Mercer Island Islanders 2018 graduate Spencer Luce will play football for Azusa Pacific University in California this fall.
                                Shaun Scott, staff photo

Mercer Island Islanders 2018 graduate Spencer Luce will play football for Azusa Pacific University in California this fall. Shaun Scott, staff photo

Long snapper Luce will play college football at the Division-II level

Mercer Island Islanders grad Spencer Luce is a detail-oriented football player.

Meticulous repetition is undoubtedly one of the most important qualities a long snapper can possess in his toolbox on a football field.

Mercer Island 2018 graduate Spencer Luce, who was the Islanders football team’s long snapper for the past three seasons, will continue his football career with the Azusa Pacific University Division-II football program this fall. Luce said he received some attention from a few Division-1 schools but knew Azusa Pacific University was the right place for him after taking his official visit.

“I wanted to go to a Christian school. That was the most important aspect for me in choosing a college. When I went there on my visit, it was just an environment like no other. Their atmosphere was not replaceable anywhere else,” Luce explained. “Azusa Pacific’s motto is building champions while pursuing championships. I like how they are building champions off the field. We (Azusa Pacific) have won three of the past five conference championships in one of the toughest D-2 conferences (Great Northwest Athletic Conference). Obviously we can win some games on the field but I want more is to win off the field, win in life and have my college football experience prepare me for what is ahead, which is a great education.”

The 6-foot, 3-inch, 218-pound Luce is planning on majoring in biology with a concentration in molecular biology. Luce is looking forward to August practice sessions in California to begin.

“The coaches are giving me an opportunity to compete. They’re not promising a starting spot or anything like that. I’m going down there to work. I want to play as much as I can but most importantly I want to help the team,” Luce said.

Luce’s journey to the collegiate football gridiron began during elementary school on Mercer Island.

“When I was a little kid, I would go to the high school and kick field goals with my dad. I started playing football so I could become a kicker. I kind of realized right away that I was a little too big to be a kicker, so I switched to offensive and defensive line. I didn’t exactly love it (being a lineman). What kept me playing was long snapping,” Luce said.

Luce was inspired to take up long snapping by one of the most beloved memories of his family.

“My grandfather played college football at a D-2 school in Northern Minnesota. He played offensive line and long snapper. He told me long snapping was a great opportunity,” Luce said. “Also, I was lucky enough to have my young life leader as Clint Gresham (former Seattle Seahawks long snapper) so I definitely had some great long snapping influences in my life.”

Luce said the long snapping position requires awareness and an unwavering dedication to accuracy.

“I believe its the most mentally tough position on the field. Perfection is the goal but you have to understand that you are never going to achieve it. I do try to hold myself to perfection every time but I do realize it’s not going to happen. As a long snapper, you can’t live in the past. Even if it’s your best snap or a terrible snap. I have to forget that last snap even if it was the best snap of my career. You always have to be looking forward,” Luce said.

Luce said snapping for field goals/point-after attempts and punts differ quite a bit.

“On a field goal you want it (the snap) to be a very catchable ball and on a punt you want it to be at the right hip of the punter every time. On field goals it has to be in same spot with the same speed every time. The kicker knows when I move the ball for the very first time, that is when he can take that first step. If my ball is a little slow, then that is going to mess up the timing. If the snap is a little high, the holder has to jump and it can throw off the kicker’s timing and can ultimately lead to a missed kick,” Luce said. “My relationship with the kicker needs to be very tight and we need to trust each other. On field goals, I need the laces to be up (facing away from the kicker) every time. Ideally that is 2.5 rotations on the ball. There is a lot more to this than people think. On punts, it’s a little different, the laces are a little less important for the punter because he has a little bit of extra time. He can take the ball and adjust the laces to how he wants it. The speed matters a lot more on a punt. It is 15 yards back and I want the ball to be there in a little less than .75 seconds. In the NFL, you see snappers get it back in .70 or less time.”

More in Sports

Mercer Island Islanders senior pitcher Liam Dammeier has an overall record of 3-1 on the hill during his senior season thus far. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Redemption on the rubber

Mercer Island senior hurler Liam Dammeier is the epitome of an ace.

Former Mercer Island Islanders boys soccer head coach Colin Rigby, left, Jordan Morris, center, and Islanders boys soccer head coach Forrest Marowitz pose for a quick photo on April 23 at Islander Stadium. Morris was inducted into the Mercer Island High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of Kim Otte
Morris inducted into MIHS Athletic Hall of Fame

Mercer Island legend returns home for a memorable celebration.

Mercer Island Islanders senior Max Tanzer, right, slides safely into third base on a close play while being tagged by Interlake third baseman Charlie Galanti in the top of the fourth inning. Mercer Island defeated Interlake, 11-0, on April 17 in Bellevue. Photo courtesy of Jim Nicholson
Islanders shut out the Saints

Mercer Island continues its hot streak on the diamond.

Simply sensational!

Tiger Woods’ improbable victory resonates across America.

The Mercer Island Islanders girls golf team currently has an overall record of 3-2 in early season play on the links. The Islanders golf program, which is its 22nd year of existence, has won three state titles, seven KingCo titles and 10 district championships over the past two decades. The 2019 team is led by captains Annelise Rorem and Katelyn Travis. The Islanders registered their 200th career victory as a program earlier this season. Photo courtesy of Billy Pruchno
Islanders girls golf team is striving for excellence

The Mercer Island Islanders girls golf team currently has an overall record… Continue reading

Mercer Island junior midfielder Luca Mtskhetadze, left, celebrates with teammate Jonah Hyman, right, after scoring on a header in the 87th minute of play, giving his team a 2-1 lead in overtime. Mercer Island held on for a 2-1 victory against the Juanita Rebels on April 11. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography
Islanders register comeback victory against Rebels

Mercer Island prevails in overtime against Juanita.

Mercer Island senior outfielder Cole Miller will continue his baseball career with the Huskies next year. Shaun Scott, staff photo
Miller patrols the outfield with passion for the Islanders

Mercer Island senior will continue his baseball career at the University of Washington.

A coveted goal is attained

Relentless work ethic pays dividends.

Mercer Island Islanders senior girls lacrosse player Grace Fujinaga will continue her lacrosse career at the University of Pennsylvania. Shaun Scott, staff photo
Fujinaga is a dominant force on the lacrosse field

Mercer Island Islanders senior girls lacrosse player Grace Fujinaga hasn’t forgotten her… Continue reading

The Mercer Island Islanders varsity boys soccer team is looking forward to the 2019 season. Photo courtesy of Sophy Yang
Islanders are looking to dominate on the soccer field

Expectations never waver for the Mercer Island Islanders boys soccer program. The… Continue reading

Optimism remains supreme in March for baseball fans

Home opener is on the horizon for the Seattle Mariners.

Mercer Island Islanders senior point guard Will Lee earned 3A KingCo first-team all league honors for his play during the 2018-19 season. The Islanders finished with an overall record of 17-6. Shaun Scott, staff photo
Lee exudes leadership during memorable season on hardwood

Mercer Island senior Will Lee was the definition of a floor general.