Jared Hobby began his high school football career not unlike many other quarterbacks — wide-eyed, nervous and timid. But he also was full of big dreams.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
He was given his first start when he was a sophomore at Gardner Edgerton High School, offering him a chance to step into the spotlight at a young age. Or so he thought.
Instead, two seasons and nearly 30 starts later, Hobby is still searching for that spotlight.
He has eight touchdowns in the first month of his senior season. In only 12 pass attempts, he threw four touchdowns in the Trailblazers’ 56-51 victory last week against Bishop Miege. But the question he’s most often asked has very little to do with him.
What’s it like playing with Traevohn Wrench?
Ah, yes. Such is the life of sharing a field with Wrench, an all-everything tailback thought by many to be the most talented ball carrier in the state of Kansas.
“When you play with Trae, the light shines on him,” Hobby says before smiling. “We know there’s a reason everybody comes to our games — to watch Trae run the football.
“At some point, you just have to accept that.”
Hobby, in many ways, is The Other Guy.
It’s a role he’s played for the past three seasons. He and Wrench have started every game since the opening night of their sophomore seasons. Wrench, a Kansas University commit, has excelled, running for 5,588 yards. He’s on pace for more than 7,000 yards by the time his career finishes.
Hobby has provided the background noise. He isn’t flashy, doesn’t put up monstrous stats and won’t draw the same interest from college coaches.
But he serves a purpose — an important one — for the Trailblazers, 3-1, who are tied for the Eastern Kansas League lead heading into Friday’s game with Blue Valley West.
“He runs the offense,” Wrench says. “The rest of us just listen.”
That, of course, doesn’t make him any more recognizable. Not when he plays next to Wrench.
Wrench has developed into one of the state’s most exciting high school players to watch every Friday night. His combination of speed and power has led to 70 career rushing touchdowns.
There’s a reason he demands attention.
“He’s the best running back in the state of Kansas,” Hobby says. “He has field vision like no one else has. He’s amazing.”
So, too, is Hobby. Just in a much different way, his coach says.
“He is our leader on the field, and he always has been, even as a sophomore,” Gardner Edgerton coach Marvin Diener said. “The main thing, for us to win big games, is he has to move the chains on the third downs. And he does that.
“He’s a very, very good quarterback. His style of plays keeps him from being noticed a whole lot.”
His rise into that status — a very good quarterback — has required some improvements.
Hobby threw 10 touchdowns as a sophomore and 12 last season, but he offset those numbers with 14 interceptions.
There was a reason for that. With the Gardner Edgerton offense only offering Hobby 15 passes per night, he admitted he took some chances in the past he probably shouldn’t have taken.
“I was probably more of a selfish player as a sophomore,” Hobby says. “I’ve grown into a team player. A quarterback always wants to throw it, but you just have to realize if the team wins, you’re doing your job.”
The Trailblazers are winning, and they’re putting up big offensive numbers. After being shut out by Blue Valley in the season opener — a loss Hobby called eye-opening — they scored 153 points over the ensuing three weeks, all wins.
Suddenly, the preseason goals are back. Those include bringing home the first football state championship in school history.
“If that happens, I think we would all get recognized,” Hobby says. “And even if we didn’t, I wouldn’t care. I’m not going to complain about winning a state championship.”
To reach Sam McDowell, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.