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Player of the Pine Belt: Heidelberg linebacker Tyler Hill

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 11:58 PM CDT
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HEIDELBERG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Heidelberg Oilers feel like 2021 is a fresh start with first-year head coach Jimbo Nowell.

The new skipper brings a wealth of experience and energy to Jasper County.

“It’s a great group of kids,” Nowell said. “They keep me young. I’m 55 years old but I’m a high-energy guy. Enjoying the process – not just the games but enjoying practice, having fun while we work hard.”

“Coach brings great energy, great energy every day,” said Heidelberg senior linebacker Tyler Hill. “Never down, brings the team up. He’s always ready to go.”

Hill is doing his best to mirror Nowell’s excitement as the Oilers continue to dig toward their season-opener.

He’s going to do just about everything for Heidelberg this season - playing punter, halfback and middle linebacker.

“[Linebacker] requires a little bit more brains, just like the quarterback on the offense,” Hill said. “We have to make a lot of decisions, a lot of calls and get the defense ready.”

“I really expect him to be one of the stars of this team and of our region,” Nowell said. “But the main thing that I like about Tyler is he’s a good person. He’s got a good heart, he works hard, he’s got good leadership skills. The kids rally around him, they look up to him. Any time you’re trying to build a program, you need people like that.”

Nowell has been thoroughly impressed with the kids of Heidelberg and their work ethic.

COVID-19 robbed the Oilers of a 2020 season and they’re desperate to get back on the field.

“It feels great being back out here with the guys, getting prepared and ready for week one,” Hill said. “And we just need to keep working.”

“Throughout the state of Mississippi, there’s great high school football players,” Nowell said. “But in a lot of small towns, I think there’s hidden gems or potential gold mines. I feel like Heidelberg is one of those. There’s a lot of excitement with our kids and the community. I’m just really proud and honored to be a part of Heidelberg High School.”

The Oilers open their season on September 3 at Quitman.

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