The Hornets football team will see many familiar faces this season, including junior quarterback and team captain, Tyler Eckenrode.
Eckenrode said his passion came from his first year of tackle football in the fifth grade, and his love for the game has evolved ever since.
“I played my first year of tackle football in the fifth grade, and have been involved ever since,” Eckenrode said. “I grew up watching my Uncle play football for Southwest Baptist, and since then I knew I wanted to play football.”
Eckenrode is originally from Houston, Texas, where he began playing football. He competed in both football and baseball in high school and achieved success in earning honorable mention, academic all-state honors while leading his team to the thirteenth consecutive Texas 5A playoffs. He threw for 1,580 yards and 11 touchdowns his senior year.
“We finally have a guy who is steady,” said head coach Garin Higgins. “He knows how to prepare for the game and does everything we ask of him. I can trust him.”
Last season, Eckenrode had an impressive year in which he threw for over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns, including a solid outing against Northwest Missouri State. He totaled 207 yards passing with 2 touchdown passes, while he added another touchdown on the ground.
“He’s a smart, calm and composed quarterback,” said senior offensive lineman Ben McKaig. “He is such a good decision maker and is really good at getting the ball to our playmakers.”
Eckenrode believes this season will have many successes due to the camaraderie of the football team, and said the team is clicking on all cylinders.
“We have a good solid group of returning players this season,” Eckenrode said. “Both the offense and defense are playing well together. We have some talent and can’t wait to get out there and compete this season.”