INOLA — Ethan Trosky didn’t expect to have much success as a receiver.
He played defensive back his junior year and dabbled in special teams before that, but varsity offense was foreign to the Inola senior.
Trosky was a lineman throughout middle school, and Longhorns coach Jeff Williams still kindheartedly jokes with him about his ineptitude at the position.
However, Trosky has proven to be no laughing matter when it comes to offensive prowess.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound wideout caught his 16th touchdown pass of the year against Vinita on Nov. 1, surpassing Jacob Norman’s mark of 15 to break the school record for receiving touchdowns in a season.
Norman claimed the achievement as a senior in 2016, snapping Brett Thomas’ 29-year hold on the record.
“I didn’t know about it until the week of practice before the Vinita game,” Trosky said. “Everybody was talking to me about it, but I didn’t really care about it. I was just playing football and trying to have a great time.”
Trosky finished the regular season with 926 yards receiving on 40 receptions to go along with his 16 scores.
That is quite an overall improvement for the Longhorns’ 13 seniors, a group that scored only one touchdown through the entirety of its seventh and eighth-grade seasons.
Although those times were tough, Trosky wouldn’t trade them for anything.
After all, those trials gave him and his classmates the motivation to improve to where they are today.
Friday night’s matchup against Class 3A No. 2 Lincoln Christian marked only the fifth Inola playoff game of the century and fourth of the decade.
Things are certainly looking up.
“We lost every game in middle school,” Trosky said. “Going from that to being in the playoffs my senior year and also breaking a record on top of that and having my name here at the school to be remembered is a good feeling.”
Trosky said the development into a winning culture in high school was a strenuous process, but the Longhorns’ efforts weren’t in vain.
They believed in themselves and trusted each other, which ultimately leads to success on the football field.
“We all care,” Trosky said of his senior teammates. “We cared a lot about this year and this season, so we wanted to make a difference. Throughout our high school careers, we all worked hard. Even as freshmen, we all worked hard. We always wanted to play. Not a lot of us played, but we wanted to work hard at it, so we put in as much work as we could on the scout teams.
“That led to us being as good as we are this year.”