Hillsboro High School football coach Joe Reed said he and his staff have 33 tentative starting spots for every football game because they consider special teams to be as important as those who start on offense and defense. He provided those lists Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 24, three days before facing Greenville there on Friday, Aug. 27.
Slated to kick off for the Toppers is senior Magnus Wells, who will not have many chances to rest during the next nine or more weeks. Defending the right side of Wells will be Landon Reincke, Drake Mullen, Jace Stewart, Cameron Hacke, and Blaine Stewart. To Wells’ left will be Jaben Compton, Ethan Schreiber, Elliot Lentz, Dalton Reynolds, and Brayden Fowler.
When the Toppers have to punt, Blaze Helton will be the long snapper and Zane Duff will punt. If it's a placement kick situation, Jaben Compton will kick, with Duff serving as the holder and Helton the long snapper. If the Toppers are returning kicks, look for Joe Keiser and Blaine Stewart on kick-offs, while Fowler will return punts.
Defensively Hillsboro will depend on strong line play to stop opponents’ running attacks. Wells (6’3”, 230 lbs.) and Ian Malloy (6’3”, 255 lbs.) are chiseled and experienced defenders. Joining them in the four down linemen set will be two other seniors, Maddex Scott (6’4”, 220 lbs.) and the little guy, Carsen Maddaleno, who at 6’1” and 215 lbs. is little only by comparison. The two linebackers will be Helton (6’2”, 215 lbs.) and Reese Morford (6’0”, 205 lbs.). Coach Reed listed five defensive backs: Reynolds and Hacke at the corners and Duff, Fowler, and Compton as safeties. Also slated for defensive action are Garret Schaake, Mullins, and Kayden Leibscher.
Offensively, Scott starts at tight end; the tackles are Wells and Malloy; the guards are Morford and Maddaleno; and the center is Kyle Butler (5’10”, 200 lbs.). Bryce Connor starts as the wide receiver. Duff is the starting quarterback, with Helton, Keiser, and Blaine Stewart as the running backs.
Coach Reed said he was pleased with the Gatorade scrimmage. “We had players competing for positions; some came through well when we weren’t sure they were ready. That’s encouraging."
Greenville returns the fullback, Nathan Grull, who ran roughshod over the Toppers last spring; reportedly they have a different quarterback than the man who held the job in the shortened season. As always, they feature a fleet wide receiver or two and experienced linebackers.
It should be a good contest to see.