Sophomore named starter in Northern Nevada’s toughest league despite being undersized
The big football team in the “Biggest Little City in the World” is the University of Nevada-Reno Wolf Pack, and wolves are known to roam the snow-capped mountains that surround Reno, however the kind of wolves sophomore Hunter Triplett of Earl Wooster of Reno encountered were a little different.
At one time in the 52-year history of Wooster, the school was a force to be reckoned with in Nevada high school football. It was also a big-time wrestling power.
The Colts won eight state football championships between 1976-1998, still the most in state history.
Since then, however, Wooster is still known as a wrestling school, but the football program has been down. In fact, since 1998 the Colts have not made the playoffs, and they have rarely been at .500 in the ultra-tough IA Northern League.
After a 2-8 season in 2012 with only 23 players on the roster, and with the starting quarterback and back-up both graduating, the job was open.
“Wooster had been down because kids weren’t coming out for football,” Triplett told NFA Nation.
That changed in 2013 when 41 boys came out, including Triplett, the starting JV quarterback as a freshman.
Actually the coaches asked Hunter to move up at the end of the 2012 JV season, but in order to do so they told the at the time 5-foot-9, 125-pounder he’d have to gain 20 pounds.
Six meals a day and protein shakes, plus weight training
With a goal of becoming the varsity starter, Hunter turned to the coaches he trusts for a game plan, NFA Senior Certified Quarterback Instructor and Lead Camp Coach JC Boice, and local NFA Coach Rod Robinson.
Coaches Boice and Robinson put him on a weight gain regimen of six meals a day and weight training. “A lot of protein shakes,” Triplett mused.
Within five months Hunter had gained the pounds.
Thrown to the Wolves
Hunter competed with an incoming junior over the summer and prior to the season beginning he was named the starting quarterback.
Triplett came into the season at 5-10 and 145 pounds and started and played every game in Northern Nevada’s toughest league.
His numbers weren’t spectacular, but he did pass for 1,694 yards and 22 TDs with 13 interceptions.
More importantly, Triplett led Wooster to a 4-5 record, the best record at Wooster since 2001. For his efforts, he was named Second Team All League.
“Hunter is a real up and comer that got thrown to the wolves early as a young sophomore, but he made the most of it,” Boice remarked.
“By his senior year everyone will wonder where he came from,” continued Boice. “He has all the tangibles and just needs to grow and continue to work. “His film at moments is pretty impressive. He’s already getting some interests from schools despite his record and stats because some coaches can see his upside.
Maintaining the game plan
Because the 3.57 GPA student-athlete, who’s taking advanced courses in the International Baccalaureate school-within-a-school at Wooster, is super busy, the telephone interview had to be done at 6:30 in the morning.
“I’m up at 5-5:30 because I have a lot to do before school,” Triplett said. “I have to get ready and prepare all my meals for the day and arrange my clothes for school and work.”
Triplett has a part-time job at an athletic training facility where the money he earns pays for the speed and agility sessions he takes there.
Besides the training sessions, Hunter is still using the diet regimen Boice and Robinson laid out for him.
“I’m currently 5-11, 151, but I need to weigh 165 pounds going into the season.”
To reach his ultimate goal Triplett’s weekly goal is to gain a half pound.
“Every Sunday I contact Coach Boice and he reviews my diet and weight I’ve recorded throughout the week.”
What he gets out of NFA
As is evidenced by the work Boice has done with Triplett above and beyond football, the NFA experience has transcended a big part of his life.
Since he was 11-years old, Hunter has been to nine NFA camps, worked personally with Boice for and extended period, worked around 15 times with Robinson, and recently came to The Range in Livermore, Calif. to work with NFA Director of Player Development Will Hewlett over a two-day period.
“When I went to my first NFA camp I thought playing was just about throwing the football. I didn’t know anything about mechanics and getting the footwork right.”
“For me the most important thing I’ve gotten out of NFA is the stress and importance they put on leadership and doing the little things right. I’ll never forget the leadership speech by Coach Slack (NFA founder and President Darin Slack).”
“As a team our goal is to grow as a team, get above .500 and go the playoffs for the first time in 16-years, and win a state championship in the next two years. I want to be a success personally, but doing whatever I have to do to get us to the playoffs is my goal.”
“My long term goal is to get the attention of college coaches, whatever or wherever, but eventually to start in a D1 program. From there I’ve dreamed of playing pro since I was six.”
Despite his smallish stature Boice still likes what he sees.
“I still consider him an ‘under the radar’ kid for the moment. However as he continues to grow and mature and develop that is going to change and change fast. He has all the tangibles especially leadership and intelligence with very strong throwing mechanics, so he has a high ceiling. The Hunter we saw be effective this year as a sophomore varsity starter is going to grow into an extremely competitive senior quarterback a year and a half from now.”
Triplett can’t control his height, but he’s working diligently on his weight, and for a kid that’s up at 5 a.m., maintains outstanding grades, and works a part time job on top of football, no one can question his work ethic and desire to succeed.