By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Football runs deep in the Flintoft family and carrying on the proud tradition is Aidan, a junior at Oaks Christian High in Westlake Village, where he has emerged as one of the top kicking prospects in California. If the name rings a bell, it should. After all, Aidan’s brother Collin is a punter at UCLA and his cousin Stefan was the Bruins’ punter in 2017 and 2018.
With his dad Gerry watching from the sideline as a member of the chain crew, Aidan played a major role in the Lions’ first win of the season—a 44-0 rout of Birmingham on homecoming last Friday night—booming seven of his eight kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, punting twice for an average of 40 yards, converting each of his five extra-point attempts and booting a 29-yard field through the uprights. All in a day’s work for someone who knows he has big shoes to fill but never lets the pressure affect his concentration.
“It fluctuates but overall I’d say I like punting the most because I like seeing the flight of the ball,” Aidan says. “My cousin and my brother got me into it. I didn’t really plan on being a kicker but I had a knack for it.”
Following in the footsteps of his older sibling, who was the starting kicker/punter at Loyola High, Aidan is currently the No. 1-ranked kicker/ punter in his class by Chris Sailer and the No. 1 punter and No. 2 kicker on Kohl’s, as well as being on MaxPreps’ all-season No. 1 team. He is enjoying the limelight at an elite program after spending his first two years of high school at Windward in Mar Vista, where he was a multi-sport star.
“I was the kicker there my freshman year,” he reminisces proudly. “It was only eight-man, but we went 13-0 and won CIF! I’m getting more used to the higher level now. It’s like being thrown in the deep end of the pool.”
Aidan also excelled in volleyball (he likes both beach and indoor) at Windward last spring. He admits he was obsessed with soccer until 8th grade, playing club for Chelsea FC (now the LA Bulls) and for his school team at St. Matthew’s.
One person who is ecstatic about Aidan transferring to Oaks Christian to play 11-man is Lions head coach Charles Collins, who had nothing but praise for his punter/kicker after he contributed eight points last Friday.
“Special teams is not emphasized enough sometimes but it can often be a game changer,” Collins says. “We have one of the best and it can change field position and Aidan gives us more confidence to be aggressive on offense knowing no matter what we’ll come away with three [points]. He’s a real weapon for us and on top of that his character is through the roof.”
Aidan has already received an offer to Harvard and has been true on six of his seven field goal tries this season—including a 50-yarder against powerhouse Sierra Canyon. He is 13-of-14 on point-after attempts and has sailed 24 of his 28 kickoffs into the end zone. He credits his field goal coach Cole Murphy and his brother for helping improve his strength, accuracy and hang time while eliminating as many variables as he can.
“Coach Murphy has helped me a ton,” Aidan says. “Collin is helpful in the sense that he respects that my technique’s different than his. He was able to make it out to the Chaminade and Alemany games, which was nice. Also, he’s taught me not to trip out if I make a bad kick.”
As for Collin, he relishes being a mentor to his little brother.
“It’s quite fulfilling seeing my younger brother out there on the gridiron,” he says. “Back in high school, he used to join some of my offseason kicking and punting sessions while he was a young middle-schooler who was a foot shorter than me and was just out there to have fun. It’s crazy seeing it come full circle now to where he’s taller, stronger, and more talented than my cousin Stefan and myself were at that age. We’re quite excited for him!”
Last fall, Collin elected to have double hip surgery when the Pac-12 season was initially cancelled. Now a redshirt junior in Westwood, he experienced a setback in summer training and is still rehabbing. While still on the roster, Collin has been developing more of a leadership role as President of the Bruin Sports Business Association and representing football at Pac-12 and NCAA events. He is good friends with UCLA lineman and Palisades High alum Baraka Beckett. The two have even roomed together.
“I’ve given Aidan lots of advice with regards to football,” Collin adds. “I’d say the best piece of advice I’ve passed along to him is to remember to control what you can control and let the rest take care of itself. It’s a lot easier said than done, that’s for sure. I say this with all humility, but trying to do too much or control every last bit of your journey is quite harmful in my opinion. Things always work out how they’re meant to, even if it’s not exactly how you planned it. Reminding him not to get caught up in the confusing world of recruiting and things like that help him to remain focused on his craft which, in turn, helps recruiting work itself out naturally. It also helps him to loosen up and have fun with the game by putting less pressure on it since he trusts that he did all he could do and that life will be all right whether he makes or misses his kicks.”
