High school feature: A knack for leadership
CANDO, N.D. -- Running an offense, being a team leader -- Jake Hagler seems to have a knack for it. The proof is in the records, not the statistics. Hagler, in his first year as starting quarterback, has led North Star to wins in its first four g...
CANDO, N.D. -- Running an offense, being a team leader -- Jake Hagler seems to have a knack for it.
The proof is in the records, not the statistics.
Hagler, in his first year as starting quarterback, has led North Star to wins in its first four games this season. He's no stranger to the leadership role, albeit in a different sport.
As starting point guard on the North Star boys basketball team, he was the quarterback of talented teams that qualified for the 2009 North Dakota Class B state high school tournament when he was an eighth-grader and suffered just one loss last season, to eventual state champion Carrington in the Region 4 championship. The Bearcats are 47-5 over the past two seasons with Hagler at the point.
"Jake's just an extremely competitive kid," North Star football coach Bryan Haugen said. "He's very athletic and very bright. And you have to have to confidence to step up and take charge to be a team leader. He has that quality; he gets the attention of others easily."
Regardless of the sport, Hagler says he enjoys the role of leader.
"I like to be in control of what's happening," the sophomore said. "I want to be a part of that. I don't think I'm a vocal leader type. I try to lead more through actions."
Hagler was on the receiving end of passes last season. While playing quarterback on the junior varsity, he was a starting varsity wide receiver and had 45 catches, good for 773 yards. The Bearcats quarterback then was 2010 graduate Tanner Komrosky, an all-stater who passed for 2,480 yards.
Hagler and Komrosky are first cousins.
"We're really close," Hagler said. "When he was in school here, I was always over at his house. We did everything together. He has big shoes to fill. But it's easier for me because our line is amazing and we have a better running game this year. It takes the pressure off me."
Hagler has been successful with pinpoint accuracy. He's completed 67 percent of his passes (36-of-54) for 698 yards and 12 touchdowns. He's spread his passes around -- six Bearcats have receptions, led by Daniel Grande (14-288) and Matt Swanson (8-181).
"Jake can throw it farther than Tanner,'' Haugen said. "But Tanner was a lot more accurate. And Tanner was a straight dropback passer, whereas we're doing more play-action this year because we're more of a running team.
"Our offense was probably more sophisticated last year. We put a lot in Tanner's hands because he was a fourth-year starter. Jake probably has two reads on a play where Tanner had three or four. We've cut down on things some because Jake is so young, and we're more of a running team because of the experience of our line."
Haugen said the 6-foot-1 Hagler actually is probably a better receiver than he is a quarterback. And as far as football vs. basketball?
"He's a better basketball player, no doubt about it," Haugen said. "Jake lives for basketball. He can score, he can pass, he can rebound, he can handle the ball and run an offense, and he plays defense like nobody I've ever seen."
The two seasons as starting point guard in basketball have helped in his transition to a leader on the football field, Hagler said. But there are differences in being a floor leader in the two sports.
"You're more in the spotlight being a quarterback in football," Hagler said. "You're touching the ball on every down. You have to make the play, while in basketball you can pass it off and somebody else can get an assist. And you get more attention throwing a long pass or a touchdown pass than making an assist in basketball. The guys who score get the glory in basketball."
Hagler hasn't been about glory or numbers. "I don't think he cares about his own stats,'' Haugen said. "All he cares about is winning.''
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