Nobody has ever had high school football career like Trevor Paro.
Not in Montana, anyway.
The diminutive senior from Hot Springs put the final stamp on a career for the record books in 2016, helping lead the Savage Heat to the Class C 6-Man state championship in the process.
What’s more impressive: None of Paro’s 135 record-breaking touchdowns came from chasing stats. He often played only one or two quarters during Hot Springs’ dominant 2016 season in which the Savage Heat went 13-0 and outscored opponents 880 points to 79. Paro played with the same effort and dogged determination whether he was the focal point expected to score or a decoy implemented to provide an opening for a teammate.
“Holy smokes! Where do I start?” said Westby-Grenora coach Troy Walters before the Thunder met Hot Springs for the title in November. “This kid could play at any division in Montana high school sports – 6-Man to (Class AA), he could be a stud. You hear about the kid, then you watch the film and it’s like, ‘Wow!’ There’s a reason why he has the state record in scoring touchdowns.
“He works his tail off blocking. And he works his tail off being all over the field when he knows he’s not going to get the ball. Yet, he’s running 100 percent or he’ll run all the way across the field and make a key block. He’s an all-around player. He’s the best 6-Man player in the state.”
“(Paro) definitely bought into that role – even if you don’t get the ball, you’re going to create a lot of attention to yourself,” Hot Springs coach Jim Lawson confirmed. “If you’re doing all these other little things – running hard, blocking, carrying out fakes right – it’s just going to open up things for other kids. Coach Walters is right: (Paro) blocks well. And he’s a very good defensive player. He doesn’t come off the field.”
Paro scored 135 touchdowns in his career with the Savage Heat, setting the Montana High School Association mark for career TDs, but more than one third of those came in his sensational senior year.
Last fall, he totaled 56 touchdowns – 34 rushing, nine receiving, eight punt and kickoff returns, three passing and two defensive – and an absurd 2,799 multipurpose yards on just 164 total touches, giving him a touchdown once every three times he got the ball.
“He does everything well. Anything you ask of him, he can do it,” Lawson said. “So many great things about him – he’s just got it. You can’t coach it. He’s just got that really good natural ability. The lateral quickness stands out, too. That’s what makes him so hard to tackle.”
Lawson also called Paro “the most feared punt returner in 6-Man.” Paro had only 24 opportunities to return punts during the 2016 season, but he averaged 31.2 yards per return and scored six touchdowns.
The touchdowns are obviously impressive – and are likely what have helped Paro garner interest from small college football programs despite playing in Montana’s smallest classification in one of its most isolated regions – but Paro wasn’t just a touchdown machine for the Savage Heat.
He excelled on defense, too, playing linebacker and, yes, defensive end – all 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds of him. Paro could use his quickness to wreak havoc on opposing defenses.
He did that plenty during the 2016 football season, dominating on both sides of the ball. Paro parlayed that into an invitation to the Montana East-West Shrine Game, a rarity for a 6-Man player. He’ll be joined by teammate Kane Lawson and Bridger’s Ryan Zentner in July’s all-star game.
But it isn’t just football that interests Paro. He’s a multi-sport star at Hot Springs, earning all-state honors in both track and basketball during his high school career. He already has one of the highest-scoring games of the 2016-17 basketball season, scoring 43 points in a Savage Heat win over Valley Christian in December.
Despite all the accolades in Montana’s high school sports, Paro’s playing career figures to continue with baseball – at least for now. He’s a standout middle infielder on the diamond and has already committed to play baseball at Lower Columbia (Wash.) College.
“Baseball is really big in their family,” said Jim Lawson. “Taylor Goligoski (who plays basketball and softball at Montana) is his cousin, and her dad played minor league baseball. It’s a big baseball family. He’s a really good middle infielder, and he has pitched a little bit, too. He’s pretty awesome at baseball.”
“I think the success of football has it right there neck and neck (with baseball),” Lawson added. “When you have as much success as he has had in football, it’s right up there. I think it’s kind of a close race.”
It’s one of the few close races Paro ran in 2016.