Hillsboro hunts for winning outlet
When the University Interscholastic League holds its bi-annual re-alignment, sending coaches scrambling for opponents to fill their schedules, Jeff Miller likes to pencil in teams that are unknown to the RHS program.
He couldn’t have picked a more obscure school than Hillsboro.
The two schools have never met on the football field and their only connection is that when former Tiger coach Casey Creghan was fired here, he ended up at Hillsboro where he stayed for three years and fashioned a 12-18 record before retiring.
Hillsboro—which is famous for having one of the first outlet malls in the nation—has suffered through a decade of decline without a winning ledger since 2002.
In the last five years, the Eagles have managed just seven victories, going 1-8 in 2009 and 1-9 in 2010.
The outlet mall has suffered too and is all but closed down.
Michael Palmer—a former offensive coordinator at Hillsboro with 26 years experience—came out of retirement to try and turn the Eagles’ fortunes around.
He replaces Keith Hendrix who left to become defensive coordinator for Todd Dodge at Marble Falls.
The aforementioned UIL did not do Hillsboro any favors by dropping powerhouse Stephenrockdale ville into their newly formed District 7-3A which already housedstate finalist Alvarado. The Eagles are picked last in the district. Their only win came against Class 2A Hamilton 28-14 and they are coming off a 20-7 loss to Class A Hico. Like Rockdale, the Eagles have lost three straight. Move-in quarterback Garrett Lane from Arlington Martin runs a multiple offense for the Eagles and they are similar to Smithville in that they line in up the shotgun and run out of it.
Rockdale at hillsboro
What: Rockdale Tigers (2-3) at Hillsboro Eagles (1-4).
Where: Eagle Stadium (2,500
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Favorite: Rockdale by 12.
Series record: First meeting.
Last week: Rockdale lost to Smithville 27-0; Hillsboro lost to Hico
District outlook: Hillsboro is picked
fifth in District 7-3A, (Stephenville,
Alvarado, Glen Rose, Venus).
Eagle to watch: QB Garrett Lane
If you go: Take 77 to IH 35 in
Waco. From Waco 32 miles. In Hillsboro, take exit 364B. Stadium is on
the left on Abbott Ave. Trip is 100
miles, 1 hour, 45 minutes.
Best place to eat: Lone Star Cafe.
Right off IH 35 next to Outlet Mall.
lineman of the week
The good news for Rockdale is that starting quarterback Ethan Brinkley will return from the knee injury (torn meniscus) he suffered two weeks ago against Liberty Hill.
Also, starting center Ramsey Zinn is expected to return from a torn meniscus.
Josh Pelzel ( broken femur) wasn’t expected to play but was cleared to play and suited up Friday.
The bad news is that three more players were hurt Friday night against Smithville and will be out for several weeks.
Two- way star ter Gabr iel McQuinn suffered a concussion and is doubtful. Hayden Offield and Justin Offield were both injured and are doubtful for Friday.
Starting running back/defensive back Dailynn Ramey is still out with a shoulder injury.
Senior receiver/defensive back William Dean is still out with a broken wrist as is lineman Dedrick Page (concussion) and Stephan Hinijosa (concussion).
Linemen Dillan Ford (shoulder) and Kristian White (broken ankle) have been lost for the season.
Senior Kris Baldavia was suspended for disciplinary reasons for the Smithville game but will return Friday.
Due to the rash of injuries, there will be six new starters in the lineup this week.
On offense, Jarad Gerren—who was on the junior varsity two weeks ago—will start at right tackle.
On defense, the Tigers will feature an entirely new three-man front with Pete Heintze on the right side, Elijah Brooks at nose guard and Patric Trejo on the left side. Brooks normally starts at linebacker, where Austin Caffey will step in as starter.
Heintze and Trejo also start on offense to give the Tigers four players that go both ways.
• Junior tackle Josh Pelzel received his first solid scholarship offer from Rice. Several Division I schools have shown interest in the 6-foot-6, 300-pounder.
• Junior linebacker James David jumped in a car immediately after Friday night’s game and took a trip to Alabama with long time friend Bear Fenimore of Round Rock Westwood to watch the Alabama-Mississippi game on Saturday. David and Fenimore became friends after the two played AAU basketball together as kids. Fenimore (6-2, 225) is one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation. Insiders say the No. 1 ranked Tide would love to sign both. David has already been offered by Oklahoma.
• David led the Tigers in tackling Friday night with 15, followed closely by fellow linebacker Markus Hayes with 13. Hayes still leads on the season with 76 to David’s 66.
• Had the Tigers needed a backup quarterback against Smithville, the job would have fallen to receiver/linebacker Austin Caffey.
• Amongst District 18-3A teams, Rockdale is still the second best on offense, averaging 345 yards. The Tigers are second to No. 1 Navasota which puts up 453 yards and 43 points per outing.
• The last time the Tigers were shut out twice in one season was 2004 (Taylor, Caldwell), but finished as a 6-5 playoff team.
• For the first time this season, Rockdale will be able to field three full teams (freshmen, junior varsity, varsity) with 69 players available to suit up.
the starting lineups