POSTSEASON TEAM PHOTO – THE ONLY UNDEFEATED FOOTBALL TEAM IN HILLTOP HISTORY
It’s been 25 years since Hilltop High School 10-0 season in varsity football and the school wants to celebrate. The high school will honor the team Sept. 21 as the Cadets host Ottawa Hills. According to Hilltop Athletic Director Tony Gerig the cermeony will take place after the band halftime show and the school wants to get the word out to all the team members, cheerleaders, former coaches and the marching band to come back for a homecoming of sorts.
The 1993 team only team in school history to finish undefeated in a season of 10 games or more. The Cadets missed the playoffs that year because they played many Michigan teams who only played a 9-game season.
The team was coached by Hal Krotzer, who now resides in Raleigh, N.C. He will be unable to attend the game but did share some memories about that squad.
”They were a special bunch of kids,” Krotzer said. “They were a tough group who came together.” The key to the team’s success was its unity of purpose.
“Everybody was moving in the same direction; they played well together,” Krotzer said. “They were all great from beginning to end. They all just came together.”
While the team swept through the SCAA schedule and some other local teams, Krotzer was not so sure about his team’s chances in the postseason. Liberty Center was a formidable team that year.
“Ending the season undefeated was special,” Krotzer said.
The team was led by Jay Joseph who rushed for 1,303 yards and scored 155 points (23 touchdowns). His 36 points in a game against Waldron still stands a school record.
Jason Armbruster had 494 yards rushing, while Shea Walkup had 240. Jon Bernath was the quarterback and threw for 442 yards and 7 TDs in an offense that total 2,317 yards on the ground.
On defense, Bernath had 12 sacks, 29 solo tackles and a blocked punt. Joseph had 48 solo tackles, five interceptions. Chad Axford had 59 solo tackles, 23 assists, recovered two fumbles and had seven sacks. Nathan Saneda had 54 solo tackles, 33 assists, 2 fumble returns for 85 yards, 2 interception returns for 24 yards and score 12 points. Forrest Church had 24 tackles, eight assists, recovered one fumble and had four sacks.
PRESEASON TEAM PHOTO – LOADED WITH TALENT, CADET FANS LIKELY NEVER KNEW THE 1993 FOOTBALL SQUAD WOULD FINISH THE SEASON WITH A PERFECT RECORD
1st Team Offense: Nathan Saneda, Guard; Jay Joseph, Tailback
1st Team Defense: Jon Bernath, Defensive End; Jay Joseph, Safety
2nd Team Offense: Todd Gerig, Offensive End; Jason Armbruster, Fullback
2nd Team Defense: Brock McNeal, Linebacker; Chad Axford, Linebacker; Nathan Saneda, Linebacker.
Coaches Award: Heath Phillips
1993 Season 7-0 SCAA, 10-0 Overall
HILLTOP 8, Edgerton 0
Scoring: Jay Joseph 45 run (Joseph run)
Jason Armbruster 70 yards 20 carries; Joseph 9-61 156 total
HILLTOP 32, Antwerp 14
Scoring: Jon Bernath 1 run (Jay Joseph run)
Nathan Saneda 50 fumble return (Joseph run)
Brock McNeal 30 pass from Jon Bernath (Bernath pass to McNeal)
Shea Walkup 8 run (Jason Armbruster run)
Joseph 97 yards 14 carries; Hilltop 178 yards overall.
HILLTOP 34, Pittsford (MI) 13
Scoring: Jason Armbruster 1 run
Shea Walkup 79 run (Jay Joseph run)
Joseph 31 run (Joseph run)
Nathan Saneda 35 fumble return
Walkup 22 run
Armbruster 143 yards on 19 carries. Walkup 107 yards on 6 carries.
HILLTOP 38, Edon 12
Scoring: Jay Joseph 32 run
Jon Bernath 1 run
Joseph 14 run (Bernath pass to Brock McNeal)
Tom Gerig 49 pass from Bernath
Joseph 19 run
Joseph 14 run
Total yards: Hilltop 244 yards rushing, 76 passing
HILLTOP 24, Litchfield (MI) 8
Scoring: Joseph 20 run
Shea Walkup 1 run
Jon Bernath 1 run
Joseph 39 punt return
Jay Joseph 105 yards rushing, 2 interceptions
Hilltop 259 yards rushing
HILLTOP 50, Waldron (MI) 18
Scoring: Jay Joseph 3 run (Jason Armbruster PAT run)
Joseph 33 run (PAT good)
Joseph 38 run (Armbruster kick)
Joseph pass from Bernath (Armbruster kick)
Tony Gerig 56 pass from Bernath (PAT failed)
Joseph 25 fumble recovery (PAT failed)
Armbruster 31 FG
Total yards Hilltop 236 rushing, 119 yards passing
Jay Joseph 6 TDs, PAT kick, 143 yards rushing
First-ever 6-0 start for Hilltop
HILLTOP 14, North Adams-Jerome (MI) 6
Scoring: Brock McNeal 26 pass from Jon Bernath (Jay Joseph PAT run)
Joseph 25 pass from Bernath (PAT failed)
HILLTOP 44, Camden-Frontier (MI) 0
Scoring: Jay Joseph 76 punt return
Joseph 4 run (Bernath 2 –point PAT)
Jon Bernath 1 run (Bernath 2 –point PAT)
Joseph 1 run
Joseph 12 run
Shea Walkup 12 run (Ty Krotzer pass to Josh Taylor)
Joseph 168 yards on 19 carries Hilltop 225 yards overall
HILLTOP 22, Tekonsha (MI) 20
Scoring: Jay Joseph 56 run (Joseph PAT run)
Joseph 47 run (PAT failed)
Joseph 22 run (Jon Bernath PAT run)
Hilltop 259 yards rushing
HILLTOP 28, Ottawa Hills 0
Scoring: Jon Bernath 3 run, Bernath 2-point run
Joseph 39 run Jason Armbruster kick
Brock McNeal 29 pass from Bernath (Armbruster kick)
Adam Ruthley 1 run
Cadets 200 yards rushing, 114 yards passing
Jay Joseph 25-151 rushing, season total 1,303 yards (school record)
Additional news coverage will be provided in future weeks covering the gathering along with player quotes.
James Pruitt may be reached at email@example.com
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