PELHAM — Your eyes are immediately drawn to his bright pink Mohawk.
The neon hairdo glows atop Harley Kearney’s head like a road flair, seemingly visible from a mile away. He sports it to support breast cancer research, but he admits it’s also because, “I like to be a little weird.”
You next notice Kearney’s slight build. At approximately 5-foot-8 and 130 pounds, wearing a loud orange tank top, he looks as if a strong breeze could push the Pelham High senior into the trees that sit next to the school’s practice field.
But then Kearney kicks the ball, with a loud bang that causes spectators at a neighboring practice to duck at the sound. Suddenly the unique hair style is forgotten.
“When it kicks the ball, it FLIES,” said Pythons football coach Ryan Clark. “He has a boot.”
It could have been good enough for Kearney to be the most prolific scorer in Pelham soccer history. He had already set the school’s single-season record for goals (22) a year ago, a mark he has already broken this season.
But the opportunity to challenge himself, to go beyond the sport he has starred in his whole life, was just too enticing
So, this season in addition to his work on the soccer field, Kearney went out for football and won the job as Pelham High’s placekicker.
This fall, he is splitting his time booting extra points — a perfect 17 for 17 — and kickoffs for the Pythons football team that has surged to a 4-0 record, an showing his skills as the area’s most dynamic scorer with 26 goals for the 4-8 soccer team.
“It’s been pretty great,” said Kearney, who is allowed to play the two sports under NHIAA rules. The MIAA limits an athlete to one sport per season.