Pulaski’s Hendricks named state player of the year
BY RICH PALZEWIC
PULASKI – Pulaski High School football player Dylan Hendricks has made quite a name for himself on the football field, but his rugby skills aren’t bad, either.
After rushing for 2,833 yards and scoring 32 touchdowns during the 2018 campaign, Hendricks was named the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association large school offensive player of the year.
The 10-2 Red Raiders lost to Marshfield in the WIAA Division 2 state quarterfinals after the Tigers kicked a field goal with 1 second remaining for a 32-29 win.
“It’s an amazing honor and I’m super happy to have received the award,” said Hendricks, who also threw for 776 yards and eight touchdowns from his “quarterback” position in Pulaski’s single-wing offense this past season. “It’s not all mine, though – it also goes to my linemen who blocked for me and the coaches who helped me. I wasn’t really thinking about getting the award, so I was pretty shocked.”
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior, averaged 236 yards rushing per game, including a season-high 365 against Marshfield and 308 against River Falls in a Level 2 contest.
“We had an amazing season and I’m really proud of all my teammates,” said the North Dakota State University (NDSU) recruit. “We left a legacy for the younger kids to follow. The last few years have changed our program and I’m happy to have been a part of it. I was sad to end our season like that – I wanted to keep going.”
The numbers were staggering for Hendricks, who ended his career with 6,359 yards rushing and 73 touchdowns. He also caught three career touchdown passes and threw for another nine, which means he accounted for 85 touchdowns in his four-year varsity career.
Hendricks’ career total in yards rushing places him fourth on the all-time state list behind Bryce Huettner (Iola-Scandinavia, 2015-18 – 6,870 yards), Mike Firkus (Hilbert, 2000-02 – 6,707) and Luke Hagel (Random Lake, 1995-98 – 6,495).
The Red Raiders’ offense has been predominantly run-oriented over the last several years under head coach Jerad Marsh.
Earlier this season when asked about playing against Pulaski’s offense in an upcoming game, Bay Port head coach Gary Westerman gave a unique response.
“Playing against them is like going to the dentist – it’s not fun,” Westerman said.
Hendricks was no slouch on defense, either. He recorded 179 career tackles, forced four fumbles and had 23 tackles-for-loss from his linebacker position.
As good as Hendricks has been on the football field, he might excel most in rugby.
“This past summer, I was invited to New York for a tryout with the Youth Olympic team,” he added. “I made the team and was super excited and happy about that, but in the end, I turned it down. It was a tough decision, but I would have basically missed my entire senior season of football.”
A few weeks ago, Hendricks also visited a camp in Chula Vista, California, and trained with the USA Sevens team.
“Rugby isn’t an option right now because I’m committed to NDSU,” noted Hendricks. “The rugby team was really cool about it and said it potentially could be an option after I finish at NDSU.”
Hendricks also shined on the basketball court at Pulaski, where he was named the Fox River Classic Conference defensive player of the year in 2017-18 but decided to concentrate on other things this winter.
“I actually decided to wrestle this season,” noted Hendricks. “I used to wrestle when I was little and I just thought it would help me with my strength a lot more than basketball would. The wrestling team is always in the weight room.”
Although Hendricks has hung up the sneakers for the wrestling mat, he said one of his most memorable moments at Pulaski came during basketball last season.
“Our (47-46) overtime victory over Bay Port was one that ranks right up there,” he said. “It was amazing to beat a team where you’re always seen as the underdog coming in. Obviously, at the time, they had Jack Plumb and Cordell Tinch – those guys were ballers.”
Despite rushing for over 3.6 miles in his career at Pulaski, Hendricks is projected as a linebacker at NDSU.
“It doesn’t matter to me what side of the ball I play on,” he said. “I’m just happy to be a Bison. They have a great program and win a lot of games.”
Hendricks is planning on studying electrical engineering.