Hello, My Name Is: Laurenz Plattner
The foreign exchange student from Germany made his first career field goal to help Stratford win a state title
STRATFORD, Wis. (WSAW) - Laurenz Plattner is more than 4,000 miles away from his hometown in Munich, Germany. A senior at Stratford High School, Plattner was more familiar with a different kind of kicking back home in Germany.
“I played soccer in Munich. I wasn’t really good at soccer, but I was always a good kicker,” said Plattner. “I kicked hard. Everything else that of course was really important for soccer, I wasn’t good at.”
Coming to study in America, Plattner wasn’t too familiar with Stratford’s style of football. Plattner joined the Tigers’ squad during the season, kicking extra points for the team.
“My first extra point attempt just went barely over the poles,” laughed Plattner.
Even if it took some getting used to, Plattner settled in nicely to his placekicker duties. Heading into the state title game, Plattner was 25-27 on extra points. However, a new challenge faced him in that title game.
In the fourth quarter, Stratford and Darlington were tied at 7-7. A long Stratford drive put them inside the five-yard line with just under a minute remaining. On fourth and one, Plattner trotted out for his first career field goal attempt.
“When I walked to the tee, I thought ‘I made it in practice, often, often, but there were also some misses,” said Plattner.
The kick was blocked by Darlington, leaving the game tied. With less than a minute to play, the game seemed destined for overtime, until another twist. Stratford senior Cole Tichy forced a Darlington fumble with Alec Chapel recovering. The game would come down to one play, leaving Stratford head coach Jason Tubbs with a tough decision; go for the end zone or give Plattner another shot.
“Our guys were like, ‘No, we’re kicking it, coach. He can make it. He made it all year and I’m like, ‘Alright,’ said Tubbs. “I’m gonna go with the guys. Most of the time I go with the guys. If they say it’s there, it usually is.”
It was an overwhelming amount of support for Plattner, trusting that he could win them the game.
“We knew he could make that, any day of the week,” said Tichy. “I mean, I have no idea how his nerves are, but he did great.”
”Everyone said, ‘Laurentz’ or ‘Laurie’, that’s my nickname,” said Plattner. ‘Laurie you can do it. You can do it, just like you did in practice.’
Plattner stepped up for a 32-yard attempt. On the final play of the game, he drilled the kick through the uprights, giving him his first and only career field goal make, and giving his team a state title.
“I’ve never did that in a game before and of course not the winning kick,” said Plattner. “It’s such, such an amazing feeling I have right now.”
The win gave Stratford back-to-back state titles and their ninth in school history, now tied for a state record. For Plattner, the feeling of excitement and joy is one he’ll certainly share with his friends and family, albeit he’ll have to explain the dynamics of what a state championship is.
“I can’t describe it to them because they don’t know how everything is here,” said Plattner. “They cannot really understand everything that’s going on here probably, but I’ll try to explain it to them.”
Even his teammates know just how special a story this will be to bring home to Germany.
”Laurenz Plattner is a great kicker,” said Tichy. “He’s a foreign exchange student. He came to America and he’s got great memories to tell when he goes back home.”
Plattner’s name is now one that will be forever remembered in Stratford lore. It’s a memory he’ll certainly cherish forever while being mutually grateful to the Stratford community.
“To Stratford fans, I just thank everyone,” said Plattner. “It’s such an amazing experience they’ve created for me.”
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