Jase Whitner, 18, gets set to snap as he practices Tuesday at Perrysburg's Steinecker Stadium. Whitner is attempting to beat the Guinness World Record of longsnap distance. THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
Steinecker Stadium in Perrysburg was all but empty as Jase Whitner began stretching and tossing a football to his friend, Nate Christensen. The former Perrysburg High School long snapper placed a football on the goal line, his legs just shy of a yard away, and snapped the ball 10 yards, then 12 yards, before launching it over Christensen’s head 15 yards away.
In a normal football game, that sort of extra distance would devastate a team, but Whitner was not practicing for a normal football game. In a bit more than two weeks, he will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for longest long snap of an American football, or to hear Whitner tell it, he will be breaking that record.
“I’m pretty confident in myself,” he said, after a half-hour’s worth of practice. The record was set in February, 2016, by former Texas Longhorn, Seattle Seahawk, and Green Beret Nate Boyer at 30 yards. Whitner said his average is around 32 yards, and his personal best is 36 yards.
“I’ve got good days and bad days,” said Whitner, a 2017 graduate who was the team’s long snapper a year ago. “I didn’t get it the first day. I was probably getting 27 to 28 yards.”
The typical snap from the long snapper to a punter in a game is 14 yards, Perrysburg football coach Matt Kregel said.
“There’s some difficulty to that,” Kregel said. “That’s a long way to get the ball out there.
“Jase was good. Jase was very accurate. I hope he breaks the record. It’s cool that he looked it up and wants to go after it.”
In April, Whitner found the record on the Guinness website and figured he had a shot to break it. He sent in an application, and Guinness confirmed his attempt.
Dana Whitner, Whitner’s mom, said they would need three referees, two independent witnesses, and video proof of the toss, in lieu of the $10,000 it would take to bring a judge to Perrysburg.
“I’m proud of him,” Dana Whitner said. “It takes a lot of guts to do what he’s going to do, and where he’s going to do it, but I’m more proud of the reason he’s doing it.”
Whitner will attempt to break the record Sept. 15, before Perrysburg’s home game against Napoleon.
“I’ve got a bunch of friends coming, and some family,” he said. “To be honest, I think a lot of my friends are going to go wild, which will be cool to see.”
As for why he is trying to break a record most people never knew existed, Whitner said many times the attempt was not about him.
“It’s not really just for me. It’s for those kids that don’t think they have a voice,” he said, as he recalled being bullied or being picked last in pick-up games. “They don’t think they can do anything but they can. ... I was never really given the opportunity to do much until I got older. I would just like those kids to know they can be something and they do have a voice and they do mean something to somebody.”
The Whitners are expecting Guinness to take several weeks after the attempt to verify the record.