EDGERTON — When it comes to Edgerton football these days, there’s not much secret as to what Edgerton coach Ben Wilhelm wants to do on offense.
All night long, his Bulldogs employ a relentless up-tempo wing-T style rushing attack that scores in bunches, and if you can’t keep up, more often than not it means a running clock in the second half.
Perhaps there’s been no greater center piece to that attack the last few years than senior running back Hunter Prince. Prince has run wild out of the Edgerton backfield during his career, and through his junior year, he’d already become the school’s all-time leader in touchdowns and rushing yards.
And with Edgerton already off to a 1-0 start in 2019 and Prince’s career rushing totals currently standing at 4,435 yards and 73 touchdowns, it’s hard for him to believe his senior year is here.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Prince said following a practice two days before his Bulldogs opened up the season with a 53-6 victory at Hilltop. “It’s something you dream about being a kid. You can’t wait for it, but at the same time, it’s a little sad. ... It’s the last go of things with high school and I’m just trying to cherish everything.”
Prince said he’s been engrossed with the game of football from the time he could walk. He grew up attending Edgerton football games as a child and always longed for the day he could suit up under the Friday night lights at Stauffer Field.
After a promising junior high career, Prince made immediate contributions at the varsity level as a freshman in 2016. As a third string running back in Edgerton’s backfield, he rushed for 416 yards and nine touchdowns. It was a bit of a step up from junior high, Prince said, but he used it as a year to learn from upperclassmen running backs like Derek Blue and Cameron Jordan.
“I learned a lot from them,” Prince said. “They were hard-nosed runners and I picked up that part. ... Before I was a really shifty guy. I wouldn’t really lower the pads up until my sophomore year and it kind of hit me that I needed to.”
Prince’s sophomore year in 2017 is when he really broke out. With the graduation of Blue, Prince took over the starting halfback role and scampered for a then school-record 1,718 yards and 26 touchdowns, helping the Bulldogs to an 8-3 record and a playoff appearance.
Then as a junior in 2018, Prince took an even bigger step up to run for 2,221 yards and 35 touchdowns and help lead the Bulldogs to a 12-1 record and their first Green Meadows Conference title since 1983.
On his way to his record-setting career, Prince said he’s always tried to keep a humble perspective about things.
“I get excited about it and I’m glad about it,” Prince said. “But the way I look at it, it’s not just my records, it’s the ones who have helped me get those. ... I view it as me and my line getting those records.”
Prince admits he’s never been much of a vocal leader throughout his career. But while that might be the case, he says he tries to be the hardest worker in practice, and hopes others follow suit.
And it’s that type of hard-working and humble attitude that has won Prince over to both his teammates and coaches.
“For the career that he’s had up to this point, it’d be really easy for him to get real myopic and consider it to be all about him and he doesn’t,” Wilhelm said. “And that helps the guys around him as well as himself, because team sports in general, if players think it’s all about them, they drive away their teammates and they also tend to underachieve themselves, because they overlook things they can improve upon. But to his credit, he’s not that way and I know that we’re better for it.”
As far as what his future holds, Prince said he certainly has the goal of playing at the collegiate level. At this point, he’s received interest and offers from a number of smaller schools, but hopes he can garner an eventual offer from NCAA Division I school.
As of now, though, he said he’s not entirely concerned with recruiting. Instead, he’s placing all of his focus on finishing strong in his last year in an Edgerton uniform.