Senior Luke Hardinger is one of the anchors on both the offensive and defensive line for the Pittsville Panthers football team. He plays offensive guard and defensive end for a Panthers team that advanced to a WIAA Division 7 third round game with a victory over Independence/Gilman last week.
He’s part of the reason why junior running back Nathan Dupee had rushed for more than 1,400 yards and 20 touchdowns during the regular season.
Hardinger is a rare one-sport athlete and has a unique nickname.
The team has won two impressive games in the playoffs. What has stuck out to your as part of the team’s success? I think our dominance on defense. We shut out a good team in Independence/Gilmanton and that felt great. It was nice for the offense to not have to put up 40 points to beat them.
What do you like playing better, offensive line or defensive line? I used to like D-line better, but this year the offense has been scoring a lot, so that’s been a lot of fun. I think I like both sides of the ball equally this year.
Is it tough to switch from offense to defense in a matter of a few moments? Not really. A lot of it has to do with repetitions. I started playing both sides of the ball on the line last year, so what I have to do from one side of the ball to the other is ingrained in my mind now. It’s easy for me to switch now.
How did you get the nickname “Sunshine?” At our first football practice one of the seniors saw that I had long hair and he told me that he was going to call me Sunshine like the character from “Remember the Titans,” and it stuck.
Why do you just play football? Ever since I was young football has always been my favorite sport. I love football and for me it’s really the only sport worth playing.
Who from history would you like to have lunch with and what would you talk about? Abraham Lincoln. I would want to know that was going through his mind during the Civil War and how he came up with his policies.
People would be surprised that I__? Still get nervous before football games. I get like puking nervous and that probably shouldn’t happen at this point in my career, but it does. After the first play I’m fine, but I’m a mess before the game.
What are you plans for next year? I’m going to UW-Platteville for engineering. I’m not sure what kind of engineering, but I want an engineering degree. Platteville has a good football team, but I doubt I’ll play in college.