Breakout season: LaGrange senior Stephen Hill is putting on a show in his final season in blue and white

Published 1:23 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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Senior Steven Hill is enjoying a breakout final season with the LaGrange football team.

“It has been good, but the entire team has been getting quality reps on the field,” Hill said. “It’s not just me, the whole team is clicking.”

Hill has bided his time and transformed himself into a true no. 1 wide receiver for the Grangers this season, leading the team in receptions (10), yards (179) is tied for the team lead in touchdowns (1). 

The next highest season totals on the team? Five catches for 81 yards.

LaGrange lost its two starting receivers from last year’s team — Magic Johnson and Jaylon Jordan — and were in need of a replacement. Hill, a lifelong Granger, has filled the void.

“I knew I was going to get more reps during the summer, so I worked even harder,” Hill said. 

When Hill was getting limited reps in his first few seasons with the Grangers, he never ran from adversity, or thought about changing positions. Instead, he worked to get better than the players in front of him and took his shot when it was presented to him.

“I had to wait my turn and keep getting better,” Hill said. “I had guys in front of me that were better than me.”

As a senior now himself, Hill also saw the need to step up and fill a leadership role for the team.

While most outside of LaGrange had no idea what this inexperienced wide receiver room would be capable of, Hill was keenly aware. 

“It is loaded!,” Hill said about the wide receiver room. “We got guys that make plays.  We have guys that have different strengths too.”

Hill’s season did not get off to the blistering start his stats would make it seem. He had only two catches for two yards in the season opener against Carver (Atlanta). 

He was not the only Granger that struggled in that game, but he, like his teammates, put in the work to earn a bounce back win in week two against Northside.

Hill broke out on the road against Northside, securing four catches for 85 yards. That was just the preamble for what Hill called his best performance so far as a Granger when he reeled in four catches for 91 yards and a touchdown in week three against Upson Lee.

This breakout was not by accident, Hill put in the work with wide receiver coach Stephen Tuck as well as first-year starting quarterback Malik Kemp.

“Coach Tuck has gotten me so much better from my freshman year to now,” he said. “[Malik and I] stay after practice to get a few extra reps together and try to build more chemistry.”

Kemp said that Hill is a phenomenal route runner and always finds a way to get open which makes his job as the starting quarterback much easier. 

The next step for Hill? Keep piling up yards. He wants to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards as he helps lead the Grangers on a deep playoff run in his final year in blue and white.

“It’s a big town, a big family, and they are always supportive,” Hill said.