Ryan Hahn entered his senior football season at Whiteland High School with a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove.
Sixty-six tackles later, mission accomplished.
Hahn, the Warriors’ inside linebacker and second-leading tackler behind fellow linebacker Logan Mullinix (70), is making the most of his one and only season as a full-time starter at the prep level.
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Hahn said the perspiration and dedication required to get to this point were worth it.
“Earlier in my career I always felt overlooked. This year it’s kind of like I’ve been able to prove everyone wrong,” said Hahn, whose best games statistically this season were 11 tackles in the opener against New Palestine and 10 in a win against Martinsville.
“This season has been amazing. To have my peers pick me as one of the team captains, and to start, it’s really been a dream come true. I don’t want it to end.”
Whiteland (5-4), winner of five of its last six regular-season games, is off until October 28, when it starts the postseason with a home game against Franklin (1-8) in the opening round of Class 5A Sectional 14.
At 6 feet and 195 pounds, Hahn is neither the biggest nor fastest linebacker around.
Asked for one word to describe himself, Hahn responds without hesitation — “effort.”
“And football smarts,” he added. “I’ll sit and watch film for hours. I love watching film. The more you know about the team you’re going to play, the better.”
Used primarily on special teams as a sophomore, Hahn improved to the point where last season he was occasionally rotated into games at linebacker.
Prior to this season, he was selected to be one of four Warriors captains. The others are classmates Mullinix, offensive lineman T.J. Singh and running back Edwin Cisneros.
Hahn, who has a 3.6 grade-point average, has verbally committed to play football for Wabash College, which plays at the Division III level.
He hopes to major in psychology.
“Ryan is a big key to our success this season. He’s stepped up to be a vocal leader as well as a physical leader,” Warriors linebackers coach Mike Wynn said. “In the past the kids in front of him were superior athletes, and usually our oldest kids are our best kids.
“And that’s what Ryan is experiencing now. The kids pay their dues, and then it’s their time to shine.”
Name: Ryan Hahn
Family: Parents, Aaron Hahn and Suzanne Price; brother, Austin, 19; sister, Allison, 18
Favorite TV show: “Last Chance U”
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite movie: “The Big Lebowski”
Favorite athlete: Marcus Mariotta
Favorite team: University of Oregon football