Hunter Robinson makes his first start of the season in varsity football’s 30-7 victory over Lowell


Hunter Robinson attempts to break a tackle.

Senior quarterback Hunter Robinson and his upgraded throwing motion attracted a ton of unwanted attention entering the 2021 season.

“I received some attention going into this season, but I wasn’t a big fan of how much attention I received at the start of the year,” Hunter said. “But, at the end of the day, it just comes down to how you play in games.”

Before Hunter was able to kick off his senior campaign, though, his doctor dealt him an unfortunate card—a card that kept him sidelined for the first two games of the season.

“I was shocked at first and didn’t really know how to react when my doctor said I had a hernia,” Hunter admitted. “Watching those first few games from the sidelines was hard and not something I had even thought about coming into the season.”

Hunter, a reigning member of the OK-White All-Conference team from last year, quickly went from the talk of the town to the quarterback in charge of snapping the ball to the starter in practice. For Hunter, this new reality only prompted him to focus more on his rehabilitation. 

“I had laparoscopic surgery, which is supposed to have a shorter recovery time than other alternatives,” Hunter said. “Other than that, it just came down to doing what I could do and not trying to push it too fast.”

At the six-minute mark of the second quarter in FHC’s 30-7 victory over Lowell, it appeared as if Hunter’s patience paid off in the form of 54 yards.

After motioning sophomore JT Hartman next to him in singleback formation, Hunter read the defense. One of Lowell’s middle linebackers began to subtly inch his way towards the line of scrimmage while Hunter went through his calls. On the snap of the ball, that same Lowell linebacker snuck his way past FHC’s interior offensive line and into an almost empty pocket. Sensing the immediate pressure, Hunter made a beeline to the sideline in hopes of escaping a sack in the backfield. By doing that, Hunter cut off the angle for the Lowell defender to tackle him. Hunter stayed on his feet and eluded the Lowell defender before he could get to him. With enough green grass in front of him to get off a downfield throw, Hunter lofted the ball towards a streaking Jacob Bonnett. The senior slot receiver trespassed behind the Lowell secondary while Hunter was evading pressure, so there was no one back to stop him from prancing into the end zone for his first and final receiving touchdown of the game. Senior Luke Gustafson would then extend FHC’s lead to 14-0 after a successful extra point.

Jacob Bonnett stays on his feet and jogs in for a Ranger touchdown.

“It was great to see him healthy out there,” senior Ben Scholler said. “He’s been working very hard, and he’s even better than he was before he was hurt.”

Down the stretch of the second quarter, Hunter set Luke up for another field goal by connecting with senior Conner Milton for 33 yards. Then, from 26 yards out, Luke nailed it to put FHC up 23-7 heading into intermission. 

The rest of the game was all about FHC’s stalwart defense, as it held Lowell to zero points in the second half of action. In recent years, Lowell’s methodical veer-option offense has tired teams out around the fourth quarter mark—its combination of violent run blocking and hard running can catch teams off guard.

“We knew they were gonna come out and play physical, so we just had to play more physical and hit them in the mouth,” junior safety Chase Robinson, who racked up four tackles, said. 

Charlie Radke watches the Lowell ball carrier fumble the ball right in front of him.

All game, FHC’s defensive line disrupted the pocket. Whether it was senior captain Carter Kelly plugging up the gaps or whether it was junior Crandall Quinn spying on the quarterback, the large Ranger defense line did its job. The “cherry on top” for the defense’s stellar performance came near the end of regulation on Lowell’s 45-yard line. Despite the game being out of reach for Lowell, FHC’s defensive front still kept up its persistent pressure on the quarterback. The defense’s high motor and a little bit of luck led to a Lowell fumble. While the ball fell out of the Lowel ball carrier’s arms, senior Charlie Radke turned his hips toward the pile. The ball dropped right at his feet, and he fell right on top of it.

Last week, head coach Tim Rogers admitted that a two-quarterback system wasn’t out of the question when it came down to winning football games. It wasn’t until Hunter threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns, along with 106 yards on the ground and another touchdown, that coach Rogers publicly named Hunter the starter.

“When Hunter’s ready to go, Hunter’s going to play,” Rogers said. “He’s going to play a majority of the snap, and we’ll treat Justin the same way next year when he’s a senior.”

The Rangers’ past two contests have been lopsided victories over two mediocre teams. Their next three opponents, Greenville, Grand Rapids Christian, and Forest Hills Northern, aren’t necessarily the scariest teams out there. However, right after those three games, FHC will host a juggernaut in the OK-White, Byron Center, at home on Friday, October 15. Regardless of how much hype is already surrounding that game, coach Rogers wants to stress the fact that “it’s not about them.”

“It’s not about them; it’s about us,” Rogers said. “We talk about getting better every week, regardless of the opponent. As you can see today, we made some mistakes. So, we’ll work on those mistakes and try to get better next week.”