Plainville wrestling coach Ryan Becker talked with Jordan Finnesy early in the week leading up to the Class 3-2-1A wrestling tournament in February at Fort Hays State University’s Gross Memorial Coliseum.
Becker noticed that Finnesy, ranked second, was on the same side of the bracket as Riley County’s Mikey Waggoner, top-ranked and undefeated entering state.
Very likely the two would match up in the championship semifinals with the winner advancing to the title. On Monday, four days before the possible bout, Finnesy and Becker started to prepare for Waggoner.
Finnesy was excited for the possibility of the big-time match, a desire that impressed Becker – and a trait that has propelled Finnesy to among the best athletes in his school and conference’s history.
“I am a competitor, and I love competition, and you have got to beat the best to be the best,” Finnesy said. “I just always had that mindset to just go out and I was mostly excited, because I could do it on the day before (if I) even needed to. It’s just always been there for me, and it just always grows every single day.”
On Friday, Finnesy won his first two matches and received his chance with Waggoner. In one of the hallmark 3-2-1A state matches of ‘19, Finnesy defeated Waggoner, 5-4, in overtime.
The next day, Finnesy captured the state championship with a 10-3 decision against Norton’s Cole Amlong and went 38-2, Plainville’s first wrestling title since ’14.
“Heart,” Becker said after the semifinals match. “He kept coming over to the side, and he looked at us (coaches) right in the face and said, ‘I am not losing this match,’ and I said, ‘I trust you, I believe you.’”
Finnesy’s relishing competitive opportunities has long been displayed throughout his life and three-sport career at Plainville.
“Ever since I was a kid I always loved playing football. I would always go over to Hayden Friend’s house and there would be a bunch of guys there and we would just play ball everyday,” Finnesy said.
Finnesy has a strong faith and is extremely well-liked in his hometown. He is a great leader to many.
“I enjoy being a positive role model and setting a good example for the kids that look up to me in Plainville,” he said.
He will be a four-year starter in football. In wrestling, Finnesy was 32-12 and a state qualifier as a freshman before a 37-3 record and state runner-up as a sophomore before the championship. In football, Plainville is 17-7 the last two falls. Last year, the Cardinals opened fifth in the preseason rankings and finished second behind Smith Center behind coach Grant Stephenson.
“Coach Stephenson is a great coach!,” Finnesy said. “Playing for him is easy because he makes sure that every single person on the field understands what he is trying to do.”
As a sophomore, Finnesy replaced Friend, a first team all-state quarterback and the Hays Daily News Offensive Player of the Year.
Friend threw for 3,834 career passing yards, second-most in Mid-Continent League history, according to mclkansashighschool.com. He graduated as by far the MCL’s all-time leader in total yards (7,339).
In ’16, Friend led Plainville to a Class 2-1A state runner-up, the school’s best finish since championships in ’80 and ’85.
Finnesy, though, has stepped in and played admirably as a dual threat quarterback, similar to Friend and Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Finnesy called Mayfield, known for his confidence and competitiveness and a former Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma, his football role model. Finnesy currently has 5,119 total yards, fourth-most in league history. Another big year could vault Finnesy ahead of Friend.
“My role model in life is my mom,” Finnesy said. “She is one of the hardest workers I know. When it comes to football my role model is Baker Mayfield. I try to model my game after him and I also try to have as much fire on the field as him.”
Plainville has reached back-to-back 1A sub-state title games and lost to Mid-Continent League rival Smith Center, the eventual state titlist, both times. Finnesy has earned offers from Bethel College and Fort Hays, where Friend eventually played for two years.
Finnesy and fullback/linebacker Jared Casey form one of the top 1-2 combinations in Kansas and again put the Cardinals on the short list for 1A contenders this fall. Key returners include wide receiver Cody Crawford, Ben Hansen, Payton Rathbun and Jonah Smith.
“My goals are to win a State Championship,” Finnesy said. “We have to take it one game at a time but the end of the day the #1 goal is to win a State Championship. Yes, we definitely have a legit shot this year. It won’t be easy with the teams we play, but we all believe we have the team to get it done this year.”
Finnesy has the opportunity to finish his career as one of the MCL’s top all-time quarterbacks in the storied conference. As a sophomore, he rushed 242 times for 1,291 yards and 13 scores.
He completed 76 of 158 passes for 1,236 yards with a 10/8 TD/INT ratio. Junior year, Finnesy rushed 183 times for 956 yards and 12 TDs. He completed 106 of 198 passes for 1,511 yards with a 19/9 TD/INT mark.
