Football season ended in October, too soon for Marion High School junior lineman Cade Harms and his Warriors teammates, as they missed the playoffs by the slimmest of margins.
But football wasn’t quite finished with Harms, who in December already was hard at work in the weight room preparing for next year.
He was at home one evening when his mother, Kim Harms, was browsing the Wichita Eagle/Varsity Kansas list of all-state football players.
“Cade, you made this list,” he recalled her saying.
Harms had been tabbed for the state 2-1A defensive line, although he had played in just six games.
“He’s probably the first junior we’ve had make all-state since I’ve been here,” coach Grant Thierolf said. “It’s quite a testament to the ability he has and what other coaches think of him.”
Harms said he got his start playing football as a kid, tossing a ball around in a yard with his younger brother, Payton.
“Granted, I had lineman hands,” Harms said. “We we played catch, I’d say ‘catch’ loosely.”
With shaky hands and an awkward running gait, Harms didn’t show any signs of one day being an all-state athlete as he started middle school, but he received encouragement from his parents and coaches.
“It’s been about the people that helped keep pushing me, first with my folks,” he said. “They were seeing me dragging my leg when I was trying to run bases, but they never said I wouldn’t be able to do anything. My coaches had a bunch of good players on their teams, but they always found time to come work with me.”
In high school, teammates and fellow linemen Nick Meyer, Morgan Wheeler, and Nathan Cyr have been among the most encouraging, Harms said, but the most inspirational for him this year was Nathan Baldwin.
“Last year he had done amazing as a center, and he loved the sport,” Harms said. “This year he wasn’t able to play. He was there every game, sitting on the sidelines, even came to practices and was helping coach. He was still so dedicated to it. I felt I was obligated specifically for him to do my best.”
Harms said Warriors linemen have developed a special bond.
“It’s kind of like a brotherhood, to be honest,” he said. “We don’t get the spotlight on us, but if just one of us doesn’t do our job the whole play can fall apart. It’s also about protecting the guys behind us, our friends, our classmates.”
However, the spotlight is shining on Harms, and with a senior campaign still ahead, many in his position would be