5-Star Performer: Hastings High Football

Local4 News at 10
Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 11:16 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Making it to the playoffs in any sport is a good feeling, but making it after being ineligible the year before hits a little different. That’s how the Hastings High football team is feeling this week, especially after beating Seward to open the Class B Playoffs.

For Hastings, moving from Class A to Class B was a blessing in disguise.

“I think last year or coming into this year we had a lot of guys returning from last year’s team,” head coach Charlie Shoemaker said. “We really only lost three starters total. Last year was a year where we were ineligible, and we wanted to make sure that we got as much guys experience as possible.”

Even though they couldn’t play postseason ball last year, they gained a lot of valuable experience that’s now paying off this season.

“Last year we were down a little bit, but this year we came back ready to go with energy, and we knew cause last year were very young still ever just ready to go this year,” said junior quarterback Tucker Synek.

“We knew we could make it from the start so we just worked in the weight room,” added senior wide receiver Landon Hinrichs. “We did a lot of off-season work to get right now. We just play as a team.

All of that hard work was put to the test against Seward, and Kooper Kohl did his part to help the Tigers ‘run’ away with it by punching in three rushing touchdowns to earn the team’s first playoff win since 2020.

“It’s just one of those games you’re in a groove and you’re in the zone and you can’t feel like you’re gonna be stopped, and I had that mindset myself and it’s kind of due to the hours I put in in the weight room,” Kohl said.

Their next match-up will be against Waverly on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m., and the Tigers hope to keep their season alive once again. Shoemaker said his team’s versatility on the offense will make them hard to stop.