Iowa punter Tory Taylor blown away by quarterback Spencer Petras' $6,000 donation

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY — About two weeks ago, Tory Taylor was brought to tears when one of his Iowa football teammates donated $6,000 toward his campaign to help raise money for “Count the Kicks,” a stillbirth prevention awareness organization started by five Des Moines-area women.

That teammate: Hawkeyes starting quarterback Spencer Petras.

Though the donation is publicly visible online, Petras didn’t make a big deal about it. He reached out to Taylor ahead of time to tell him about his intent, and the star Hawkeye punter was blown away.

“Spencer’s one of the kindest and most generous guys on the team. I’ll try not to get emotional talking about it,” Taylor said during Iowa football’s media day on Friday afternoon. “But when he sent that $6,000 to my pledge and the charity, it really made me appreciate him more as a person.”

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Here's how the donation and the campaign came about:

Keith Duncan, a former consensus all-America placekicker for the Hawkeyes, recently helped launch a campaign called “Every Kick Counts,” which benefits “Count the Kicks.” (You can see the play on words there.) In “Every Kick Counts,” kickers and punters can sign up with the goal of obtaining pledges and supporters. For example, if a person signs up to support Taylor, he/she would donate $1 for every 40-yard punt and $3 for every punt downed inside the 20-yard line. For kickers, an extra point is worth $1 and field goals $3. Or a person could make a blanket donation. And that’s what Petras did.

Spencer Petras entered Saturday's Kids Day at Kinnick scrimmage leading the quarterback race.

Duncan said most kickers at the big high schools in the Des Moines area have signed on. Taylor is one of 16 college athletes on board. NFL punter Matt Haack, formerly of Dowling, is also involved.

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The “Count the Kicks” app, which is free, helps expectant moms count their babies’ kicks at the start of the third trimester of pregnancy. If the kicks are low, it’s time to see a doctor. According to their website, Iowa’s stillbirth rate has decreased by 32% since “Count the Kicks” was launched.

“The money’s great, but we want to spread awareness,” Duncan said. “That’s where we really see the value.”

As of Saturday morning, “Every Kick Counts” had raised nearly $33,000 — with $6,000 from Iowa’s QB1.

“Football’s only three hours on a Saturday, but there’s so much more to Spencer Petras than just throwing the football,” Taylor said. “And I will say he’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met. But just really grateful for him and his support."