By Josh Hall
The Hollister football team has had to overcome adversity before.
In the past three years, the Tigers have won eight games. They went from one win in 2014, two in 2015 and five last season. It was the best year for a program that started in 2010.
Hollister went into the 2017 season with high expectations. And the Tigers still plan on making an upward climb this year. But they will have to do it without one of their biggest playmakers from last season.
Derek Morris, a senior, recently suffered a torn ACL during basketball camp and will be sidelined for several months. He will miss the entire football season. A timetable for his return on the hardwood is not yet known.
Last season, Morris was one of Hollister’s most explosive weapons on offense. The three-sport athlete had 30 catches for 518 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He was also the No. 1 target for quarterback Jackson Bekemeier.
“That’s going to be a big spot to fill,” Bekemeier, a senior, said on Thursday during a 7-on-7 session at Parkview. “He was an important part for us. It’s just next guy in line. They’re going to have to step up.”
That might not be a problem for a veteran Tigers team that features 18 seniors and a quarterback that completed 127 of 233 passes for 1,484 yards with 15 touchdowns.
Bekemeier, who battled a knee injury throughout the season, also led Hollister’s running game. As a junior he ran for 749 yards on 99 carries and scored nine touchdowns.
“He really picked it up well playing quarterback at the end of the year,” Hollister coach Jacob Hamon said. “Leadership wise, what we’re expecting from him is to be more of a vocal leader and help our team take the next step.”
Hollister has taken a step forward in each season under Hamon, who was hired in 2014.
And while the Tigers have experienced some growing pains, they will now play under the lights with the most experienced group they’ve had in three years.
“We’ve had these kids for a while,” Hamon said. “We’ve known they’ve been pretty good. We’ve been very fortunate. It’s been a lot of hard work from players and coaches to get to this point. I think it’s a consistency of coaching, I think it’s a consistency of everything we teach them. We teach them to do the little things right. It’s also a very nice group of kids coming through.”
Despite starting the preseason with a season-ending injury to one of their best playmakers, the Tigers still plan on making an upward climb.
“I think we can do some big things,” senior Landon Farquhar said. “We’re going to have to come to practice ready to get after it every day and work hard. We’re all pretty close and we have a good brotherhood. We know each other, so when we’re down, we can have each other’s back and lift each other up.
“We’ve got the talent. We’ve just got to be mentally prepared and ready.”