got the intangibles with his character and attitude."
Santoso led the state with 14 field goals this past season on 17 attempts. He was perfect on PATs with 29-of-29. And as Lindsey pointed out, he was a huge weapon on kickoffs, as he put 46-of-48 kickoffs into the end zone.
As a punter, he was equally impressive, actually earning his All-Area selection as a punter. He averaged 39.26 yards per punt with a long of 73 yards this year.
Making those numbers even more amazing is the fact that Santoso didn't play football growing up. He was a lifelong soccer player until his sophomore year, when he decided to give football a shot.
"I think he's handled everything very well," Lindsey said. "The first time he came out here, he had never played. I thought the best thing he did for himself was all that work this summer. He went to all these kicking combines and competitions and competed against the best of the best."