2009 was a landmark year for the Jeromesville Hillsdale football
program. The Falcons soared to an 8-win regular season, their first
playoff berth and their first playoff victory. Now what?
2009 Record: 9-3
* Players To Watch: WR Ryan Moore (6-4, 190, sr.), RB Zach Fulk (5-11, 175, sr.), OL Jared Whitcomb (6-4, 280, sr.), OL Seth Ebert (6-0, 240, sr.), LB Trevor Badertscher (5-9, 190, soph.)
* Outlook – 2009 was a landmark year for the Jeromesville Hillsdale football program. The Falcons soared to an 8-win regular season, their first playoff berth and their first playoff victory.
“Last year was a lot of fun for us,” head coach Tom Williams said. “The kids worked extremely hard. We had a great group of seniors that showed a lot of leadership. For us to make the playoffs for the first time in school history and also get our first playoff win was pretty awesome.”
Hillsdale has been building towards a playoff berth over the past few seasons. The experience was a memorable one but also one that the team plans to learn from and build on for the future.
“It’s always kind of been a goal for the last few years to get there, but I don’t think the kids until this last year understood how much excitement and how pumped up everybody was going to be once we got there,” Williams said. “The newness of that may have hurt us a little bit in that second round game (a 42-19 loss to Hamler Patrick Henry), just how big of a deal everyone was making it. So hopefully our kids do get to where it’s a little bit more business as usual once we get there.”
The good news for the Falcons is many players were able to get in on the action and get experience last season, something which should set the tone for this season.
“A lot of them got playing experience last year,” Williams said. “A lot of our skill players were young guys that were already in there and kind of got the feel of what it takes to win and things like. Hopefully they also take that the senior class this last year was a very unselfish group, showed a lot of leadership and got along on and off the field. Hopefully our young players learned from those guys that those things do matter and help you have success on Friday night.”
This year’s team returns nine starters total (five offense, four defense). Breaking in a new quarterback and new linemen will be a key task for the team.
“We’re going to have a new quarterback, so anytime you have that situation, you always kind of have to wait and see how that person progresses into the job,” Williams said. “We have to replace three offensive linemen who had all started for a few years, and we have to replace all of our defensive line, which last year was the strength of our defense. We have some good young players coming, but some of them don’t have a whole lot of varsity experience. Until they get out there and see the speed change from JV to varsity, it’ll be kind of a learning process early on.”
Williams expects the receivers, led by senior Ryan Moore (31 catches, 583 yards, 8 touchdowns), and the running backs, led by senior Zach Fulk (591 yards) to be a strong point on offense.
“I think our receiving corps is going to be pretty strong,” Williams said. “We have a few kids that can really make plays out at receiver. Two of our three leading rushers from last year are back, so our backfield should be fairly strong. (The new quarterback) is a very smart kid and knows the offense well and should put us in some good situations there. We have a couple very good returning offensive linemen. We’ll have some young guys that will fill in, but we think we have some big, capable kids that should be all right there. Offensively, we feel like we should be fairly strong.”
On defense, linebacker Trevor Badertscher is one to watch after having 100 tackles as a freshman. He and the rest of the linebackers will be among the strengths on defense.
“Defensively, our linebackers and defensive backs, we have a lot of those kids back,” Williams said. “But we’re really going to have to work to sew up what we have defensive line-wise.”
* Schedule – Hillsdale faces some formidable challenges. Division VI superpower Delphos St. John’s has been added to the schedule to go with a tough conference slate.
“We open with Mapleton, which we’ve played I think now for 40 straight years,” Williams said. “It’s kind of a backyard rival game. Of course, in Week 2, we have Delphos St. John’s coming here, which is a huge step up for us just in general for any of our schedule, when you have a team that’s won state titles and things like that coming to your place. In Week 3, we play Loudonville, who’s been kind of a real tough game here the past few years. Then we get into the Wayne County Athletic League, which is always strong.”
8/27/2010 at Ashland Mapleton (D-VI)
9/3/2010 Delphos St. John’s (D-VI)
9/10/2010 at Loudonville (D-V)
9/17/2010 at Doylestown Chippewa (D-IV)
9/24/2010 Dalton (D-VI)
10/1/2010 at Smithville (D-V)
10/8/2010 Apple Creek Waynedale (D-V)
10/15/2010 West Salem Northwestern (D-V)
10/22/2010 at Rittman (D-VI)
10/29/2010 Creston Norwayne (D-V)