Hill's hoops job takes a back seat to football

COVINGTON - Rashad Hill was originally supposed to start this coming Friday in Eastside's basketball season opener.

However, there are two problems.

One, the game has been postponed due to the Eagles winning their opening-round game against Creekview in the Class AAA state tournament. And two, although Hill is Eastside's starting point guard, the senior will not dress whenever basketball does tip off.

After all, he's too busy scoring game-winning touchdowns in the playoffs.

With the score tied 6-6 in the fourth quarter Friday, Hill plowed his way up the middle for a 22-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a late lead over the Grizzlies. Not only did it ignite the Eastside faithful, it also extended the season for at least one more week.

"We needed a big play," he said. "Coach (Rick) Hurst tells us all the time big players make big plays, and I just wanted to put my team in a position to win.

"I'm not really big on individual things. I just want my team to win. Honestly, I think if I wasn't playing, I feel like any of our running backs could have made that play - anyone on our team."

This kind of attitude is exactly why the Eagles are still playing football.

But it wasn't until last year when Hill strapped on a helmet for the Eagles. Since then, he has played an integral role in Eastside's running game.

"Well, I always played football (when I was younger)," Hill said. "When I first got to high school I was hurt, so I didn't play. But my friends told me to come out and play and give it a shot. I love it."

Even when Hill woke up at 7 a.m. Friday, never in his wildest dreams did he imagine loving football more than after his touchdown run.

"Our (offensive) line plays hard," Hill said. "At practice, believe me, they play hard. But we've all come together as a team, and Coach Hurst has taken us in as his own kids. There's a vibe on the team this year, and we want to go as far as we can."

While Eastside football is just the latest in a string of successes at the school, whether the basketball program will continue the streak remains uncertain.

Although Hill will do whatever it takes to make that happen on the hardcourt, for now he's strictly all about the gridiron.

"I love basketball," he said, "but I gotta take care of business out here first."

Jason Murdock can be reached at jason.murdock@rockdalecitizen.com.