Throughout early to mid-December Kansas Pregame contacted 8-Man football coaches in an effort to name the third annual Top 8 team of seniors for both divisions of 8-Man football in Kansas. After an overwhelming response from coaches, and once all the votes were tallied, 16 players were selected.
This is the fourth of 16 individual player profiles highlighting the Top 8 selections in each division and released in no particular order. Look for more in the coming days.
Erhik Hermosillo, QB, 5-9, 145, Wichita County
Wichita County was not to be denied on their path to a state title in 2022 thanks in large part to a defense that allowed an average of 12.3 points per game with five shutouts in the first nine games of the year. But it was the arm and legs of senior quarterback Erhik Hermosillo that made it seemingly impossible for some of the best offenses in the state to keep up in higher scoring bouts.
Hermosillo was electric over the last two seasons with a large majority of his input coming on the offensive side of the ball, with head coach Brant Douglass only using him defensively on two to three snaps per game to preserve the teams most vital cog on offense.
“Erhik was essential to the flow and function of our offense,” Douglass said. “He was an explosive athlete that could take over any game.”
Despite the limited time on defense he still snagged three interceptions and deflected two passes as part of that vaunted defense.
“He is a really good defensive back, but just too valuable offensively to risk anything happening on D, unfortunately,” Douglass said.
As an underclassmen, while waiting in the wings for snaps behind 8-Man Top 8 alum Kayde Rietzke, Hermosillo was utilized far more frequently on defense.
After a freshman season in which he recorded 11 tackles for a 10-2 Indian team that advanced to the state semifinals, Hermosillo saw his usage leap in playing time as a sophomore. Defensively he recorded 32 tackles, a fumble recovery, seven pass deflections, and two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six.
He also saw his first significant time on the field offensively, throwing for two touchdowns on 15 attempts, along with 241 rushing yards and three more TDs on the ground. Wichita County finished the season as the state runner-up with their only loss coming in the title game against a Little River team Hermosillo would see again down the road.
With Rietzke’s graduation in 2021 the door opened for Hermosillo to take the reins of the offense, and he did not disappoint.
The junior picked apart defenses all year long, going 130 of 202 for 1,771 passing yards and 24 touchdowns to nine interceptions, along with 245 rushing attempts for 1,450 yards and 25 more scores.
The Indians went 6-2 through the regular season, but were faced with a tough first round playoff rematch against Hoxie after beating them 56-6 in the season opener. Hoxie proved to be a different team this time around and pulled off a 58-66 upset over Wichita County.
Although Hermosillo scored seven total touchdowns in the game, his three interceptions in the contest were a career high. This wouldn’t be the QBs last hoorah, however.
Hermosillo went into his 2022 senior season as the most experienced quarterback Douglass has had in his system.
“Erhik did an admirable job of preparing for opposing defenses,” Douglass said. “He watched film not only from the other team, but also from each of our practices throughout the week. The amount of film that he watched allowed him to quickly make checks at the line based on the defensive alignment and matchups. Erhik is the first quarterback to run variations of our offense since he was an eighth grader. He has had the opportunity to work on the reads, footwork, and passing concepts for multiple years, and it shows.”
It showed indeed, as Hermosillo completed 70 of 108 passes for 1,285 yards and 26 touchdowns to just two interceptions. He did the biggest damage on the ground where he carried the ball 210 times for 2,103 rushing yards and 42 TDs.
After scoring 49 times on 447 attempts rushing and passing as a junior, Hermosillo incredibly tallied 68 scores on 318 combined attempts as a senior.
“Erhik is an effective QB for multiple reasons, but I would say the things that make him the most effective are his understanding of our offense and his competitive nature,” Douglass said.
Wichita County benefited greatly from their key senior’s play, going 13-0 with a state championship, giving a talented Hoxie squad two of their three losses on the year, including a 64-20 win in the second round of the playoffs.
“Erhik is a special player,” Hoxie coach Lance Baar said. “His quickness is unmatched. His first three steps and change of direction is what makes him so special. I felt like we would have him contained and he would always seem to burst through, make a guy or two miss, and once he does his next few steps he just separates so much.”
In the state title game the Indians saw another familiar playoff foe in Little River. Despite finding themselves in an early deficit, Wichita County managed an overwhelming comeback behind Hermosillo’s 29 carries for 245 yards and five touchdowns, along with his hyper-efficient 3 for 3 passing for 36 yards and two touchdowns.
Wichita County ultimately came out on top 54-36, winning their first state title in program history.
“The thing that we will miss the most as a team about Erhik is his quiet confidence,” Douglass said. “He believed in himself and his teammates 100%. He never seemed to get rattled, even when we were down 16-0 in the state championship game. He has this demeanor about him that he knows the team will pull through. It is a great demeanor for a quarterback to have because it helps keep the rest of the team calm as well.”
After Hermosillo wraps up his senior year he plans on majoring in Human and Health Performance with Sterling as a top choice if he decides to continue his football career, and Fort Hays State as a likely destination if football is not in the picture.