WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Former Midwestern State University kicker Tanner Graeber had what you could call an up-and-down week. Signed by the Wichita Falls Nighthawks two weeks ago to fill in for injured starter Rockne Belmonte, Graeber shined in Friday's 57-56 double-overtime win over Spokane, converting three field goals and six extra points.
But on Tuesday, with Belmonte back off Injured Reserve, Graeber was released by the team. Then on Wednesday, he was named the Indoor Football League Special Teams Player of the Week.
Still, Graeber is very much in the team's plans moving forward. Newschannel 6 Sports spoke with Nighthawks head coach Billy Back last week about just that subject.
"Tanner did a great job filling in for [Belmonte]," Back said. "He could be the kicker of the future for us, depending on what Rock wants to do next year. But Tanner Graeber is our kicker moving forward if Rock decides to hang it up. So that's a good thing because he's a heck of a guy."
In two games with the Nighthawks, Graeber made 6 of 8 field goal attempts with a long of 31 yards, while converting 13 of 15 extra-point kicks for an 87% conversion rate, well above the league-average of 73%. A year ago, Belmonte made 23 of 40 field goal attempts, showing much greater range with a long of 47 yards, and made 86% of his extra points to finish third in the league in scoring at 176 total points.