Caldwell County quarterback Elijah Sindelar takes pride in making the Tigers a perennial state playoff presence during his career.
His record-setting statistics are pretty satisfying as well.
Sindelar threw 49 touchdown passes last season to become Kentucky's career leader with 144, shattering the mark of 133 shared by Ricky Bowling and Tim Couch. His 12,637 career yards rank second all-time and he established another state mark of 41 consecutive games with at least one TD pass.
A season-ending knee injury in a quarterfinal loss to Murray halted Sindelar's pursuit of a Class 2A state championship, but his 3,609 yards passing solidified his selection as Kentucky's Mr. Football by members of the Associated Press.
Which begs the question of how high Sindelar's numbers could've been had he completed more games.
"Winning a state title was always the goal, but it's just such an honor to break these records," said Sindelar, who has graduated and will enroll at Purdue this month. "I never thought it would have been possible. I mean, I rarely played more than three quarters except for maybe a few games."
Sindelar's established his prowess from his first start as a freshman, throwing for 552 yards and six TDs en route to leading Caldwell County to the first round of the playoffs. He led the Tigers to the state final as a sophomore before they lost 30-26 to Newport Central Catholic.
Consecutive playoff losses to Murray followed, including a 47-28 defeat in November during which Sindelar threw for 143 yards and a touchdown and ran for another TD before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The disappointing end reminded Caldwell County coach David Barnes of how special Sindelar was as a player.
"He came to us in middle school, and that helped a lot," the coach said. "He always wanted to be perfect and just worked on fundamentals. As he went through his career, he used that as motivation to develop and was just a pleasure to coach."
Sindelar underwent surgery on Dec. 15 and expects to make a full recovery to continue his career with the Boilermakers.
"Being a three-sport athlete, I look forward to focusing on just one sport," said Sindelar, who also played baseball and basketball at Caldwell County. "I'm ready for the next chapter."
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