The way Alan Hafer is playing quarterback for Woodstock makes it a shame his high school career is over.
On the other hand, Hafer leaves with the satisfaction of going out with a bang. He put up the best numbers of his career – 18 of 26 passing for 344 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions – in Friday’s 49-21 win Friday at Johnsburg.
It was the Blue Streaks’ first victory and Hafer’s last game, as he is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday to repair ligament damage in his right thumb. Hafer sustained the injury while playing defense against Grayslake North on Sept. 12.
Hafer opted to have the surgery now so he could return for the start of the wrestling season.
“[The decision] definitely was hard on me,” Hafer said. “I don’t like being on the sideline, I can’t stand just watching. I’ve always loved football and I always will.”
Toward the end of the game, Streaks coach Steve Beard was going to give Hafer a curtain call late in the game, but junior Jace Pohlman, who alternated with Hafer earlier this season, told Hafer to go out and finish the game.
“It was a very nice thing for Jace to do and I very much respect him for that,” Hafer said. “That was such an honor for me to go out there and finish my last game. I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Hafer was gracious to his teammates and did not want too much personal credit. Still, there is no doubt his play in recent games had sparked the offense.
“I felt early both players had earned playing time and that was the decision my staff and I did,” Beard said. “Alan did separate himself. He’s been a great leader for us and I felt his decision-making in our pass offense has been great. He’s really improved.”
Hafer’s last pass went to receiver Jordan Sumner for a touchdown. He finishes 74 for 119 passing for 1,129 yards with nine touchdowns. His three interceptions all came in the season opener against Oswego East.
Hafer needed to get the damaged ligaments fixed for wrestling, although he was able to play through the pain for the past three weeks.
“Once in a while it hurt,” Hafer said. “If it gets hit, it starts hurting. The majority of the time it doesn’t hurt too bad. It would be adrenaline, I’d say.”
Hafer has planned for a while to participate in ROTC when he goes to college. Therefore, his football-playing days might be over.
“I’m not quite sure,” Hafer said. “[Football] is still a possibility, but I’m thinking more about ROTC right now. I’ve been set on going to the Army and doing that. It would be hard to balance football and ROTC.”
In which case, Hafer’s last game was about as good as it gets.
“His memories of his last high school football game are going to be very, very good,” Beard said.