Greene County field goal kicker Nathan Behne (3) dedicated this season to raising money for cancer research. Each point means more money for research. He's already surpassed $5,000. PHOTO BY BRIDGETT ALLENPHOTO BY DAN MEYTHALER

KICKING AWAY CANCER: Greene County FG kicker shattering cancer fundraising goals

By Brandon Hurley
Managing Editor

A childhood friend tragically taken by cancer has inspired a local field goal kicker.

Greene County’s Nathan Behne dedicated the 2022 football season to fighting cancer, pledging to raise money for every point he scores along the way.
The dollars continue to add up with with each booming leg kick.

As the Greene County Rams gear up for the 2A playoffs Friday, Behne’s fundraising had hit $5,438, more than double his original goal, shattering his set mark of $2,500 prior to the season. Behne also set a goal of 40 total points scored during this year’s football season. Entering the playoffs, the junior kicker had surpassed that goal as well, having secured 48 points. is the site which sponsors Behne’s fundraising efforts. Citizens pledge a certain dollar amount upfront, and with each ensuing point, that amount will be donated to his fund, which will go towards childhood cancer research.


The late Landon Martin was quick to befriend Behne when he first arrived in Greene County as a kindergartner. Together, the duo traversed elementary and most of middle school, uniting behind their love of sports. Martin passed away in 2018 from an aggressive form of brain cancer. The football team has since dedicated much of their success to him. Perhaps more than most, Behne felt inspired by a strong connection.

“He was the first person I was introduced to when I moved to town my Kindergarten year and we were friends from that point on,” the kicker said. “I remember the day he called me to tell me he had been diagnosed, and the short fight he had after.”

Cancer hits hard for Behne. Though he’s only 16 years of age, he’s already felt immense tragedy radiating from the evil bast. He’s lost Martin, his long-time friend, as well an uncle, Jim, who passed away last year from stomach cancer. Behne’s middle name is an ode to Jim, who helped shape Behne’s basketball career. The late 55-year old and Behne’s dad, Carl, spent a lot of time together, so he was around quite often.

“I learned so much from,” Behne said. “That was hard, too.”

Behne’s great-grandma also passed from cancer. It’s a disease Behne wishes was wiped from the earth. He’s eager to provide comfort in any way he can, offering a leg up through fundraising.  

“Cancer has taken many important people from my life, and it kills more children than any other disease,” Behne said. “It is easy to feel helpless against such a horrid disease, so I wanted to use my talents to raise awareness and money for cancer research, and to help find a cure.”


Behne works tirelessly in the offseason, honing his craft. While attending the Kohl’s National Showcase last summer in Gatlinburg, Tenn., he noticed a moving partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a foundation for childhood cancer. A lightbulb moment struck as he learned he could get involved with cancer research through football. It was a match made in heaven.

“They explained that as a kicker we could sign up and take donations or pledges for our personal goals for the season in an effort to help raise money for children’s cancer awareness,” Behne said. “I thought that was a great opportunity for me to use my talent for good.”

Behne has been blasting kicks through the uprights since his pre-teen days. He could often be spotted at Linduska Field well before high school practicing his craft. Behne first started kicking in sixth grade, harnessing his life-long passion for soccer into a seamless transition.

“I like that it requires a lot of mental focus and specific technique,” Behne said. “Some people might think its just kicking the ball but there is a lot of technique involved. With each kick I need to think about many things, such as getting my heel through the ball, locking my ankle, putting my toe at 3 o’clock, and swinging downfield, all while taking into consideration the field and weather conditions.”

Behne is ranked 13th in Class 2A with 27 successful PATs this year, only having missed once. He’s also nailed a 2A-leading seven of his nine field goal attempts, highlighted by a long of 37-yards, tied for the sixth-longest kick in 2A this fall. Behne is second in the state with 22 kickoff touchbacks. As of this printing, the Rams had clinched their second-straight District 8 title, sporting an overall record of 7-1.
Behne has been the Rams starting kicker the past two seasons, converting 42 of 46 extra points last fall, the third most conversions in all of 2A. Behne doesn’t quit in the offseason, only ramping up his work. He attends camps throughout the country thanks to numerous opportunities to train with elite kickers, such as the Kohl’s Kicking Camp.

“My parents have given me many opportunities to train with the best,” Behne said. “Also, I have had the same holder for three years (Jack Hanson) and a consistent snapper (this year Cody Allen).”

The support system locally has also been a key, he said. While field goal kicking may seem like a fairly singular position, a lot depends on others as well.

“All of the coaches I have worked with in Greene County have been very supportive of me as a kicker,” Behne said. “This year (Greene County head coach) Caden Duncan has given me many opportunities to show what I can do. That really contributes to having a successful year.”

Behne has impressive aspirations as his junior season winds down. He’d like to kick for a Power 5 school in college, but preferably one with a strong medical school. He’s not merely an athlete, wanting to study to become a radiologist.

With at least one game remaining this fall against Union Friday in the playoffs, Behne has plenty of chances to build on his fundraising.
Cancer has a valiant opponent, and he wears No. 3 in the Greene County red and black.

Contact Us

Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161