5-Star Performer: Baker helps Heartland Lutheran football break two-year losing streak
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Two years and 17 games separated the Heartland Lutheran football team from a win, but they never wavered.
“When you’re on a 17-game losing streak, you don’t get the luxury to overlook anybody, so we knew if we played a good game, we’d be alright,” Hearltand Lutheran football coach Brent Penny said.
The Red Hornets dedication was finally rewarded in Thursday’s 46-34 victory over Elba.
“That’s good for the kids,” Penny said. “It’s a step in the right direction. We knew if we could just get the monkey off our back a little bit we could get going.”
“That meant a lot to me,” Heartland Lutheran senior running back Adin Baker added. “I know everybody wants to win and the school wants to win and they want to change the culture. For that to finally pay off, it was awesome.”
Baker’s role in the program has changed. After sitting out last season following a transfer from Grand Island Senior High, the now-senior is willing Heartland Lutheran to better results on the field.
“It was a good moment for everyone,” Baker said. “Break that losing streak and it was good for the guys, good for the team.”
“Six-man is all about athletes,” Penny added. “If you got athletes, you’re one step ahead of everybody else. He’s very versatile. Adin is a great player”
Baker is the definition of a do-it-all athlete for the Red Hornets. He had 116 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground, plus one passing touchdown and an interception against Elba.
“I wasn’t too surprised,” Penny said. “I’ve seen it in practice. He’s just a heck of an athlete.”
“That was awesome to get going like that,” Baker added. “I couldn’t do it by myself.”
Baker’s stats likely would’ve been even better, but his day was cut short after tearing the MCL in his left knee.
“I was on the sideline all year last year with them,” Baker said. “You just got to keep being a good teammate and you can’t just quit because of one injury. The season’s not over for them.”
“He’s our senior leader,” Penny added. That’s tough. We told the guys, ‘Next man up.’”
With three games left on the schedule, Baker will try to work back from injury. But the Red Hornets will press on hoping to start a new streak in the win column.
“You want to act like you’ve been there before and you want to teach the kids that, but we haven’t been there in a while,” Penny said.
“Just because I’m out doesn’t end their season,” Baker added. “They can still win and do great things.”
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