Hinder leading Sailors football into playoffs | SteamboatToday.com

Hinder leading Sailors football into playoffs

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs High School quarterback Austin Hinder has dominated on the football field this season and has shown a sense of determination and leadership well beyond his years.

Steamboat Springs — In the progressions and perils of high school football, Austin Hinder has always been goal-oriented. — In the progressions and perils of high school football, Austin Hinder has always been goal-oriented.

— In the progressions and perils of high school football, Austin Hinder has always been goal-oriented.

Not scheduled to start at quarterback his sophomore year, Hinder dedicated himself to change that. After he got the starting job and was expected to manage the game, Hinder prepared himself each week to go out and dominate.

And as goals go – and as the Steamboat Springs High School football team moves toward postseason play – Hinder certainly is not done yet.

Ask him and he’ll assure you, what he’s done in his nine starts this season is just part of the ultimate goal: bringing a gold ball back to Steamboat Springs for the first time since 1979.

“My goal is to win a state championship. That’s really my only goal,” Hinder said. “That’s what I deem a successful season.”

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A state championship for Steamboat isn’t out of the question.

While Hinder’s athletic abilities and natural talents are hard to ignore, the 6-4 sophomore certainly is not one to take

credit. Seasoned and articulate, Hinder says he is in the right situation with the right team.

Along with an inviting senior class, the Sailors are peppered with numerous other sophomores making an impact.

While Hinder has a rapport with playmaking upperclassmen Jay Hanley, Nigel Hammond, Matt Lettunich and Alex Wood, he’s been taking snaps from sophomore Carl Steele, handing off to sophomore Joe Dover and throwing to sophomore Cody Harris since middle school.

“One thing is, Austin’s had the luxury of playing with talented and athletic kids,” Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said. “He’s fit into a senior class that’s leadership and style is so comfortable to be around. He’s glad to be part of a team. Seniors Nigel (Hammond), Ahmad (Akkad), Ben (DeLine) and Mac (Marsh) all exemplify different aspects of that : (Hinder) is a product of his environment and his work ethic.”

Hinder’s explosive talent on the field and statistical numbers are hard to ignore.

He has accounted for 1,464 total yards of offense. He has a 3-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio and has completed 67 percent of his passes.

“Yeah, I was kind of worried. I’d never seen him play,” said Hammond, who has been playing a huge role on the varsity team since he was a sophomore. “I heard he got rattled and he’s a twig, so we thought he’d break.

“But after Kent Denver, I remember watching that film and seeing him just get lit up four or five times really good and thinking, ‘man he’s tough.’ Plus he kept making good throws.”

Now, as the Sailors approach the playoffs, Hinder said he’s keeping it all in perspective.

Especially considering he’s only a sophomore, with less than 10 starts, playing for an especially dangerous playoff team.

Right?

“I can’t use the excuse I’m a sophomore,” Hinder said. “Going into this season, I’ve never been nervous before a game. I’ve always been just so excited because I’ve prepared for that game. When it comes game time, with all my work I’ve put in and with the other guys around me, I know we have what it takes to be successful.”

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com