CHASE AND CONNOR BAKER
If you have followed the Hawks Football team this season you may have realized that any and all offensive plays start with Chase (center) and Connor (quarterback) Baker. “Needless to say there is a trust factor there at those two positions between each other that you don’t often, if ever see,” says Head Coach Josh Jaggers. “It’s a first for me and will likely be a last.”
Never before in the history of Hawks Football has there been a QB/Center combination of brothers. Chase, a senior, and younger brother Connor, a sophomore for the Hawks Football team.
Chase’s primarily responsibility on the offensive line is to snap the ball to his younger brother. But, the center does more than that. He has the best view of the defensive line, and is often responsible for making the first adjustments if needed. Typically the center is one of the most intelligent football players on the line of scrimmage. Jaggers concurs, “Chase is very smart and could tell you what every position along the front line needs to do on every play. He doesn’t just know his rules, but he knows everybody else’s.”
This is Chase’s third year as a starter for the Hawks. “I would describe myself has a hard worker. I do what my coaches ask of me. I like to lead by example. I am dedicated to every task that I do. I have challenged myself each season to know the playbook and know what to do in almost every situation on the field.”
Chase has been playing football as long as I can remember. My dad (Clarence) has been a big influence for me with it comes to football. I like football because you get to find out who the tougher player is when you line up across from your opponent. I like the brotherhood feeling you get out of the sport and the lessons this sport teaches you.”
When asked about what it is like to play in front of his younger brother, Chase says, “I feel like we have a great connection. He puts his trust in me and the offensive line so we have to put our trust back into him.”
Assistant Coach Elijah Zwiep speaks highly of Chase and his importance to the program. “Chase is a leader on and off the field. On the field he works his tail off. He’s always one of the first out to the practice field and will put in extra time when necessary to get things right. He works hard during conditioning and weightlifting. He is always positive and encouraging his teammates as well. Being the center he’s a vital part of the Offensive Line, as every play begins with him.”
Zwiep adds, “Chase is a great example of a student athlete and someone who gives back to the community. Off the field Chase is a great student, he has maintained a 4.0 through high school, and is the member of a number of clubs in the school. He helps his father with the MS team and can been seen every Saturday cheering his younger brother on at his little league games.”
Connor has adjustments to make this season in his first year as the varsity quarterback, but both Jaggers and assistant coach Sonny Judd feel like he has a high ceiling of potential. “Connor has a toughness about him as a sophomore that’s only going to get better and better the more confident and experience he gains,” says Jaggers. “He’s very much an attention to detail type kid which is what you look for in a QB.”
“He is a sponge,” says Judd. “He is one of those players that you just have to teach one time. And it doesn’t matter how much information you give him, he is going to remember it and be able to transfer that knowledge to someone else. He not only understands what you want him to do, but he also understands why.”
Connor understands the role and responsibility he has been given. He understands it will take some time, but appreciates learning and playing alongside his older brother. “It is pretty cool to be able to take snaps from my brother. The biggest thing is that I know he has my back and I got his. He is not going to let anyone through and hit. He is going to protect me no matter what. In return, I got his back no matter what. My goal is to be a leader. I just need to manage the offense and as coach Silva says,” keep the chains moving”.
Jaggers adds, “Having played center in college and my best friend to this day having been our QB there is a bond there that is unlike any other positions on the field. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been there. There is just a trust factor between the two positions that’s unlike anything else on the field and that’s only magnified even more when it’s siblings.”
Chase does want to play at the collegiate level. He has an offer from Kentucky Christian at the moment and Lindsey Wilson along with Campbellsville are both showing interest. Jaggers says, “His future is in his own hands. His ability on the field along with his academics (27 ACT) are the things that college coaches want.”
Connor wants to play college football as well. Jaggers says, “I think he will definitely have those opportunities. It’s hard enough for sophomores to start at any other positions on the field, but it’s another thing when they are having to start at the toughest position in all of sports.”