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Hilliard steps up big with 5-touchdown effort

MONTICELLO —  Backup quarterback LaQuanHilliard  scored fivetouchdowns in Lawrence County’s 48-27 victory against Columbia lastThursday night. It was a career-best performance for him: notchingTD runs of 4, 35 and 5 yards, plus a pair of 1-yard plunges.

    For the game, Hilliard rushed 18 times for 117 yards. That efforthas earned him The DAILY LEADER’s Offensive Player of the Weekrecognition.

    LCHS coach Mike Davis said Hilliard is a valuable member of histeam. “LaQuan is very football smart. He’s a tough, gritty,physical kid.”

    Hilliard stepped up and played quarterback against Columbia whenstarter Nicholas McDonald was sidelined by a shoulder injury.

    “He ran the offense about as smooth as you would expect,” saidDavis. “He had less than a week to prepare for that position.”

    Hilliard plays an outside linebacker position on defense and rarelygets a break from the action.

    Hilliard (5-11, 190) is the 17-year-old son of Melanie Powell andCalvin Hilliard. He has four brothers and three sisters. He is thenext to the youngest sibling. Chandler Lewis is a 15-year-oldsophomore strong safety for LCHS. The other brothers are C.J.Lewis, 21, and Calvince Magee, 23.

    Hilliard’s sisters are Danielle Lewis, 18;  LaQuitta Powell, 25 and Chanice Hall,18.

    In the weight room, Hilliard can bench press 255 pounds and performa 380 in the squat. He does 240 in the power clean.

    He said he runs a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash.

    Directing the LCHS offense is exciting. Hilliard said he enjoys thepressure surrounding the quarterback position. “I like being incontrol of the team and knowing that the team is relying onme.”

    His 5-TD performance earned a spot in the LCHS record books.Hilliard said, “I was a little surprised. It felt nice scoring fivetouchdowns.”

    He praised the work of his teammates in the trenches. “My offensiveline did a real good job blocking.”

    Working in the LCHS offensive line are left tackle JadariusMcGruder, left guard Blake Lambert, center Garrett Barnes, rightguard Derrick Evans and right tackle Alton Moreman. Working attight end are Lake Davis and Jalen James.

    The LCHS squad prides itself in running the Wing-T and double wingoffensive formations. Precision and quickness are the keys in theground-oriented attack.

     “The Wing-T is what weneed,” said Hilliard. “We have a lot of good backs who can run.It’s hard for opposing teams to stop us.”

    Hilliard said he would like to play defense on the collegelevel.  “Outside linebackeris fun. I can also play safety or  corner. Every week (coaches) havesomething new for me.”

    Asked about his future plans, Hilliard said, “I hope to go tocollege and play ball. I thought about engineering as acareer.”

    Hilliard said he remembers when Coach Davis would visit the juniorhigh football team during the season. He would provide advice andinspiration.

    “Since seventh grade, I’ve been learning from Coach Mike,” saidHilliard. “He has helped me as a mentor and taught me aboutlife.”

    Hilliard plays guard on the LCHS basketball team. He likes tofollow the LSU Tigers in his free time. On Sunday, he pulls for theTennessee Titans.

    The Cougars (4-4, 2-2) host the Purvis Tornadoes (6-3, 3-1) Fridaynight in a crucial Region 6-4A showdown.  Hilliard said, “I feel good about ourchances.

     “Purvis has a good runningback who almost has 2,000 yards. They are a physical team. It willbe a hard-fought game.”

    Hilliard and his teammates will be ready for the Tornadoes.