Semi-pro football: Ex-Mariners kicker Bougie signs with IFL

The Manitowoc Mariners semi-pro football team will begin its third season later this year, but during the offseason it has made an impact on one former player’s life that is paying dividends right now. Cory Bougie, 26, signed to be a kicker for the Cedar Rapids Titans of the Indoor Football League. The IFL, which replaced the old arenafootball2, plays a 14-game schedule over 17 weeks. Cedar Rapids (1-1) played at the Green Bay Blizzard (2-1) on Friday at the Brown County Arena and lost 64-12. Bougie was scheduled to be the starting kicker for the Titans, but was deactivated when an injury at another position forced a roster change. Bougie is expected to start when the Titans play the Chicago Slaughter on March 23, after having their second bye on March 16. Bougie has only been a football kicker for four years. He played soccer at Wrightstown High School, then went on to play soccer for two years at UW-Fond du Lac and one year at Ripon College. It was while at Ripon that his interest in becoming a football kicker was piqued. “Ripon sent out an email saying that they needed a kicker and some of the football guys and I were kidding around one day,” Bougie said. “They said, ‘you probably couldn’t even kick a field goal’ so I set up the tee at the 45-yard line and nailed it.” Later that year, the Green Bay Gladiators semi-pro football team had a tryout and Bougie made it as a third-string quarterback. When spring rolled around, he said he wanted to kick and was made the first-string kicker. He played for three years with them and then one year with the Mariners before being signed by Cedar Rapids. “It’s been a dream of mine for a lot of years,” Bougie said of playing at his current level. “When I started kicking, I knew I was pretty good. I just kept improving and still am. “Playing for the Mariners really helped me and it was like being in one big family. Marcos (Alfaro) really helped me out a lot and I learned a lot while I was there. I am appreciative of the Mariners and Gladiators and everyone else who have supported me so far. I couldn’t do it without all of them.” Alfaro, president and head coach of the Mariners, said he is pleased for Bougie and glad of how his signing at the next level helps his other players. “It means a lot for our guys to know that, even though they do this for fun, it shows that it can pay off for them down the line,” he said. “They realize that there could be scouts paying attention to them and it gives them the confidence to try it at another level. Because of playing here, Cory got the confidence to try out for Cedar Rapids and look what happened.”

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