Hunter Koch returns for his senior year at 8-Man Division II Axtell after having a huge year at receiver in 2017.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder had 1,056 yards receiving on 71 catches last year with 20 receiving touchdowns. He had 24 total touchdowns on the year in 10 games. Only three players in the state had over 1,000 yards receiving that return for 2018, one of those being Koch. The other two are Daniel Jackson at Bishop Miege and Logan Talley at Mill Valley, both 11-man players in 4A and 5A.
Koch also had 49 tackles on defense as a cornerback and 433 kick return yards and 138 punt return yards. Three of those kickoff returns went for touchdowns in 2017. Koch also had 559 yards receiving as a sophomore in 2017.
Koch’s 30 career touchdown receptions are 27 away from Layne Bieberle’s 8-man state record of 57 in a career from 2012-to-2014. With a monster year, Koch could compete with that, however that would have to be one of the best 8-man years in history. If he repeats his year from last year he would be right at 50 in his career, but with a few extra playoff games you never know. The single season touchdown record for touchdown receptions in 8-man is 29 by Kellye Irvin of McCraken in 1979.
Koch is not only great on the field, he is pound for pound one of the strongest 170-pound kids in the state. He has a squat of 500 pounds, bench of 255 and cleans 265.
Expect a big year for Koch as his quarterback Quinn Buessing returns at the position after throwing for 1,788 yards and 27 touchdowns/7 interceptions as a sophomore last fall.
Axtell went 6-4 last year and returns six starters on offense and seven on defense under head coach Eric Detweiler.
The Eagles open up the 2018 campaign against Beloit-St. Johns Tipon on Friday. We caught up with the senior receiver below in the latest Q&A edition of Faces in Kansas.
This feature is presented by H&R Construction, proud to support the Axtell Eagles and Hunter Koch!
How did you get involved in football?
When I was younger I’d go watch my cousins games and most of the time I ended up playing on the sidelines and every since then I have loved it. What are your goals this season?My goals this season is to have another big year and help lead my team to state.
Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?
We have a pretty good chance of making a big run this year we return most starters a lot which have a lot of experience. Hopefully a good chance to make it to state.
What’s the atmosphere like to play football on Friday night for your school and town?
The atmosphere is just incredible we live in a small community which most people in the town come and support us and it’s just a great feeling.
For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?
Well we play eight man which it’s a pretty fast paced game. We like to pass he ball quite a bit so it’s pretty intense. Who are other key players on your team? Our middle linebacker Nate Buessing, our Qb Quinn Buessing.
Favorite thing about football?
Just being able to compete every game, practice and scrimmage.
Do you play any other sports, tell us about that?
I play Baseball, Basketball, and track. Our baseball team this year got 2nd in our tournament. Our past two years of basketball we have went to state and lost first round. Track I have improved over the years, made it to state my freshman year and hopefully can have a trip to state this year.
What is it like to play for your coach?
It’s a great opportunity to be able to play for my coach. He makes us better every day and he loves the game just as much as we do. He’s a great coach and I like how he has pushed me and my teammates over the years.
What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better and plans to get better this summer?
We lifted weights all summer plus we did football stuff until we couldn’t, then we did plyos. We had our team camp, and also did a 5 on 5 tournament down in Solomon, Ks. Where we got second.
What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?
Looking to hopefully get a scholarship and being able to play at the next level and don’t have any set plans on a career yet.
Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?
I like to hunt or fish when I’m not playing sports.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully working a job I like to do.
Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?
Favorite subject would be Math. And a 3.5 gpa
Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?
The best place to eat around here would be the Summerfield Bar. They’ve got some great loaded nachos!