Prolific Passer: Schneider etches name in state record book

Shawnee Mission East quarterback Will Schneider sits atop the career passing yards list in Kansas with 8,901 yards.
Shawnee Mission East quarterback Will Schneider sits atop the career passing yards list in Kansas with 8,901 yards.

Whether it’s for one year or for eternity, Will Schneider will go down in Kansas state sports history.

The Shawnee Mission North senior quarterback on Friday against Shawnee Mission East surpassed Silver Lake’s Kyle Kruger (2000-03) for most career passing yards. Kruger threw for 8,781 yards while Schneider finished his career with 8,901 yards.

A four-year starter, Schneider thought the record was possible as a freshman.

“(My dad and I) talked about it, it was a record in mind,” Schneider said. “It didn’t seem real until after we won the Lawrence game. ‘Oh, I’m only 95 yards away, I can do that in a game.’ It was something that was in the back of my mind, but I never made it a priority. I was never going this is a record I want. I’m not going to be a stats guy, I want to be a wins guy.”

The record came into view a little more before the season when one article Schneider saw said he needed only 2,915 yards. He thought he could do that in a season because it was a goal of his to improve each year by 500 yards in passing.

After throwing for 2,412 yards as a junior, Schneider wanted to throw for 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. He met both those goals, throwing for 3,035 yards and 31 touchdowns.

The lefty also ran for 608 yards and 12 scores, which might have taken away some passing opportunities. With senior Marcos Garcia out for the first four weeks and a run-game that wasn’t as existent when Garcia returned, Schneider took it upon himself to run the ball because he knew the team needed to be balanced, especially in the Sunflower League where every team can run the ball.

Had Schneider sat back in the pocket he could have surpassed Kruger in Week 9.

Regardless of when it happened, the outpouring of support would have been the same.

“It was kind of surreal,” Schneider said. “Every five minutes I’d pick up my phone and I’d have 14 notifications from Twitter. Somebody else is congratulating me or somebody else is texting me. That was really cool to get that recognition. You work for something for four years and you just hope it pays off in the end.”

It hasn’t happened yet, but Schneider was hoping he’d be able to talk to Kruger.

Schneider said he was honored to break the record after he looked up some of Kruger’s highlights.

He also hasn’t made a decision regarding college, and it became more complicated during the weekend as more schools reached out to him.

“I thought I was narrowing down a list, but then some doors opened,” Schneider said. “I have to re-evaluate my list now. I have a different status, I guess. I’m talking to more FCS schools — even more than I was before. I thought I had an idea of what I wanted in my life and now it’s like, ‘Nope.’ It’s getting a little bit more interesting, but it’s a lot more fun.”

He’s taken visits to Kansas, Northern Illinois and South Dakota State among others. He’s hoping he can visit Dartmouth in January.

There was chatter over the weekend on Twitter of people asking about Schneider and his connection to Kansas.

As a Jayhawk fan growing up, Schneider said he would be honored to play in Lawrence.

“I got to their last combine camp they had at the end of the season and coach (David) Beaty is a great guy,” Schneider said. “I would love to play for somebody like that. If KU came knocking, I’d definitely be interested.”

Schneider knows that records are meant to be broken. And he knows what he would say to someone who can break his.

“You sacrificed a lot and did a hell of a job to break this record,” Schneider said. “You think about all the passes it has to take and it’s a lot. I would congratulate him and say, ‘Hell of a job kid.’ It takes time; it took me four years. Some kids can do it in three. I would just be like, ‘Great job, man,’ because what else is there to say? He’s probably heard everything else from everyone.”