Antler of the Week: Hank Kroger

Current football participant Hank Kroger is awarded the inaugural Antler of the Week!


Charlee Sharack

Kroger (Middle) smiles his way to the locker room after the Red/White Scrimmage.

Chase Ruch, Media Outreach Editor

“I imagine in my mind making plays to help my team, and then I think of the people on my team I’m going to play my hardest for,” Kroger said.

Hank Kroger is now a senior at Elkhorn High School and plays a major role on the Antlers football and track & field team, but this is merely half of the workload that Kroger endures on a daily basis during the school year.

“The way I look at it is that if I don’t do well in school then I can’t play football,” Kroger said. “I practice until 6 P.M. every night and that leaves me with a few hours to do some homework and study.”

If the clocks were rewound back about a year, the Elkhorn Football team would be playing the Waverly Vikings in a Thursday night game. In the third quarter, Kroger exposed a gap in the Waverly defense and ran for over 50 yards before being tackled out of bounds.

Despite the importance of the play within the 13-7 shootout victory against the Vikings, something didn’t seem right. It would turn out that he had broken his fibula and torn ligaments within his ankle, which would take him out of football for the rest of the season.

Now being halfway through the 2021 football season, Kroger is back and with the intention of making an impact on the scoreboard. The tables have turned, and Kroger has made quite a few big time contributions this year on the football field, including a redemption win against the Norris Titans.

“Before this year I had never scored a Varsity touchdown because of my injury,” Kroger said. “For my first touchdown ever to come with 5 minutes left against a great team was a dream, and it being 90 yards made it that much better.”

Last year Norris stood in the way of the state championship 2020 team. This year, a person could make the argument that Hank Kroger stood in Norris’ way. 

When it comes to mentally preparing for competition, Kroger has methods that are simplistic and motivational to being in the zone.

“I try to relax myself a few hours before the game, and then once our team meeting starts, I completely focus on what I’m going to do.” Kroger said. 

As a student athlete, Kroger knows what it’s like to be focused on being the best version of himself. Kroger also brings in a figure he admires for inspiration to what he brings on the turf.

“I like to often think about my grandpa who passed away this summer who was a Vietnam Veteran and also got a Purple Heart for being shot during the war,” Kroger said. “I think about how inspiring his toughness is to me and how he is watching every play.”

The running back elicits talents on and off the field, all in prospect of the pride from his family and grandpa. 

“I try to make him and the rest of my family proud.”

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