BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Down in the Southern Tier, the Randolph Cardinals have assembled quite the team. After a 2-4 record in the shortened COVID season in the spring of 2021, the Cards exploded this last fall, putting together a perfect 10-0 regular season to win the Class D Section VI title before falling just short in the Far West Regional.

“It was awesome, I would have loved to go all the way with those guys. The two that graduated were my really good friends, but I couldn’t have asked for a better season,” Randolph senior running back Xander Hind said of last year’s team. “Losing was actually really good for us because it just makes us want it even more this year.”

A big reason for Randolph’s success this past season is because of running back Xander Hind.

“He’s been important for a long time. We’ve had three super small classes go through, so he’s been playing since he’s been in ninth grade,” Randolph head coach Brent Brown said. “He’s fast, he’s a natural runner, and if you know anything about our offense, we don’t throw very much, we run the ball mostly, so we’re looking for a good tailback like Xander. This year he should pick right up where he left off, and I can’t wait to see what he does.”

“Leaders, you gotta have a few good leaders to really do anything and take charge of the team. Practices, you gotta work at practice,” Hind said. “My freshman year, my sophomore year, it’s nothing to do with the coaches, as the kids we didn’t really want it. Last year was a whole new mindset. We wanted to be at practice, we wanted to work. Hopefully the same thing this year.”

In his junior campaign, Xander finished fourth in rushing in Western New York behind Bennett’s Dominac Allen, Jamestown’s Jaylen Butera and St. Mary’s Christian Lewis. Xander amassed 1,837 yards on 234 carries for an impressive 24 touchdowns.

“It’s what I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. Being a good running back, it was awesome. Jaylen Butera was who I was competing with for all of last year. I wanted to beat him so bad,” Hind laughed. “I had him for a little bit but he got me in the end.”

Xander Hind is a 2022 News 4 Sports Player to Watch.