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Hill to play football for UM

(Quarterback Braxton Hill runs the ball against Salmon this season. He verbalized today to  continue his playing career for the Montana Grizzly football team) COPPERHEAD COUNTRY/Melissa Hempstead

Braxton Hill, Anaconda’s multi-talented standout senior athlete, has chosen to continue his playing career for the Montana Grizzly football team. 

Hill, a 6-foot-2, 215 pounder, verbalized his intent this afternoon via Twitter. 

Hill was a four-year starter for the Copperheads football team on defense and three years as quarterback. He is expected to play linebacker for head coach Bobby Hauck. 

Much of the conversation on Hill’s recruitment was quiet after he suffered a torn labrum on the first play of his second game against Bigfork this season. He played until halftime before the injury forced him to the sideline. Through five quarters Hill recorded 27 tackles, four tackles for loss and a blocked field goal. 

Hill rolls out to pass against Florence this season. COPPERHEAD COUNTRY/Melissa Hempstead

Despite the injury, Hill returned after three weeks and played QB for the rest of the season even as the Copperheads had no prospect of reaching the playoffs. Anaconda head coach Bob Orrino remembers what it meant to the younger kids seeing him trying to get back on the field. 

“It meant a lot to us as coaches watching him go above and beyond for his team,” Orrino said. “He stuck with us every day. It was awesome to watch his work ethic. We are definitely going to see him on the field against soon.”

 

Hill drives to the hoop against Three Forks in December. PHOTO COPYRIGHT COPPERHEAD COUNTRY/Blake Hempstead

Still proving his toughness, Hill is a two-time All-State point guard averaging 23.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists for the Copperhead basketball team as they play in defense of the Western B championship and second place runner up to Malta at the State B championship last season. 

Hill will not be signing a letter of intent as of yet. Due to his injury — which he will have surgery to repair after basketball — Hill will be considered a gray shirt until he officially enrolls January of 2019. 

“Growing up a grizzly fan, it has always been my dream to play there,” Hill said. “Now that I have the opportunity to do so, it is a dream come true.”

The defensive front seven at UM is no stranger to Copperhead greatness. Not exactly a highly-sought recruit in his own right, Ciche Pitcher played for head coaches Joe Glenn and Hauck from 2000-04 and wore the legendary “37” for the Griz defense. Pitcher had an outstanding sophomore season after receiving the No. 37 from Helena’s Andy Petek. He was an All-Big Sky Conference selection, Montana’s recipient of the Larry Miller Award (Outstanding Defensive Lineman), and tabbed UM’s “Sophomore of the Year” on defense.

“He’s a great kid and he deservers it, all his hard work is paying off,” said Pat Gallagher, Hill’s defensive coordinator  at AHS. “He’s a tough kid, they don’t make them like that any more. It’s all about the team for him. (The Griz) got themselves a good one.”

Adding to his lore in Anaconda, Hill is on the cusp of becoming the greatest male scorer in Copperhead history. Sitting at 1,564 points, he needs 50 points to tie former University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Lakers star Ed Kalafat (1,614) all the way back from 1946-50. He is 134 points away from tying Ali Hurley (1,698) as the all time greatest scorer regardless of gender in school history. 

Hill will be no stranger to the fans of Grizzly athletics as his sister, Torry, was a standout four-year player at point guard for the Lady Griz under Robin Selvig.

With Braxton as an eight-grader, Torry celebrated her senior night for the Lady Griz joined my her mother, Traci, and father Bill. PHOTO COPYRIGHT COPPERHEAD COUNTRY

 

 

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