By David Fong
TROY — When selecting a college, record-setting Troy High School quarterback Hayden Kotwica had one very specific item at the top of his wish list.
Football was not it.
“I liked their education program,” said Kotwica, who recently signed his national letter of intent to play football at Capital University. “I want to study special education, and I feel like Capital is going to give me so many opportunities after school. I knew I wanted to go to a school I loved being at — and that I had to put athletics second.”
Don’t be surprised, however, if Kotwica excels both in the classroom and on the football field.
At Troy, Kotwica matched or exceeded a number of records that had stood for than 50 years — almost all of which were originally set by Tom Myers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, before he went on to become an All-American at Northwestern University and play in the NFL for the Detroit Lions.
As a junior, Kotwica set four school records, including passing yards in a season (2,021), passing yards in a game (421 vs. Butler), passing touchdowns in a game (five vs. Xenia, tying Myers’ record) and the longest pass in school history (97 yards to Hayden Jackson against Chaminade Julienne).
Following his junior year, Kotwica earned second-team All-Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division honors.
As a senior, Kotwica completed 120 of 2113 passes for 1,852 yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also carried the ball 161 times for 798 yards and 13 touchdowns. Of the 52 offensive touchdowns the Trojans scored last season, Kotwica either threw or ran for 31 of them, accounting for nearly 60 percent of Troy’s touchdowns.
Following the season, Kotwica was named All-GWOC American North Athlete of the Year, first-team All-Southwest District and second-team All-Ohio.
He finished his career with 4,648 passing yards, second in school history only to Myers, who threw for more than 5,000 yards in his career. He’s only the second quarterback in Troy history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in his career and only the third quarterback in school history (joining Myers and Cody May) to throw for more than 1,000 yards in two different seasons.
“I think Hayden brings a lot of things to do the table that we’d like to take credit for — but we really can’t,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said of Kotwica. “With his athleticism, he was able to do a lot of things and make some plays you just can’t teach. He’s also just a natural leader. He stepped up and led this team.”
Kotwica said he hopes some of those abilities will translate into early playing time at Capital. Coach Chad Rogosheske will be entering his second year at Capital this fall and Kotwica’s skill set seems perfectly fit for Rogosheske’s spread offense.
“That had been running the triple-option, but last year was their first year running the spread,” Kotwica said. “A lot of the quarterbacks they have are triple-option quarterbacks. I’m looking to come in and do what I can to help grow the program.”
On and off the field.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong