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Hilldale

Hilldale Hornets Football Preview – Presented by Economy Pharmacy

Coach: DAVID BLEVINS 

SCHEDULE: 9-2 – at Edison 

9-9 – vs. Nathan Hale 

9-16 – at Claremore 

9-23 – vs. Stilwell 

9-30 – vs. Ada 

10-7 – at Poteau 

10-13 – at Sallisaw 

10-21 – vs. Broken Bow 

10-28 – at Madill 

11-4 – vs. Fort Gibson 

QUICK HITS: 

Running back Eric Virgil carried 22 times for 282 yards and two touchdowns in the Hornets 43-21 win over Sallisaw. 

Hilldale has won 12 straight against Stilwell. The Inidans haven’t defeated the Hornets since 1989. 

LAST 8 YEARS: 2021 – 8-3 

2020 – 11-2 

2019 – 4-6 

2018 – 9-3 

2017 – 11-1 

2016 – 11-1 

2015 – 12-1 2014 – 4-7 

OFFENSE 

The buzz of the Hornets swarm is growing louder and stronger as Hilldale continues their preparations for the 2022 campaign with nine returning starters to give head coach David Blevins multiple options for offensive results. Eric Virgil (5-9, 180, Sr.) returns quickness and agility for a third season at running back after exploding for almost 2800 yards the past two seasons including a total of 24 touchdowns in 2021. The Hornets will have balance in their offensive results while riding the playmaking abilities of senior quarterback Caynen David (5-8, 185) who tossed 21 touchdown strikes while total 1751 yards passing last season. A primary threat at receiver is Logan Harper (6- 3, 195, Sr.) who grabbed 24 receptions in 2021 including eight scoring catches who joins Jace Walker (5-11, 180, Sr.), Lamarion Burton (5-11, 160, Sr.), Isaiah Patterson (5-8, 150, Sr.) and Hayden Pickering (5-8, 145, So.). The fuel for the offense remains strong as the front five remains intact including VYPE Top 100 choice Evan Keefe (6-3, 270, Sr.) whose 138 pancake blocks the past two seasons helped get pickup five Division-I offers before committing to the Air Force Academy. Four-year veteran Kolby East (6-1, 250, Sr.) along with Grayson Gaddy (5-10, 255, Sr.) who totaled 39 pancakes last season will reunite with Micah Gonzales (6-3, 260, Sr.) and Blair Polson (5-10, 240, Sr.). The Hornets offensive line experience allows Blevins the ability to maintain a no-huddle, go fast style of play. “When we can go tempo, average 70-plus snaps per game, our offense is at its best,” replied Blevins. 

DEFENSE 

Like their offensive counterparts, the Hornets defensive scheme is to overpower the opponents by swarming 11 helmets to the football in swarm like fashion. The force begins on the line of scrimmage where Evan Keefe, who recorded 29 tackles, will join Wyatt Branscum (6-2, 235, Sr.) who made 27 stops including eight tackles for loss. The linebacker unit remains strong paced by the high energy of Aden Jenkins (6-2, 200, Sr.) who charted 73 tackles in 2021 going boundary to boundary and Logan Harper who was consistently in the right position defending the edge at the outside linebacker position as well as Mason Pickering (6-0, 175, So.) and Eric Virgil. While the Hornets must fill key positions due to graduation losses, Blevins is all smiles when checking the secondary lineup that will welcome back strong safety Jace Walker (6-0, 185, Sr.), a three-year veteran who snared three interceptions while making 47 tackles in 2021. Adding to the pass coverage and run support will be free safety Alonzo Perez (5-9, 175, Sr.) as well as Lamarion Burton, Isaac Gonzales (5-9, 173, Sr.) and Isaiah Patterson. Altogether the varsity roster is senior laden, which is a definite plus according to the Hilldale coach. “We’ve got 19 seniors, most of whom have been part of our success the last three seasons including 23 wins and a pair of playoff berths,” said Blevins, who enters his fourth season on the sidelines as head coach. “Game time experience, a winning mindset and playmakers give us optimism for this season.” 

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