Woodlan’s Aaron Hahn enjoying football return after four-year absence

Aaron Hahn enters Saturday's state championship game as Woodlan's third-leading receiver. (News-Sentinel file photo)
After not playing football since the 8th grade, Aaron Hahn decided to come back to the gridiron for his senior year at Woodlan. (News-Sentinel file photo)

Aaron Hahn made a tough decision in eighth grade.

A three-sport athlete in junior high, Hahn chose to focus on basketball at Woodlan, giving up both football and baseball.

Funny how things change.

After some prodding from childhood friend and current Woodlan quarterback Justin Durkes as well as football coach Sherwood Haydock this past summer, Hahn chose to head back to the gridiron.

“I decided to play the night before the first practice (in early June),” Hahn said. “I’m only a senior once. This is the last opportunity I have to play.”

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The Warriors (12-2) have benefited from Hahn’s presence. Entering Saturday’s Class 2A state championship game against Southridge, the senior is the team’s third-leading receiver, having amassed 30 receptions for 475 yards and seven touchdowns. He also is the team’s punter and was voted First Team All-ACAC at the position.

While the decision to play football again seems easy, it really wasn’t for Hahn. As a junior basketball player, he averaged 15.2 points and seven rebounds a game for the Warriors. At 6-foot-4, the goal is play college basketball at some level. An injury suffered while playing football in the fall could derail those hopes.

But those around Hahn encouraged him to play, despite the risks.

“(Coach Dave Randall) was actually pretty happy for me,” said Hahn when describing how the conversation went when he told his basketball coach of his plans. “His quote was, ‘You can hurt yourself walking down the street.’

“He doesn’t want to hold me back. He knew it was my decision and that obviously playing basketball is important.”

Haydock was happy to have Hahn as well. After that first team practice in June, Hahn was a starter on offense. Not bad for a guy who played fullback and linebacker in junior high and hadn’t been on a football field in four years.

“It all came back pretty naturally,” Hahn said. “I have always had pretty good hands and coordination. I’m not very fast and I can’t jump very high, but I’m lengthy.”

Hahn was able to balance both football and basketball in the summer, with Haydock and Randall being lenient with Hahn’s participation in both.

The experience has been just what Hahn was hoping for when he decided to play football one more time.

“A lot of my friends are on the team and from a standpoint of camaraderie, it has helped with the guys who play both (football and basketball),” Hahn said. “We have a closer bond.”

Come the spring, Hahn is ready to return to another familiar sport.

“You only get a few opportunities in your life to do some things,” Hahn said. “So after basketball season, I am going to play baseball again.”

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