Collin enjoyed a stellar senior seaon at Loyola with 53 punts for a 37.0 average, placing 22 inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. He was 247Sports’ No. 9 punting prospect.
“I’d say yes I do pass on technique here and there, but I haven’t really had to do it more than a few times over the last few years since he learned the basics. Aidan’s a real student of the game and has studied it so much and worked hard enough to the point that he’s largely coaching himself with the help of coaches like Mike MacGillivray, Aaron Perez, Cole Murphy, my father and myself offering occasional pointers after breaking down film. Aidan deserves all the credit for getting to where he’s at today. The best place you can get to as a kicker and punter is where you are your own coach and Aidan has certainly reached that point in the last couple of years. I’m very proud of the man he’s becoming both on and off the field. Hopefully he’ll follow the Flintoft family tradition and become a Bruin himself when the time comes.”
The legacy already includes Jim Kindel (Class of 1934); Gerry Flintoft (Class of 1981); Janette Flintoft (Class of 1990); Stefan Flintoft (Class of 2018); Collin Flintoft (Class of 2022) and Caroline Flintoft (Class of 2023). Kindel was the stepdad of Aidan’s father Gerry; Janette is Aidan’s mother; and Aidan’s older sister Caroline, who was quite an athlete herself (having played soccer, tennis, lacrosse and volleyball) is an economics major.
As for Aidan, he does not have any preferences yet—just to end up at a good Division I school.
Two fellow Palisadians are also in Oaks Christian’s football program: sophomore wide receiver/cornerback Jensen Bell (son of pro race car driver and NBC motorsports commentator Townsend Bell); and junior wideout/cornerback and backup kicker Aiden Davis, who lives near the Getty Villa.
“We haven’t carpooled yet, but maybe we should start,” says Davis, who recalls facing Aidan for three years in flag football when he was at
Calvary Christian in 6th-8th grade and Flintoft was at St. Matthew’s.
“When we were in ninth grade I went to Malibu High and he was at Windward and we played them in eight-man. They killed us!”
Davis, who appreciates getting pointers from his teammate about kicking, is also looking forward to playing soccer when the winter season starts up.
“We like eating at Garden Cafe and hanging out at the beach with friends,” Davis says. “We’ve even played whiffle ball at the park. The camaraderie we have is great. The energy bounces off each other and we’re very focused at practice.”
Sailer, who played collegiately at UCLA and now runs one of the nation’s premiere kicking camps, offers this glowing evaluation of Flintoft on his website, giving him the maximum five stars: “Aidan’s a phenomenal high school punting and kicking prospect. He’s a great looking athlete who possesses a big-time leg. He’s got a great punter’s frame and he punts for a nice combination of distance and hang time. Aidan’s clean and consistent. He’s also a very talented kicker. He does an outstanding job on field goals. Aidan hits a clean ball off the ground and easily has 55-plus yard range. His kickoffs are strong. He drives the ball 65-plus yards, with 3.85 seconds or more of hang time. He’s a competitor who kicks with confidence. He’s got tremendous all-around upside. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Aidan. He’s a fine young man with a great attitude and work ethic. He’s a strong combination prospect—so offer now!”
In July 2020, Aaron Perez, an evaluator on Sailer’s staff since 2005 and owner of The Punt Factory, had this to say about Flintoft: “Aidan’s an extremely technical and talented young punter who has improved immensely over the last several months. He has a long frame which allows him to get up and through the ball well. Aidan’s a two-step punter who is very versed in directional punting and situational punting at a young age. The Flintoft name is synonymous with punting, as both his cousin Stefan (several years ago) and his brother Collin (currently) punt at UCLA. Look for Aidan to continue improving and be one of the top punters in his class!”
At 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, the sky is the limit for Flintoft, whose immediate goal is to make his family proud while getting the Lions a leg up in the Marmonte League—beginning October 15 at neighborhood rival Westlake.
Asked if he is happy with the decision to switch schools, Aidan does not hesitate to respond: “Yes, one hundred percent!”
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