Hobbs Eagles quarterback was named top quarterback
Gavin Hardison picked up another piece of hardware and it’s a big one.
The Hobbs Eagles quarterback was named NMPreps.com’s top quarterback in New Mexico on Wednesday.
Hardison’s response to the honor was more goal-oriented in terms of taking the field and doing the job well.
“I was just trying to be the best QB I could be,” Hardison said. “Just trying to focus on what I could do to help my team be the best they could be.”
Hardison had a year like no other quarterback in the New Mexico high school sports history setting a new passing record of 5,347 yards on 332 of 484 pass attempts. He is set to attend New Mexico Military Institute on a football scholarship next school year.
Eagles head coach Charles Gleghorn said the Eagles would have been a different team without Hardison.
“That position of quarterback is very, very important, at all levels,” Gleghorn said. “He was pretty much irreplaceable at that position this year. He was very important to have and did a really good job of getting the ball to all of those really good receivers that we had. He had an amazing year.”
While Hardison is pleased to have won the award, he considers it more of a team award than an individual one.
“It is a team achievement to me,” Hardison said. “My o-line and receivers did really great this year. I can’t thank those guys enough, but it is pretty cool.”
Hardison won the award with ease. He was named the top single caller by NMPreps.com while three of the four media members also voted him No. 1. The other went to Artesia’s Taylor Null. Hardison also took first in the fan vote.
“He should be unanimous, in my eyes of course,” Gleghorn said. “I think 10 years from now, I think the record will still stand and people will still be talking about Gavin Hardison from 2017. … I am glad that he was recognized so easily.”
Null finished second while Manzano quarterback Jordan Byrd was third.
Hardison said his goal this past season was not to be the state’s best quarterback, but to win games.
“If it took that much to win a game, then that is what I had to do,” he said. “It was pretty crazy to do it, but I had the right group of guys to make it happen.”
“That passing record is kind of like the equivalent to the home run record,” Gleghorn said. “It is kind of one that is big for everybody. So it is good that Gavin got that and not only broke the record, but got over 5,000 yards, which had never been done. It couldn’t have happened to a better kid.”
In addition to setting the single season passing yardage record, Hardison also set the single-game passing yardage record, twice. During week two, he passed for 615 yards in a road win over Artesia, breaking the 2003 record of 546 yards. In Week 9, he set a new record with 629 passing yards in a win over Oñate.
By the end of the season, Hardison’s had five of the top 10 single-game passing games in New Mexico prep football history, including the top three.
“It is pretty cool to be able to say that,” Hardison said. “But, at the same time, I have to thank my receivers and linemen and coaching staff. If it wasn’t for those guys, none of that would have happened. We were just trying to win games and I was doing whatever I could to help my team win.”
As great a season as Hardison had, both Gleghorn and Hardison are quick to note that the record is a team record and it couldn’t have been broken without all the good receivers the Eagles had.
Hobbs had two 1,000-yard receivers, Alec Finney (1,617 yards) and Semaj Cotton (1,263 yards). Brenden Strickland finished with 774 yards while Jaime Rivera caught 593 yards. Jackson Kinney and Jaron Clay both had more than 340 yards while Dylan Condarco and Tristan Kemp each had more than 100 yards.
“They had so many yards after the catch,” Hardison said. “You just get the ball out to them and you knew they were going to make plays. They did that continuously and did a really, really good job for us this year. I can’t thank them enough for what they did.”
Hardison also set a school record with 59 touchdown passes. Finney hauled in 24 to lead the state while Cotton caught 10. Strickland and Rivera each had six TD receptions. The mark is also the third-most in New Mexico prep history. He twice passed for eight scores in a game, which is tied with three others for second most in one game.
There is still one more award the Eagles’ quarterback is under consideration for, NMPreps.com’s Mr. Football Award.