Our Lady of the Hills coach Chris Ramirez beamed with pride when ruminating on the 2018 football season.
He had plenty of reasons to rejoice. After all, it was a memorable season for Ramirez’s Hawks. They won eight games, advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and laid the foundation for future success in the program.
“I was really proud of what we accomplished,” Ramirez said. “I was enjoying the journey that we took together. I was thankful to our seniors and the leadership they provided to our program. I thought they took a giant step forward for our program and for the football team.”
The Hawks (8-3) reached those milestones through teamwork. This week, they received individual recognition for this season’s achievements. Ten players received all-district honors. Senior quarterback Hunter Taylor was a first team all-state selection after collecting 1,041 rushing yards, 2,492 passing yards and 65 total touchdowns. He also earned first team all-district recognition on both offense and defense to go along with the all state honor. Sophomore James Ibarra received first team all-district honors and was a second team all-state selection after snagging 51 passes for 1,002 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Senior Mason Sirianni, Luke Martinez and Brian Casillas were al second team all-district selections.
“It’s definitely good to see the guys get recognized for all of their hard work,” Ramirez said. “It’s a reflection of the time they spend at two-a-days, in the weight room, running sprints after practice. We had a good season — it was lot of fun.”
And here’s some even more good news for OLH: seven of the 10 all-district honorees are expected to return next season. They are losing their three linchpins — Taylor, Sirianni and Schubert — so they will need new leaders to emerge during the offseason.
But once that happens, the Hawks will be poised to sustain their success for next season.
“We got a lot of guys this year who got in and played very well for us,” Ramirez said. “It’s going to be hard to replace seniors like Hunter Taylor, or Mason Sirianni or Tristan Schubert. Not just what they did for us on the field, but for everything they stood for off the field. It’s going to be hard to replace them.
“But we feel good and we are excited,” Ramirez continued. “We got a majority of our team coming back. They are excited and working hard already. They are looking forward to continuing the success we had this year.”