• John Macon Gillespie

Hillie Has Newton Climbing To The Top

It would appear the Newton Tigers are trending upward. In year one under head coach Ryan Smith they finished 7-4 and made the playoffs.

Considering the program had won only two games in each of the previous two seasons, it was a major step forward. However, with a playmaker at quarterback in Trevion Hillie, it appears the Tigers are on a steady ascent.

“I think we did good last year, but we could have done better,” Hillie told SES Mississippi. “We had a great team. I wish we could have the seniors back for another year.”

The Tigers have several talented players returning around Hillie. Twin playmakers Zachary and Zackariah Johnson, plus leading rusher Sirvares Snow, Javarious Moore and others are back to guide the Tigers to the playoffs again.

Coach Smith’s bunch isn’t just a collection of talented players, though. He, nor the program, would have it that way.

“What makes the Newton program special is that we are a family. Nobody gets left behind,” Hillie explained.

Though Smith and his staff are entering year two, the connection with the team was forged quickly.

“Our coaching staff is great, because they do everything in their power to make successful on and off the football field,” Hillie said.

Part of that effort from the Newton staff is shown in the promotion of their program, and it’s outstanding student athletes, on social media. In fact, Hillie will be making his way to the Fortius Project this offseason, thanks to his coach tagging him in a tweet about the camp on Twitter.

“I saw it and I thought it would be a good chance to get myself out there with my junior year coming up,” He said.

“I’m trying to get faster and stronger, and improve my mechanics.”

With spread offenses continuing to evolve, the need for an athletic playmaker at quarterback is becoming more and more necessary. There is no questioning Hillie’s ability to make plays all over the field, with both his feet and his arm.

Last season he put together a spectacular sophomore campaign that included 1,818 yards and 22 touchdowns through the air, while he completed 63 percent of his passes. He added another 351 yards and four scores on the ground. On top of that, he caught seven passes for 34 yards.

“I just play and make plays,” Hillie stated.

When he shows up to compete at Fortius, against some of the best athletes from across the state, he feels that agility will shine. Also his knack for turning a small play into a big play.

Currently, Hillie is in the home stretch of baseball season, but that doesn’t mean he is letting his focus on the gridiron go. This time of year, he feels there is plenty of benefit to be gained for his football skillset.

“I’m just working on different drills on the weekends when I don’t have football,” He said. “I play a lot of 7-on-7. It can help a quarterback with reading defenses and throwing into different coverages.”

**Photo courtesy of Mary Rigdon

#Newton #JohnLukeMcCord

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