Defensive spotlight: Timberline's Don Hill

rroberts@idahostatesman.comAugust 30, 2013 

Timberline's Don Hill

KATHERINE JONES — kjones@idahostatesman.com

There is a genuine straightforwardness to the way Don Hill approaches the game of football.

At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, he is a natural fit at defensive end.

He’s aggressive, a touch mean, and plays with boundless energy.

Hill will play at the University of Washington beginning in the fall of 2014, but right now, there isn’t a quarterback safe in the 5A Southern Idaho Conference.

That leaves Timberline coach Kirk Copeland facing a rare dilemma when it comes to the hard-charging Hill, who accounted for nine sacks as a junior.

“How do you get him not to play with that motor all of the time?” Copeland said. “Sometimes he gets penalties just because he does things officials don’t see anybody else in high school ever do, so they assume it’s got to be a penalty when it’s not.”

Part of it is Hill’s speed and power. He can get to — and take down — players faster than most.

It’s an instinctual gift, but one Hill didn’t fully come into until his sophomore year.

From about fifth grade through eighth grade, coaches had Hill play running back and linebacker. He was moved to wide receiver and free safety as a freshman, but finally found a spot at defensive end his sophomore year, his first season on varsity.

“At that point in time we had a really good receiving corps and I wanted to play, so for me to get on the field, that was my best opportunity and the best way I could help the team,” Hill said. “I just kind of got pretty good at that, so they decided to keep me there.”

“Pretty good” is putting it mildly, as Hill has ranked near the top of the 5A SIC in sacks the past two seasons.

Because he is one of the best athletes on the field at any given time, Copeland plans to pepper his offense with doses of Hill’s power. Teams could see Hill in any number of positions, including running back, wildcat quarterback, wide receiver or tight end.

Given the option, however, Hill says his first love will always be defense.

“I like hitting people, and I just feel like I’m more of a defensive guy anyway,” he said.

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