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Tanner Hartwig learns work ethic, success from father

Tanner Hartwig warms up for a game against Pittsburg. Gregory Moreland-Tuhn / Staff Photo
Tanner Hartwig warms up for a game against Pittsburg. Gregory Moreland-Tuhn / Staff Photo

For his entire life, Heritage senior receiver Tanner Hartwig saw the work his father put in, and that only translated into his life.

Hartwig’s father, Kevin Hartwig, is now an assistant on Heritage’s coaching staff under Dave Fogelstrom and boasts an extensive coaching resume. Kevin Hartwig coached at Freedom from 2002-17, where he won more than 90 games, including going 59-26 in his last seven seasons.

Tanner Hartwig watched his father pour in countless hours to game preparations, practices, dissecting film, staying on top of student-athletes for their academics and everything else that goes into coaching. 

“I couldn’t even tell you how much he spends just looking at film,” Tanner Hartwig said. “Even at the end of the week he’s already looking at the film and making sure that we’re ready and stuff like that. And that translated over to me because I see that he’s putting in that much effort and I feel like I should do the same because we both want our team to win and be successful. 

“And it’s inspired me to work harder and be a better teammate and individual.”

Over the offseason, Tanner Hartwig put in time just like his father, where he hit the weight room and improved his discipline ahead of what has been a monumental year for him and the Heritage Patriots football program.

Through Heritage’s 4-1 overall campaign and 3-1 league mark, Tanner Hartwig leads the team in receiving yards (201) and receptions (24), catching no less than four passes in any of the five contests.

“I’m putting my whole heart into this game because it’s my last year and I just love playing football,” Tanner Hartwig said.

Now, Heritage is just one win away from tying its best-ever Bay Valley Athletic League record, which it would accomplish with a win against rival Liberty in the Brentwood Bowl at 7 p.m. Friday, a team it has not beat since 2016.

“I feel like work ethic and also our mindset because in the past our mindset has always been, ‘Okay, like we’re going into this game, we’re going against a good team.’ And once we’re in the games, it’s halftime, second quarter, whatever it is, we just looked down on ourselves,” Tanner Hartwig said. “But now our mindset is, ‘Even if we’re down, we’re still in this game. We’re going to come back and we’re going to win it, leave this game with a dub.’”

And Tanner Hartwig is reading defenses better than he ever has.

When watching film at home with his father, they break down the tape and see where Tanner Hartwig is shining and then pinpointing some areas to improve.

“He’s helped me a lot because now it’s easier for me to serif the defense is in man coverage, cover 2, cover 3, cover 4,” Tanner Hartwig said. “He’s also helped me a lot because when we’re at home, he’ll show me film and he’ll show me what I did wrong, what I can improve on and what the other team’s strategy is and all that.”

Tanner Hartwig hopes to come out as one of the league’s top receivers once the campaign concludes Friday.

A first team all-league nod would be a goal, as his 201 receiving yards are the third-most in the Bay Valley Athletic League, according to statistics available on MaxPreps.

“Hopefully I can get first team all-league receiver. I just want to try to get more yards and just try to do the best I can for me and my team and my dad and coaches.”

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