Airline OT Hill keeps checking off the boxes

HILL CLIMBER: Airline offensive tackle Nathan Hill set lots of goals, on and off the field, that he has achieved this season. Now his focus, after his team’s first-round bye, is on second-round foe Southside. (Journal photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL)  


Airline offensive tackle Nathan Hill is a goal-oriented kind of guy. As the leader of his peers, he set about the task of accomplishing the pre-determined plan for his senior year.

He has been able to check off one box after another as things have fallen into place for him and those he works with on a daily basis.

He has been recognized for his efforts as Hill has been selected for some significant honors that makes him stand out in the Airline community.

Yes, things have really fallen into place for Nathan Hill in his senior year.

And we haven’t even gotten to the football part yet.

See all of those accomplishments listed above? Just about all of them for Nathan Hill, Airline student, also apply to Nathan Hill, Airline athlete.

“He’s the kind of kid you want on your team,” says Airline football coach Justin Scogin. “You never worry about him being in the right place or doing the right thing. He’s waited his turn and made the most of his opportunity.”

Hill has made the most of a lot of opportunities. He is the Airline’s Student Council president and carries around a 4.3 GPA in his backpack. When it came time to name a Student of the Year, they chose Nathan Hill.

“I met all the qualifications and I talked to my mom; we decided to do it and see how far we could get,” Hill says. “After I got by the first round, I interviewed in the next round and the next thing I knew, they told me I was Student of the Year.”

That may have happened pretty quickly, but Hill’s ascent to starting offensive tackle has been decidedly more deliberate. This is his first year as a starter, but there’s no question he was ready for his chance.

“I’ve had a senior in front of me every year, but I knew once they graduated that it was my turn to go, and I had to be the leader,” Hill says. “I knew I was going to give 100 percent with every snap I’ve got, because I don’t have three years’ worth of snaps like other guys. I knew I was going to make the most of it every play and at every practice.”

The Vikings, the No. 4 seed in the Division I (non-select) playoffs, had a first-round bye and will take on Southside Friday night at Airline Stadium in the second round. Besides throwing some key blocks, the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Hill might also get credit for something else at the game.

“Student involvement has been our big thing this year,” he says of his Student Council responsibilities. “Pep rallies, Homecoming week, things like that. It definitely fell off after Covid, and we definitely have tried to get things going again with school spirit. We’ve been selling game day buttons to get people to come to games.”

There are plenty of challenges for a Student Council president and for an offensive left tackle. But there is one challenge that Hill isn’t fond off, and it’s not facing a speed rush from an outside linebacker.

“Speaking in public,” he says “I get nervous when I’m up there and having to give a speech at something like Ring Ceremony. When I’m on the field, I’m not nervous like that.”

He shouldn’t be. He may have been called for three penalties this year (“two of those where a little questionable,” he says), but he has allowed zero quarterback sacks.

“That stat,” Hill says, “I am sure of.”

It’s been a great regular season for the Vikings with a 9-1 record, but last year was also great until a first-round playoff loss. That is still very much on the minds of Hill and his teammates.

“I just knew that coming off the season we had last year, we had so much potential to go farther this year,” he says. “I knew it was on me to lead the O (offensive) line because it’s a critical part of the team to help take us that far. It’s definitely different this week. You can tell we are laser focused on what we have to do.”

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