Hastings football loses Whyrick, managing emotions of postseason ineligibility

Local4 News at 10
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 10:59 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Back in December, Hastings High learned its enrollment numbers bumped them up to Class A in football competition. School leadership, in collaboration with the program, opted to stay in Class B despite knowing the consequences would be postseason ineligibility.

The Tigers went 2-7 last year and are focused on earning more success. Hastings football coach Charlie Shoemaker also expressed the desire for enrollment numbers to dip down to make them eligible for Class B again.

“For us, like I told them when we found out, you can still win a district championship, all that stuff,” Shoemaker said. “And we’re going to continue to build on that. We’ve got eight seniors, so we want to make sure we send them out right. Something about this group, they all really love football and that’s a big deal for them.”

It was a harsh reality for this year’s senior class, but Shoemaker said they are stepping up as leaders and not letting the team take any slack.

“I was kind of heartbroken because after a rough season like last year, I was just excited to get back out there and prove ourselves,” said Joe Rodriguez, Hastings senior tight end and defensive end. “It kind of hurt that we couldn’t make it, but we just have so much to prove. It doesn’t really matter, playoffs or not, we’ve just got to prove ourselves.”

The Tigers also have to make adjustments to their offensive plan in fall camp. Johnny Whyrick, who was competing to be the starter this year, is no longer with the program after moving to Greeley, Colorado, due to an “unavoidable conflict” with his parents’ job. Shoemaker said Hastings has two sophomore options that are stepping up.

“We’ve got two guys who are battling it out,” Shoemaker said. “We’re real pleased with both of them. If we had to start tomorrow, we wouldn’t be afraid to put either one of them out there. They both came into the summer competing for that starting job as well, so this isn’t any different for those two guys and we’re real confident in both of them. They’re very quality quarterbacks and they’re going to be really good.”

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