Hilldale Hornets Team Breakdown – Pigskin Preview 2018 – Presented by York Street Tire

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Hilldale Hornets

Coach: GREG WERNER

Quick Hits:

Hilldale’s 33 wins the past three seasons is the most in school history for any three year span.

Running back Devin Hembry made the most of his 6 carries against Checotah. Hembry totaled 101 yards on the ground to go along with a pair of touchdowns.

Hilldale and Checotah meet for the fifth consecutive season on September 7th. The Hornets have won the last three in the series by a combined total of 164-28.

Last 5 Years:

2017 – 11-1

2016 – 11-1

2015 – 12-1

2014 – 4-7

2013 – 10-3

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OFFENSE

After three successive years of deep runs into the playoffs, the last two after advancing to Class 4A, Chad Kirkhart moves up to assume athletic director duties and Greg Werner takes over as the new football coach. After successful tours at Poteau and Broken Bow, Werner comes to Hilldale with some major rebuilding to do.  He’ll have a couple of pluses working for him on offense where Devin Hembry (6-3, 180, Sr.) returns at tailback. The speedster averaged 10 yards per carry with 15 touchdowns and grabbed 20 passes for 367 yards in 2017. He’ll run out of the spread formation behind two behemoths who are back to anchor the offensive line in Levi Gassaway (6-3, 290, Sr.) and Kaleb Butler (6-6, 320, Sr.), a VYPE Top 100 pick. Dawson Neighbors (6-0, 185, Sr.) will finally get his chance to show what he can do at quarterback after playing a back-up role most of last year. He’ll have two skilled receivers as targets with Kade Romine (6-1, 175, Sr.) and Chance Johnson (5-9, 165, Jr.) returning. An extra value for the offense will be four-year place kicker Peyton Bennett who was three-for-four in the field goal department with 55 PATs last year.

“We feel our strength lies in a large group of good linemen. We have to build our offense around those kids,” said Werner. “Dawson Neighbors has a chance to be a special player at quarterback.”

DEFENSE

Werner will maintain Hilldale’s 3-4 defensive set but, as on offense, will need some of the youngsters and part-timers from last year to step up and take their turn. The heart of the defense will be at linebacker where seniors Bryce Barrett (6-0, 190) who had 89 tackles last year and Jake Salmon (5-11, 200) will be joined by sophomores Jaden McWilliams (5-10, 200) and Dylan Walker (5-9, 165). Another big sophomore, Jay Stroble (6-3, 305), is slated to take on a tackle position.

“We are keeping the same defense, so our kids are well-adjusted to the system and we feel that will be an early strong point for us,’ said Werner.

The Hornet offense will need to control the ball and score points, especially early in the season, until the young defense has a chance to catch up. Redistricting brought only minor changes to District 4A-4 as Muldrow will replace Metro Christian and Tulsa Central will replace Rogers as district opponents in 2018.

Schedule:

8-31- vs. Claremore Sequoyah

9-7- vs. Checotah

9-14- at Oologah

9-21- at Central

9-28- vs. Broken Bow

10-5- at Sallisaw

10-12- at Muldrow

10-19- vs. Fort Gibson

10-26- vs. Stilwell

11-2- at Poteau