When it comes to players putting up numbers on Friday night across the state one that you can always count on to produce is Wichita Trinity High School senior Sam Hardin.
Hardin, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound, quarterback, has passed for 1,606 yards this season with 22 touchdowns in the first six games. Not only does he get it done with his arm in the spread pass-first offense that the Knights run, he also gets it done with his legs. Hardin has rushed for 563 yards on the season with four touchdowns. He is no stranger to success at the quarterback position as he threw for 1,362 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior last fall, while rushing for 600 more yards with five scores. Hardin has thrown just five interceptions in 186 attempts this season. In last weeks game Hardin had 195 passing yards with six passing touchdowns and 122 yards rushing with a touchdown.
Trinity may not be where they want to be record wise at 3-3 but the three losses have been to quality competition. The three losses are to Cheney, Conway Springs and Garden Plain, all 3A teams, that are a combined 18-0.
The offense has also produced in every game this season. Seniors Caden Williams and Hillard Cozine have stepped up to be the top two targets for Hardin this season. Williams is among the leaders in the state in receiving yardage as he has 44 catches for 714 yards and 12 touchdowns. Cozine has 29 catches for 460 yards with eight scores. Senior Jacob Baker also has 16 catches for 238 yards and a score.
Trinity has produced multiple division one players as of recent including Morgan Burns, Tyler Burns and last year Ben Adler, all of whom signed with Kansas State. However with all those big time players they have never made the Kansas State High School Activities Association Playoffs. Hardin and teammates are hoping to change that this year.
The Knights, led by head coach Jared McDaniel, will begin district play this week as they face Nickerson. Their four team district consists of Nickerson, Clearwater and Wichita Collegiate with only two playoff spots in 4A-II on the line. We caught up with the play making quarterback below in the latest edition of Faces in Kansas below.
Q&A w/ Hardin
How did you get involved in football?
My father is a huge football fan. We would watch football every Sunday when I was around three. I looked up to my dad and wanted to do what he did. Football is something he loved so I fell in love with it too. He coached my team from kindergarten to sixth grade.
What are your goals this season?
My goal this year is to lead my team to state playoffs for the first time in school history.
Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?
Yes, if everyone is healthy, I believe we could make a run.
What makes you such a force as a player?
I’ve always been able to make plays with my feet, throw well on the run, and make pretty good decisions under pressure. I also have a great group of receivers who were willing to put in a lot of work with me in the offseason.
To those that haven’t seen it, describe your offense?
We run the spread and are a pass-first offense. I have one of the state’s best receivers, Caden Williams, and I have the best tight end in the area, Hillard Cozine. Those two plus my o-line, Jacob Baker and Mark Hedstrom make throwing the ball look easy.
For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?
Our stadium is one of the best small stadiums in the state. If you enjoy watching the ball get slung around, you should stop by.
Who are other key players on your team?
On offense, Felix Johnson and Tucker Trevett lead our young offensive line, Caden Williams and Hillard Cozine continue to dominate the passing game every week and Linebackers Nate Adler and Ben Ralston lead our defense.
Favorite thing about football?
The team aspect and the relationships that are made.
What’s it like to play for your coach?
I love it. Coach McDaniel and I have developed a strong relationship over the years. He likes the same type of offense that I like, so we work well together.
How would you describe your guys start so far?
We have 3 wins and 3 losses. Obviously not the most ideal record, but after each game, our team has come out better and more improved.
What will it take to make a run?
Everyone staying healthy and focused.
What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better?
We had weights and conditioning almost every morning, our 7 on 7 team practiced every Thursday, and my receivers and I would throw at our field almost every day for a couple of hours. I also had many sessions with my QB coach from Tulsa, Joe McCulley, which my receivers would also attend.
Plans at the next level, seeing any interest?
Seeing interest but no plan yet
Do you play any other sports?
No, I played basketball up until last year. I wanted to put on more weight in the offseason and focus on football.
Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?
Hang around with my friends or family.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully with a great wife and a great job; right now, I am thinking about dentistry or medicine.
Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you?
My favorite subjects are the sciences or the religion courses. I am an A student, with only a couple of B’s thrown in there.
Who is your role model?
My parents. I mentioned my dad earlier. He would say my mother is where I get my athleticism. She played basketball at Kansas State. Both of my parents have a firm relationship with God and that’s something I look up to.
Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?
Way too many good choices in Wichita, but love Firebirds and Chester’s for special occasions.
One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?
I have watched “The Office” on Netflix more than five times through.