KIRTLAND — Cadan Flack went from playing on the C-team for more than half of his freshman year to leading Kirtland Central in touchdowns a month into his sophomore season.
After torching Los Alamos for four TD's during Kirtland Central's 40-14 win on Friday, the versatile gadget player has now found the end zone eight times this season, more than anyone else on the Broncos' roster, including quarterback Bryson Dowdy.
Friday was Flack's second four-score performance this year; he shredded Navajo Prep in the season opener. KC coach Greg Jenks said Flack, who also plays multiple positions on defense, has the kind of football instincts you can't really teach.
"There's been a couple touchdowns where he's scored on a broken play," Jenks said. "My guess is he's played some backyard football growing up. He just knows how to run around and get open."
Jenks admits it's cliche, but said he thinks Flack has found so much success this early in his varsity career because he's reliable and works hard. A running back for most of his life, Flack worked on his receiving skills in the off-season. He said KC's 7-on-7 drills over the summer helped him out immensely in that area.
"It really helped a lot with catching without having to worry about getting hit, so I could get the catching part down," he said. "Just going up for the ball and making sure I come down with it."
Flack has assumed the role of recent KC graduate Aidan Cockrell, who carried the ball 34 times and caught 16 passes last year as one of Kirtland Central's top weapons. The early results as he takes over Cockrell's role have been positive for Flack; he's already caught six passes for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Against Los Alamos the sophomore's full range of talents were on display with 2 rushing scores and 2 more through the air. On one of his rushing TD's he lowered his shoulder and powered into the end zone from a few yards out. Then in the second half, he ran a wheel route out of the slot and Dowdy hit him in stride for a 44-yard touchdown connection.
The unselfish tail back credited his teammates for making his job easy on that play.
"Jordan Heslop, our outside wide receiver, ran a perfect 8-route and the corner totally bit on him," Flack said. "Then I was by myself up the sideline and Bryson just made the perfect throw."
On his other receiving score, he found himself open over the middle after again running out of the slot. Although he's only dabbled in receiving the ball for a few months now, he's already shown he can run strong routes.
"He knew how to run it so he wouldn't run all the way across to the other defenders. He knew where to skinny it up," Jenks said. "Against the zone he finds the opening. The play says 'run this route,' and he runs it, but he also makes some adjustments on the fly to find the open spot in the zone."
Senior Zach Van Duren currently leads the Broncos in catches with 11 and receiving yards with 213. Jenks said he thinks the teams KC has locked up with this year have been game planning heavily for Van Duren and that's creating opportunities for Flack.
"Teams have been keying on Zach," Jenks said. "And Flack's been ready when Zach hasn't been open, and Dowdy's seeing that, as well."
Jenks said he'd like it if defenses start paying more attention to Flack going forward, because he thinks it will create a pick-your-poison scenario on offense.
"That'd be wonderful if defenses start focusing on him more," Jenks said. "We don't think defenses can stop both of them."
Flack doesn't gloat when he does well and he doesn't seek attention, according to Jenks. The sophomore would gladly eat up coverage as a decoy for the rest of the season if its means Van Duren or another KC player can benefit. That's the kind of unselfish mentality he brings to the field for the Broncos.
"Coach was talking about it today, you have to do your job," Flack said. "And that's how you're going to be successful as a team, by being a family."
As long as someone in purple and black is reaching the end zone it's fine by Flack — he doesn't care who it is. It just so happens he's been the one getting there over and over again this season.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
A closer look: Cadan Flack
1. Favorite team?
2. Favorite athlete?
3. Favorite food?
4. Favorite thing to watch on Netflix?
"'Friday Night Lights."
5. Favorite subject in school?
6. Least favorite subject?
"I gotta go with math."
7. Biggest fear?
"To not succeed."
8. Do you play any other sports?
9. What is the first thing you would do with $1 million?
"I have no idea."
10. Do you have any pregame rituals?
"A lot of us eat at Buffalo Wild Wings on Thursdays."