MOORE — High school football in Oklahoma has changed. Once known for its wishbone and power running attack, it’s now become an aerial assault where quarterbacks are flinging the football almost every play.
The days of a running back being a workhorse seem to be gone in Class 6A. That is, except at Westmoore, where senior Kieron Hardrick is expecting to tote the rock until his legs fall off.
“It’s just going to be me and AJ Oliver this year,” Hardrick said. “I am ready. It’s a pretty big change. It’s more of a load on me and I have to take more initiative to make myself a better player. It’s a lot of work this year.”
Hardrick ran for almost 1,000 yards last year as he split time with Austin Richards. This time he will be the lead back carrying the brunt of the Jaguars’ offense. The realization of just what he will have to put his body through this year began to dawn on him late in his junior campaign.
“Playing behind Austin Richards, it hit me late in the season last year,” Hardrick said. “This is going to be me next year. I have to work hard and keep it going. It just hit me that it’s going to be my time next year.”
Westmoore coach Billy Langford has seen Hardrick change over the offseason.
“He is a lot more focused and wanting to have a big year,” Langford said, “and knows he’s capable of having that year. He still has that big smile, but he comes a little more focused to practice than in the past. So that’s good.”
Hardrick has set his goals for more than 1,500 yards rushing and at least 20 touchdowns. He said if he reaches those numbers, it means his team is having success.