Prep’s Hill gets to meet Bush Snyder football update, Stabile retires at Bayonne

It’s not everyday when a high school football player gets to meet a Heisman Trophy winner.

But then again, Will Hill isn’t exactly your everyday high school football player.

The soon-to-be senior at St. Peter’s Prep, the top-ranked player in the nation, now has the distinction of having met the last two recipients of college football’s top trophy.

Last December, Hill had the chance to meet and greet the 2006 Heisman Trophy recipient, namely Troy Smith of Ohio State, who was recently drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.

However, last week, at a special event in New York, promoting safety in sports, Hill was the invited guest to meet Reggie Bush, the 2005 Heisman winner out of USC, who currently plays for the New Orleans Saints.

Hill was one of two New Jersey grid stars asked to participate in the event with Bush, joining Rashad White of Teaneck.

The 6-3, 215-pound Hill, who plays quarterback and free safety for the Marauders, had a chance to talk about the recruiting game with Bush. Hill is being actively recruited by practically every big-time college in the nation.

“It was a great experience for me to meet him,” Hill said. “He was asking me about my recruiting and he was able to give me a different concept. I feel honored to have had the chance to meet him and talk to him. I was happy to be able to ask him about recruiting, since he had been through it all already. He told me about how my life should be geared.”

But in their conversation, Bush didn’t try to sway Hill to become a member of the USC Trojans.

“He didn’t talk to me about USC,” Hill said. “He just told me to go to the place that I feel the best. He wasn’t going to sell me and I respected that.”

St. Peter’s Prep head coach Rich Hansen said that it was good for Hill to see how the other half lives.

“It was exciting for Will to be in the company of someone who has achieved the ultimate,” Hansen said. “It’s a chance to dangle the carrot a little and serve as a good motivation. For Will to get a chance to speak with a positive role model like Reggie Bush is a good thing. If Reggie can influence Will one iota, then it was worthwhile. I think it’s certainly helped him and a good experience.”

In terms of good experiences, it was learned last week that the Marauders will open the 2007 season once again at Giants Stadium, as part of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority’s High School Kickoff Classic.

On Sept. 8, the Marauders will once again face Delbarton in the season’s opener at Giants Stadium. The Marauders won last year’s game, 36-0. This year, the Marauders will face the Green Wave in the first game of the tripleheader, followed by Bergen Catholic-Phillipsburg and St. Joseph of Montvale against Xaverian Brothers of Massachusetts.

“Not every kid gets a chance to play at Giants Stadium,” Hansen said.

The Marauders both began and ended their season last year at Giants Stadium, having defeated Delbarton in the opener, but then losing to Don Bosco Prep in the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 title game last December.

“I think this might help, but it won’t extinguish the demons of last December,” Hansen said. “But it’s definitely an honor to be asked to play in the game with all the great programs there. You have to take advantage of an opportunity like that.”

“Although we’re going back to the Meadowlands, I want to wait for when the time is right,” Hill said. “I want to go back there again in December.”

A year ago, not many people knew who Will Hill was, but after being named the High School Player of the Year in New Jersey as a junior last year, all eyes will be centered towards Hill come the first week of September in Giants Stadium.

“I don’t mind if people know me now and expect things from me,” Hill said. “I just want to go and play my game. I’m getting a chance to play at Giants Stadium again and that’s a great thing.”

Hill hasn’t decided on his college choice. He will take a host of college visits in June.

“I have to see if I like the school,” Hill said. “I have to talk to other players at the school.”

While Florida and Michigan remain high on Hill’s list, he is also fielding offers from Florida State, USC, Notre Dame, Miami and Virginia, where former teammates Mike Brown (the 2005 Hudson Reporter Male Athlete of the Year) and Rashawn Jackson are.

“It would be great to play with those two guys again and I have a lot of relatives in Virginia,” Hill said.

So how about getting the chance to meet two Heisman winners?

“I just hope I can be one of those myself one day,” Hill said.

It might happen…

For all this recent talk about the powers-that-be in the Jersey City school system asking parents and students at Snyder High School to “come up with a list of 45 names” and they might consider having varsity football after all in the fall, try this one on for size.

The HCIAA has already accepted Snyder’s proposal to drop varsity football for the 2007 season and teams have already rescheduled their date that was previously set aside for Snyder. For example, Hoboken will now play Bayonne in a game. Both teams were supposed to play Snyder, but will now play each other.

Now, if there was even a chance that Snyder would bring back football in some grandstanding fashion, wouldn’t the HCIAA know about it?

It’s a done deal. There won’t be varsity football at Snyder this fall, regardless of all these meetings and press conferences and organized gatherings.

This attempt of getting a team together is basically a dog-and-pony show. I find it very interesting that this becomes an interest to L. Harvey Smith and Assemblyman Louis Manzo just a few weeks before a very heated Democratic primary in the district where Snyder resides. And who’s in the middle of it? Dr. Charles Epps, the superintendent of schools who decided not to run for re-election to the state Assembly.

This should not be a political issue. We’re talking about the betterment of high school students and what’s best for them. It’s real football, not political football…

Bayonne High School has two huge pairs of shoes to fill, after the resignations of both the boys’ and girls’ basketball coaches. Long-time girls’ coach Jeff Stabile has decided to retire, while boys’ coach Jack Hladik has decided to step aside so he can watch his children participate in sports. Both men were credits to the game of high school basketball and will be sorely missed in this reporter’s book…


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