Hill's Superman Effort Lifts Charging Cats
North Little Rock superstar and Arkansas wide receiver commit K.J. Hill has always just let his play on the football field do the talking for him.
But before a 45-0 second-half blitz during Thursday night’s 59-22 win over Little Rock Central that clinched the 7A-East championship, Hill also got plenty vocal according to head coach Brad Bolding.
Hill (6-1, 190) had 7 catches for 216 yards (including touchdown receptions of 80 and 71yards), ran the ball 9 times for 45 yards and a score and also returned 3 kickoffs for 188 yards with one of them being for 74 yards and a touchdown.
“It was one of those Superman efforts – that’s about all you can say,” Charging Wildcats head coach Brad Bolding said. “We had some media guys there that said it was the greatest half of football they had every seen one kid have. He was amazing.
“He’s done great stuff for us all season on the field, but last night for the first time, he really spoke up for the first time last night,” Bolding added. “He is kind of quiet kid that keeps to himself and I’ve been on him a little bit to speak up.
“Well, last night he did and the kids just all lit up and jumped on board and away we went,” Bolding continued. “It was really great to see.”
Bolding said he joked Friday morning about the “adjustments” he made at halftime with Arkansas wide receivers coach Michael Smith.
“I told Smitty that it was basically telling everybody that wasn’t a coach or a player to get out of the locker room and then just letting it go and reminding them what we were here for,” Bolding said. “It might have gotten a little loud.”
Bolding is quick to point out that Hill is doing great things that might not show up in the box score as well.
“He has made such improvement from one year to the next when it comes to things like blocking,” Bolding said. “He has really worked hard to become a complete player and that begins with just how he prepared in the off-season.
“Arkansas is getting a great one, one that can make an impact right away and will be a complete player for them,” Bolding added. “He’ll be ready to make a difference from day one.”
Hill certainly had plenty of help for North Little Rock (9-1, 7-0), especially from senior tailback and Northern Illinois commit D.J. Brown (18 carries, 201 yards, 3 touchdowns).
He is the latest in the line of great North Little Rock tailbacks after Altee Tenpenny (Alabama) and Juan Day (Arkansas).
“D.J. is a guy that just has great vision and has had a great year for us,” Bolding said. “He is a guy that may run a 4.5 40-yard dash which is not earth-shattering like Tenpenny’s 4.3, but once he gets in the game and has the ball, it kicks into another gear.
“And he hands down has the best hands of any back that I have had,” Bolding said. “That is big for the way we play.
“I’ve told (Arkansas assistant coach) Barry Lunney, Jr., that they need to take a long hard look at this guy because I think after a redshirt year and him putting on some weight, he is going to be a force,” Bolding added.
Defenders have had trouble stopping the pair this season and Bolding and his staff have done what they can in terms of being creative.
Hill has 47 catches for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, has 43 carries for 349 yards and seven more scores, returned 10 punts for 129 yards and a TD and six kickoffs for 199 yards and another score.
Brown has rushed for 1,529 yards and 29 touchdowns this season and has 4,816 yards and 45 touchdowns in his high school career.
“With a guy like K.J., you want to be as creative as you can in getting the ball in his hands and so that is what we have tried to do,” Bolding said. “That’s one of the reasons we have used him at quarterback some and ran the lead option with him and he has D.J. to pitch the ball, too. That’s putting a lot of pressure on the defense.”
North Little Rock’s win clinches a first-round bye in the state playoffs that start next weekend and they will have home field advantage starting the second week.
The Charging Wildcats only loss this season was a 43-33 loss at Fayetteville.
“We’ve got a great bunch of guys and they have been working hard,” Bolding said. “Now we just have to keep this thing going.”
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