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Hill driving Richards ‘D’

Romel Hill Richards

Romel Hill, Richards

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Offensive line (playing center), defensive line, even some running back.

Romel Hill tried it all while growing up playing football.

It took him a little while, but Hill, a senior at Richards High School, found his position and his niche. A three-year varsity starter, Hill is one of the best linebackers in the state as he helps spearhead the Bulldogs defense.

“I started playing linebacker in eighth grade, and I love it,” Hill said. “I love hitting. I love the competition, and I try to give it my all every play, every game.”

Named to the All-South Suburban Red squad and a member of the SouthtownStar’s All-Area team in his junior season, Hill has come out with a vengeance for his senior campaign. Through Richards’ first six games heading into the second weekend of October, he had piled up 81 tackles, eight tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

The Bulldogs defense had given up less than 15 points per game to that juncture, including two shutouts.

Richards coach Tony Sheehan knows what a talent he has in Hill, but the biggest compliment came from coaches on the other sideline.

“The Lemont coaches said Romel was the best player they’ve seen,” Sheehan said. “Romel wants to be the best, and he feels he is the best. We do too. He makes every tackle, and he’s made the players around him better.”

It’s more than just the physical attributes though, something the 6-foot, 210-pounder certainly has. Hill has committed himself to being more of a football player, not just an athlete. Working in the weight room, working on conditioning, watching film, it’s all there.

“If we mess up (as a defense), we pick each other up,” Hill said. “We move on to the next play and don’t worry about it. We’re a family out there so we move on.”

Hill has some blood family on the team with him as well. His younger brother, Ramonta, is a junior running back and linebacker for the Bulldogs. Ramonta had 30 carries for 288 yards and three touchdowns through six games.

“I love it having him on the team, especially at linebacker with me,” Romel said. “It’s an amazing feeling playing with your brother because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity.”

Heading down the home stretch of the regular season, Hill and the Bulldogs are focused on the state playoffs. His college decision is on hold for after the season. He wants a state title, the memory of Richards’ 23-19 defeat against Lemont in the second round of the 6A playoffs last year still very fresh.

“As a senior, you realize how much you want it,” Hill said. “We didn’t make it last year. It’s my senior year. I want that state championship.”



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