Football pedigree runs deep with Valley receiver Hill
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Football has been a part of Valley wide receiver Tyson Hill's life since pacifiers and Pampers.
His father, Troy, played at Pitt and later coached Valley. His brother, Troy Jr., was a standout at Valley before playing at Ohio.
Obviously, there was plenty of dinner-table football analysis and all the while, Tyson was a sponge, soaking up the lingo and lessons from his two favorite role models.
As his high school career buds, he can start to apply the things he has learned, and do so the Hill Way.
His junior season begins Friday night when the Vikings host rival Burrell in New Kensington.
Whether he's bringing down a ball along the sideline or ripping one out of an opponent's hands, Hill (6-2, 160) plans to move at one speed and one speed only. It's the premise of everything his dad and brother taught him.
“You have to go hard every play,” Hill said. “If not, you're going to get popped in the mouth. Just because it's a running play, doesn't mean you can slack off. College coaches look at that kind of thing.”
And college coaches are in constant contact with Muzzy Colosimo, Valley's new coach. Colosimo acknowledges wide receiver could be the top position in the Allegheny Conference, and Hill and teammate D'Aundre Johnson are high on the list.
“He's a player; he'd a kid who has learned to be determined,” Colosimo said. “He's very tall and skillful and has that leaping ability from being a jumper in track.”
Colosimo said it's what Hill does when the ball goes up that makes him a special player.
“He gets position when the ball is in the air,” Colosimo said. “And he's smooth when he does it. A lot of players can't do that.”
Hill gradually showed his ability last season, but particularly in Valley's first-round playoff game at Mt. Pleasant when he caught six passes for 86 yards and had two interceptions.
The younger Troy Hill was a tight end in college, his father a defensive back.
“My brother tells me to do more, not less,” Tyson Hill said. “He's on me constantly about keeping my energy up. If you slack in practice, you'll slack in the game.
“He wants me to make it to the next level.”
Throughout training camp, Hill was working on getting his timing down with new quarterback Philip Petit, who also is a junior. Petit transferred from Greensburg Central Catholic.
“I am comfortable with all of my receivers,” Petit said. “I know with Tyson, I can throw it anywhere, and I know he's catching it. I feel so lucky to be here and to have these kind of receivers. I grew up with these kids.”
Johnson, junior Eugene Bailey and senior Nick Marzullo also should catch passes as Valley rotates receivers.
“Phil puts his heart into it,” Hill said. “He motivates everyone.”
With the new-look conference offering weekly games up and down Route 28 — against teams also rich with pass-catchers — Hill expects highlights to be frequent.
“It's going to be a good conference,” Hill said. “You're going to see a lot of competitive games.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BillBeckner.
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