If anyone ever questioned Sean Kelly Hill’s value to the Bryan County football team, their worries have been dispelled this season, especially in the Redskins’ playoff run that has them in the Final Four of the Class A-D1 state playoffs.
Often overshadowed by Austin Clemons who has rushed for a school single season record 1,660 yards and is two touchdowns away from Scott’s single season record 23, and the big play exploits of Tanner Ennis the senior quarterback had his moment in the spotlight last Friday as he directed the Redskins to a 24-16 win over Commerce.
Ennis had another big night as he scored two touchdowns, both on fourth down plays, and Clemons got the game winning score with 22 seconds left but Hill’s handprint was all over the win.
“Sean Kelly Hill is a dog!” Coach Cherard Freeman said of the third member of the Three Amigos. “Be sure and get that in the paper. Sean Kelly Hill is a dog! He played really well for us tonight.”
“He’s the guy that makes it go for us and he came up big when we needed him. He’s a heckuva an athlete and he’s as tough as anyone we’ve got.”
It was a typical game for Kelly in that he completed five of his seven pass attempts for 77 yards while directing an offense that had no turnovers while scoring touchdowns on two fourth down plays and converting on 6-of-11 third downs.
Hill had never played quarterback—he was a linebacker in middle school for current offensive coordinator Chad Roberts—but he found himself starting at quarterback as a freshman.
As expected on an 0-7 team which started as many as 16 freshmen, Hill took some brutal hits but he stayed the course. Hill started the following year and then last year for personnel reasons he moved to wide receiver with Trevor Lanier at quarterback.
All the while he was also excelling as a defensive back. This year Hill leads the team with three interceptions and has 57 tackles, including eight against Commerce.
For the season Hill has now completed 36 of 68 attempts for 652 yards and nine touchdowns with two interceptions. He’s a big reason the Redskins have a whopping plus 15 turnover margin: Bryan County has lost seven fumbles to go with the two picks while coming up with 14 interceptions and 10 recovered fumbles.
Hill is one of several Redskins who are multi-sport athletes. The last two years he has been a key reserve on the basketball team and is an all-region second baseman in baseball.
“He’s just a really good athlete,” Freeman said. “He’s one of our leaders and has been since he was a freshman. His teammates really respect him. He’s the catalyst, the guy who holds it all together.”
“Don’t underestimate the role he plays.”
Hill relishes Freeman’s style of football which emphasizes the run out of the Wing T. The plan is to throw it only when necessary but the passing game is also something the Redskins work on regularly, Hill and Freeman said.
“Coach Freeman’s style of football is smash mouth,” Hill said. “Every play if we can run our lead, we’re going to run our lead. If we can’t we’ll pull out another run play somewhere but in practice every couple of plays we throw a pass to mix it up a bit.”
“But honestly we don’t come out planning to pass.”
Against Commerce there were a couple of situations where the Redskins had to throw the ball and Hill executed.
Knotted at 8-8 and facing a 4th-and-6 at the Tigers 17 on the first play of the fourth quarter Hill fired a strike to Ennis who caught the ball at the five, did a 180-degree spin and beat the defender into the end zone for a 16-8 lead.
Then with the score again tied came the play which will be embedded in Redskins fans memory.
With less than a minute to play Bryan County had the ball at the Commerce 45 following three rushing plays. Hill and Ennis just missed at the goal line on a play where interference could have been called.
On the next play Hill, under heavy pressure, stood in the pocket and connected with Kris Martin at the eight-yard line.
“I turned around real quick and noticed they (Martin, defensive back) were even with one another,” Hill said. “I said ‘If I throw this thing deep, he’s going to beat him.’ Kris did wind up beating him. I underthrew it just a tad but he was able to pull it in.”
Clemons then got six to the two and after a time out with 26 seconds to play he went into the end zone for the winning score.