Hunter Fralick, a freshman at the time, walked out of the bleachers and onto the gym floor to lead his class in a shout-off against the seniors.
“He’s a fiery guy. He gets upset when the seniors lose in kickball to the juniors. Then he wants to play kickball for a week. That’s just the kind of guy he is,” Hare said. “When you see that from your very first assembly you go, ‘that kid is going to be pretty good, he is already a good quarterback.’”
Hare was right.
Since that assembly, Fralick has held the starting quarterback job for three years. He led Spanish Springs to its first playoff win in school history last year, besting Bishop Manogue in the first round. He’s become arguably the most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the North. In last week’s playoff-clinching win over North Valleys, he ran for 173 yards and threw for 243. And he’s secured himself a number of Division I football scholarship offers.
Fralick received offers from Nevada, San Diego State, UNLV and the University of Northern Colorado and drew interest from the likes of Boston College, Oregon State, UCLA and Wyoming.
When it came to deciding where he wanted to take his talents next fall, it wasn’t a tough decision for Fralick. He will be taking snaps a few miles west, at Mackay Stadium.
“When the opportunity arose, it was just something I kind of fell in love with,” Fralick said. “It felt right.”
Fralick gave coach Brian Polian a verbal commitment and will sign his letter of intent on National Signing Day, Feb. 5.
“I am really excited. My family will get to see me play,” Fralick said. “I lot of people around here will know me so hopefully it will build some community support and improve the program overall.”
Wolf Pack starting quarterback Cody Fajardo has one year of eligibility remaining after this season. After next season, Hare whole-heartedly expects his senior signal caller to be in the Wolf Pack starting quarterback discussion.
“I would be surprised if he’s not definitely battling for the starting position,” Hare said. “It wouldn’t shock me if he ends up being the starter as a redshirt freshman after Fajardo leaves.”
Fralick is just as successful in the classroom as he is under the Friday night lights. He takes a number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes and owns a 4.5 weighted grade point average. He plans to study business before becoming a high school teacher and coach.
Despite the numerous successes, this season has not been all smiles for Fralick and Cougars. The injury bug did not bite the Cougs, it took a chomp out of them.
Battling injuries, Spanish Springs (4-4, 2-2 in the High Desert League) earned the fourth and final HDL playoff spot with Friday’s, 48-35, comeback win over North Valleys.
Hare said he will not judge the season until the playoffs are over but admitted it’s hard not to imagine what could have been.
“You don’t have a guy of Hunter’s caliber come through your program every single year. And unfortunately the most injuries we have ever sustained everywhere else, is the one year he’s a senior,” Hare said. “That has been a tough, tough pill to swallow.”
If not for the injuries, Fralick and the Cougs could be playing for a league title in the regular-season final, Friday, at Reed. In Spanish Springs’ two league losses, at Reno (31-21) and at McQueen (35-24), the Cougars were in the red zone numerous times but came away empty handed.
Difficult losses and a fourth-place finish aside, Fralick’s season goal remains unwavered.
“Take the team further than last year. So instead of winning just one playoff game, win two playoff games,” Fralick said.
Before preparing for the Sierra League champion in the first round of the playoffs, Spanish Springs squares off with cross-town foe, Reed.
“We always try to say treat every opponent the same,” Fralick said. “But there is a difference there because they are our rivals and we grew up with all of them.”
Once the Cougars’ season ends, Fralick will swap the hip pads for basketball shorts as a point guard on the basketball team. He said as he leaves the Spanish Spring football program he wants to be remembered as the one who did everything he could to help his team win.
He wants to beat Reed. He wants to advance in the playoffs. He wants to win any chance he gets, even if it’s in a shout-off as a freshman.
If Fralick isn’t remembered for his talent, he will be for his drive.