Hillsboro Football: Seniors Have One More Ambition! What Is Your Opinion About Seniors?

The 2022 Hillsboro football team will need a major play from a player other than Jaxin Patterson or Austin Romaine.

If the Hawks are to win their first district title since 2017, a senior or younger player must make a vital catch, run, or tackle. Harrison Voyles recovered a Romaine fumble against Festus last year. This ended the Hawks’ eight-game losing streak in the Mississippi Area Football Conference Red Division.

North County shut out Hillsboro 24-0 in the Class 4 District 1 final by stopping Patterson and Romaine. Hawks beat the Raiders to win MAFC Red. North County reached the semis.

Bill Sucharski never makes a season “district championship or bust.” But he knows the value of this year’s seniors to a good program, like the school’s wrestling department, which produces state qualifiers and team trophies year after year.

Sucharski: “We preach one game at a time.” We hope to win conference and district titles. Injuries involve luck. Set minimum targets.

First-team all-state linebacker and MAFC Red MVP Romaine has committed to Kansas State. Patterson, a running back/linebacker, hasn’t committed, but NCAA Division I and II teams will be interested.

Both are durable. Patterson has 625 carries for 4,060 yards and 48 touchdowns in three seasons. Romaine (244 carries, 2,118 yards, 26 TDs) is Patterson’s thunder, but he’s best on defense.

“Teams aim to take one from us,” Sucharski said. “When they do that, the other wins. They’ve had big games simultaneously.”

Patterson and Romaine must be protected against hits in practices and games.

Sucharski: “During the offseason, we analyze what to improve.” “We’ve made a concentrated effort to keep our athletes healthy by how we train them and how much they practice.

Jaxin and Austin can do a lot with the ball; they don’t need to carry it 30 times in practice. Even when we’re at “thud” tempo and they’re not getting hit in the legs, it’s body wear and tears.”

Behind a nearly rebuilt offensive line will come youthful running backs, receivers, and a new quarterback. Payton Brown, Cohen Linderer, Kaden Brown, and Chris Duncan are RBs. Brown had 8 carries for 140 yards and 2 TDs versus Windsor in 2021.

Sucharski: “We’ll try to mix in backs with size and wiggle”

Both junior A.J. Heuszel and sophomore Preston Brown showed promise last year on the junior varsity.

“(Heuszel) stepped up last year on JV and played well,” the coach added. “Preston played JV. Both kids work hard and get equal reps in practice.

Blake Larson and Chase Sucharski, the coach’s son, are seasoned outside receivers. Sophomore wideout Keiten Pipkins and juniors Dalton Ross and Canyon Stout play “Z” receiver. Nick Doerner and Gavin Hite are TEs.

The Hawks must toss the ball to keep defenses honest. Sucharski: “We must strengthen our passing game and take pressure off our offensive line.”

Hillsboro Football Seniors Have One More Ambition
Hillsboro Football Seniors Have One More Ambition

Wyatt Yaeger is the sole returning offensive lineman. Junior Max Deranja backs up senior center Xavier Brown.

Sucharski said he’d want to keep senior Alex Medina fresh on the defensive front, where he has four sacks and 52 tackles. Hunter Reed and Connor Boyster strengthen the D-line. Seniors Griffin Ray, Larson, and Voyles lead the secondary.

Wide-ranging Romaine hunts down opposing ball carriers.

“He’s the best linebacker I’ve ever coached,” Sucharski added. He’s sharp and instinctive. He tells the coaches a front is trying to copy our defensive.

Junior Nick Marchetti kicked 27 extra points last season and made first-team MAFC Red.

The Hawks debut Friday against Sikeston, a team they haven’t played since the 2019 district playoffs. On Sept. 2, Hillsboro hosts Cape Girardeau Central.

Sucharski doesn’t like playing the same out-of-conference clubs every year.

Hillsboro invited Cardinal Ritter of St. Louis to its Oct. 14 homecoming. The 7-7 Lions reached the Class 3 semifinals before losing 21-20 to St. Pius X of Kansas City.

“I appreciate having that game before districts because we’ll face a good team,” Sucharski said.

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