After losing the No. 1 player in the nation to graduation, Hillcrest’s football program had some things to figure out this offseason so as not to slide back to the pack in the Ozark Conference.
Coach John Beckham’s answer was getting the ball into the athletic Jonah Hill’s hands as much as possible by moving him from tight end to quarterback.
Hill, who is signed with Arkansas State, will look to be an H-back at the next level, but the move to quarterback is one he had to make for the good of the team.
“It is difficult to win at any level to win without a quarterback you can depend on. We just felt like he was the guy," Beckham said. "I didn't really give him and option or a choice; I just told him the way it was going to be. That happens all the time. For our team this year, the best thing for our team was to have Jonah at quarterback. He embraced it."
The quarterback position is just another in a long line of position switches for Hill, but it is something he is used to by now after switching positions almost every year since middle school. Even though he has played all over the field, the quarterback position has provided some unique challenges.
"The biggest challenge for me has been the pocket presence of a quarterback. To be able to sit in the pocket and just not worry about someone coming and blindsiding (you is a challenge). As a quarterback you have to sense someone coming around the line," Hill said. "That is probably the hardest thing for me is to be able to sit in the pocket and pass the ball."
The biggest change in Hill this year might not be his position on the field, but his position in the locker room and on the sidelines as well.
"I think Jonah hasn't always been a leader when he has been here, but sometimes leadership is thrust upon you and you have to accept the challenge and he did," Beckham said.
Hill has his Hillcrest Hornets sitting at 8-1 overall heading into tomorrow night’s playoff opener at home against Carl Junction.