Overall, including some spot time as a freshman, Finnesy has passed for 2,765 yards, rushed for 2,354 yards, passed for 29 touchdowns and rushed for 25 scores in his career.
“You’re going to see small school football at its finest, everyone playing both sides of the ball and competing,” Finnesy said. “You could come to a game any week and see some great competition with us being in the MCL.”
Currently, Finnesy is seventh all-time in MCL history in career passing scores. All-time best is Phillipsburg’s Trey Sides (51), Norton’s Jace Ruder (45) and Ellis’ Easton Smith (40). All three of those players signed for a Division I sport – Sides for Jacksonville University basketball, Ruder at North Carolina football, and Smith for Nebraska-Omaha baseball after a stellar career at Barton County.
Finnesy is also currently seventh in all-time MCL passing yards, just 17 ahead of former Osborne quarterback Dusty Trail, the current Bishop Carroll head coach. Trail is one of the few people in state annals to win football titles as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
Additionally, Finnesy is exceptional defensively with 119 tackles and nine interceptions, including eight last year. Finnesy collected KPreps first team all-state honors at defensive back in ’18.
“I’m not crazy fast but I have good field awareness and I have the ability to make people miss and that is what I think really helps me be a force on Friday nights,” Finnesy said.
This feature is presented by Bosselman Energy, Inc. We proudly support all the PHS athletes. Good luck in all you do in life.
Chet Kuplen, CEO/Founder of Sports in Kansas, on Finnesy
"He's one of the states top multiple sport athletes. The kid is a flat out competitor. What he did at state wrestling was quite the accomplishment. He's tough as nails as a dual-threat quarterback. Plainville is on my short list to be one of the best teams in 1A. They get tested every week in their league so they'll be ready. Jared and Jordan are two of the best players in the state regardless if its 1A or 6A. They have been around forever it seems and i am looking for a big year out of both."
How did you get involved in football?
Ever since I was a kid I always loved playing football. I would always go over to Hayden Friends house and there would be a bunch of guys there and we would just play ball everyday.
What are your goals this season?
My goals are to win a State Championship. We have to take it one game at a time but at the end of the day the #1 goal is to win a State Championship.
Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?
Yes, we definitely have a legit shot this year. It won’t be easy with the teams we play but we all believe we have the team to get it done this year.
What makes you such a force as a player?
I’m not crazy fast but I have good field awareness and I have the ability to make people miss and that is what I think really helps me be a force on Friday nights.
What’s the atmosphere like to play football on Friday night for your school and town?
The atmosphere is crazy here! The town of Plainville loves football. Everyone including the local businesses are so supportive of every sport and it really makes you want to put on a show for everyone on Friday nights.
For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?
You’re going to see small school football at its finest, everyone playing both sides of the ball and competing. You could come to a game any week and see some great competition with us being in the MCL.
Who are other key players on your team?
Jared Casey LB/HB, Cody Crawford DB/WR, Ben Hansen LB/OL, Payton Rathbun DL/OL, Jonah Smith DL/OL.
Favorite thing about football?
My favorite thing about football is just getting to play the game I love with all of my friends and also just getting to compete every single week against good competition.
Do you play any other sports, tell us about that, what other positions do you play?
I also Wrestle and run Track. I have Wrestled ever since I was a little kid which is why I have become a pretty solid Wrestler. I’m not too bad at track either. I haven’t made it to state yet but I know what it takes and I should make a good run this year.
What is it like to play for your coach?
Coach Stephenson is a great coach! Playing for him is easy because he makes sure that every single person on the field understands what he is trying to do.
What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better?
This off-season our team has been lifting 4 days a week and we have been playing some 7 on 7.
What interests are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?
There are some teams that have contacted me but Bethel College and Fort Hays are the only offers that I have so far.
Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?
My favorite thing to do is probably have a pick up game of basketball with all of my friends. I also like to play xbox.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself graduated from college and pursuing a career in the medical field.
Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?
My favorite subject is probably history. I am an A/B student with a 3.875 GPA.
Who is your role model?
My role model in life is my mom. She is one of the hardest workers I know. When it comes to football my role model is Baker Mayfield. I try to model my game after him and I also try to have as much fire on the field as him.
Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?
The best place to eat in our town is probably Dairy Queen or Pizza Hut.
One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?
I enjoy being a positive role model and setting a good example for the kids that look up to me in Plainville.
Anything else to add?
I give any success that I have to the Lord.