HENNESSEY — Looking at some of the current seniors who played vital roles on Hennessey's back-to-back state championship teams, it makes the first title in 2010 even more impressive.
Levi Hill was a 1,000-yard rusher that year. Car Aguirre was a key cog on the defensive line who excelled in the Eagles' unexpected playoff run.
Other seniors — and a few juniors, like new quarterback Dylan Hatchel — were integral on the title teams, which is why there isn't an expectation that Hennessey will drop off, despite some significant losses from a year ago.
Head coach Shannon Watford left for Purcell. Quarterback Trey Leu and the team's heart and soul, Ivan Moreno, graduated along with a few other significant pieces.
But Hennessey is still a name opponents are wary of, as the top-ranked team in Class 2A this preseason.
“We know people won't take us lightly,” said Hill, who will be asked to carry the ball even more this year. “They're gonna be ready for us. They're gonna expect it to be how it's been the last two years.”
Hill shared carries with Moreno the last two years and still has piled up more than 3,000 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Expectations grow even greater for Hill as the featured back.
“We're gonna run him as much as we can, as long as he's gaining yards,” new coach Rick Luetjen said. “Our goal is to run the football. He's gonna hopefully get 20 or 25 carries a game, and I'm expecting him to run for at least 2,000 yards or more this year.”
Slogan: Who but Hennessey?
Hennessey might be better aligned with a Franklin D. Roosevelt campaign slogan, as the Eagles pursue their third term as champion. But this one's a take on Herbert Hoover's “Who but Hoover?” slogan in 1928.
Endorsements for Levi Hill and Car Aguirre
Jones coach Dave Martin: “They're a great combination. Levi's a great runner for them. He came into the state championship game and was a strong kid to handle in the running game and was definitely a difference maker. This year, being able to play them Week 2, I figure they're definitely going to do some pounding with him for sure.”
Hennessey coach Rick Luetjen: “Levi has been splitting carries the last two years, and he's still put together a great career so far as a running back, even splitting carries. He's going to be our go-to guy now. Car has been a starter the last two years for us, and he's a big part of our passing game. He's got the best hands on the team and we know we can always count on him to find a spot to get open.”