He’s never had to have a huge role in the offense for the Hoxie High School football team.
A three-year starter for the Indians at quarterback Jared Kennedy’s role always was pretty simple.
In 2017, it was hand the ball off to Latham Schwarz, hand the ball off to Chris Cox, throw a ball here and there and don’t turn it over.
He played that role nearly to perfection as a junior. He threw for 811 yards, 13 scores, and rushed for 110 more and five scores as Hoxie went 12-1 and captured the school’s first state championship, a beatdown of St. Paul in the Eight-Man Division I title game.
A year later, and Kennedy’s role for Hoxie likely will change.
Wylie Weems will step up in the Indian backfield to shoulder a great deal of the load, but much more of Hoxie’s offense could be placed in Kennedy’s hands, something the senior already would have been comfortable with, had it been needed.
“He has it in him,” senior teammate and tight end Jarrod Dible said. “He’s just like me, too. He’ll do whatever it takes whenever he needs to.”
With some personnel changes in what Hoxie hopes to be another deep playoff team, Kennedy could turn into more of a passing quarterback if the situation calls for it, Hoxie head coach Lance Baar said.
“He’s a really good passer,” Baar said. “It’s just something we haven’t done a whole lot of in the past with the guys we’ve had.”
On top of being more than willing to accept any role that comes his way, Kennedy’s experience on the field should work wonders.
“He’s a good decision-maker and really keeps it together for us,” Baar said. “His experience is huge in that huddle.”
Dible, a four-year starter, likened Kennedy to Jared’s brother, Chase, a 2013 graduate and three-year starter at QB.
In his senior campaign, he threw for 637 yards, and nine scores, while being the team’s second-leading rusher at 980 yards and 18 scores. That team went 10-2 and lost to Jetmore-Hodgeman County in the sub-state title round.
“Everything’s clicking for him right now,” Dible said of the senior QB. “He’s looking good.”
He’ll let someone else speak the praise, though. Kennedy will spend his time returning the favor. He knows he’s only as good as the guys around him in Hoxie.
“Wylie (Weems) will be close to being just as good (as last year’s leading rusher Schwarz),” Kennedy said. “Plus, I have a lot of confidence in the guys we have up front.”