It’s no secret in football that the guys in the trenches are often the last to be recognized for the work they do. But Hilldale senior Evan Keefe is doing his part to change that perception. At 6-3, 270, Keefe is an imposing figure on both sides of the ball. He recorded 138 pancake blocks over the last two seasons and on defense last year had 29 tackles and a pair of sacks in helping the Hornets make it to the Class 4A playoffs two straight years and is a VYPE TOP 100 player for 2022.
“He’s a “nasty” player,” laughed head coach David Blevins, “His strength is finishing the play. If he gets his hands on you, look out because he’ll finish you. He’s been one of our hardest workers since he was a freshman.”
It was also during that freshman year that Evan set a goal of going to the Air Force Academy to play college football and that goal was realized this past spring when they offered him a scholarship.
“My dad was in the Army and always talked about how the Air Force had better stuff and that he wished he had joined them. I had several offers, but the military academies were the ones I focused on. I visited the Naval Academy and then went to Air Force in June and loved it and I had seen a post somewhere that their offensive line coach was ranked liked fourth best in the country.”
That line coach is Steed Lobotzke whose lines have paved the way for back-to-back national rushing titles for Air Force.
Growing up, Evan had a couple of folks that were instrumental as role models for him.
“Josh Giem was a linebacker here and a neighbor of mine and I looked up to him and Devin Brandt was a senior when I was a freshman and he’s playing at Old Dominion. He talked to me about how he thought he could have been an even better player if he had worked a little harder and held himself more accountable, so I’ve taken that advice to heart,” said Keefe who also plays tuba and sousaphone in the band and runs track where placed second at the state track meet this past spring in the shot put.
As a senior leader, Keefe feels that being an example for the young players to follow is paramount.
“I don’t really lead with my words. I just do what’s right and follow the coach’s lead. I know I’ll have a lot of kids looking up to me because I was once one of those kids, so I try to set a good example for them.”