KANSAS CITY, MO. — Oak Park High School football is on a run.
The Northmen are headed to the District Championship game with an 8-2 record for the first time in years. Much of this year's success is thanks to a group effort led by starting quarterback Aiden Hinkle.
Last week against Platte County, the junior scored the go-ahead touchdown with just seven minutes remaining to keep Oak Park's season alive.
Success on the football field was not always the goal for Hinkle. The dual athlete considers himself more of a baseball player.
"I'm way better at playing baseball than I am at football," Hinkle said.
His coach Ken Clemens agrees, his QB1's talents don't just stop in the endzone.
"Everybody saw pretty quickly in the summer that he was gonna be the leader of our football team and so it just became really natural," Clemens said.
Hinkle, the definition of a utility player jumps from the outfield to the pitcher's mound back to the infield. His versatility carries over from the diamond to the turf, going from a C team quarterback as a freshman to a wide receiver sophomore season, all the way up to starting QB come fall his junior year.
"It was kinda nerve racking, I was kinda scared," Hinkle said. "I didn't think we were gonna change the offense this year so last year we were really pass heavy and I'm a running quarterback."
Clemens says Hinkle's his work ethic sets him apart
"I learned the whole playbook last year, and then this year, coach wanted me to step up," Hinkle said.
Clemens praised the junior for rising to the challenge.
"We're an option football team and we throw the ball, so he is doing a great job of getting the ball to other people and making runs himself, he just has earned all their respect," Clemens said.
With the team all onboard, Hinkle is ready to get this team past Fort Osage in the District Title game Friday night and continue their pursuit of the Missouri Class 5 State Title.
"We got a winning culture and everybody has come together this year," Hinkle said.