Hilltop Plans Celebration Marking 25th Anniversary Of Undefeated Football Team

POSTSEASON TEAM PHOTO – THE ONLY UNDEFEATED FOOTBALL TEAM IN HILLTOP HISTORY


UPDATED 9/20/2018 (Name Corrections)

It’s been 25 years since the 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 is the 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 schools who only played a 9-game season (no secondary points issued while Ohio played its 10th game of the 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


TEAM HONORS

SCAA All-League

  • 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

September 3rd, 1993

HILLTOP 8, Edgerton 0

  • Score: Joseph 45 yard touchdown, Joseph 2 pt. conversion.
  • Game: Armbruster 70 yards on 20 carries; Joseph 9 carries for 61 yards. 156 yards total offense.

September 10th, 1993

HILLTOP 32, Antwerp 14

  • Score: Bernath 1 yard run (Joseph 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Saneda 50 yard fumble return (Joseph 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: McNeal 30 yard pass from Bernath (Bernath pass to McNeal 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Walkup 8 yard run (Armbruster 2 pt. conversion).
  • Game: Joseph 97 yards on 14 carries; Hilltop 178 yards overall.

September 17th, 1993

HILLTOP 34, Pittsford (MI) 13

  • Score: Armbruster 1 yard run.
  • Score: Walkup 79 yard run (Joseph 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Joseph 31 yard run (Joseph 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Saneda 35 yard fumble return.
  • Score: Walkup 22 yard run.
  • Game: Armbruster 143 yards on 19 carries. Walkup 107 yards on 6 carries

September 24, 1993

HILLTOP 38, Edon 12

  • Score: Joseph 32 yard run.
  • Score: Bernath 1 yard run.
  • Score: Joseph 14 yard run (Bernath pass to McNeal 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Gerig 49 yard pass from Bernath.
  • Score: Joseph 19 yard run.
  • Score: Joseph 14 yard run.
  • Game: Total yards: Hilltop 244 yards rushing, 76 yards passing.

October 1st, 1993

HILLTOP 24, Litchfield (MI) 8

  • Score: Joseph 20 yard run.
  • Score: Walkup 1 yard run.
  • Score: Bernath 1 yard run.
  • Score: Joseph 39 yard punt return.
  • Game: Joseph 105 yards rushing, 2 interceptions, Hilltop 259 yards rushing.

October 8th, 1993  

HILLTOP 50, Waldron (MI) 18

  • Score: Joseph 3 yard run (Armbruster 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Joseph 33 run (Armbruster kick).
  • Score: Joseph 38 run (Armbruster kick).
  • Score: Joseph pass from Bernath (Armbruster kick).
  • Score: Gerig 56 yard pass from Bernath.
  • Score: Joseph 25 yard fumble return. (Joseph 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Armbruster 31 yard field goal.
  • *Missing score could not be found by time of press.
  • Game: Hilltop 236 rushing yards, 119 yards passing. Joseph 6 TDs, 143 yards rushing. First-ever 6-0 start for Hilltop.

October 15th, 1993

HILLTOP 14, North Adams-Jerome (MI) 6

  • Score: McNeal 26 yard pass from Bernath (Joseph 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Joseph 25 yard pass from Bernath.

October 22nd, 1993  

HILLTOP 44, Camden-Frontier (MI) 0

  • Score: Joseph 76 punt return.
  • Score: Joseph 4 yard run (Bernath 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Bernath yard 1 run (Bernath 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Joseph 1 yard run.
  • Score: Joseph 12 yard run.
  • Score: Walkup 12 yard run (Krotzer pass to Taylor for 2 pt. conversion).
  • *Missing 2 point conversion could not be found by time of press.
  • Game: Joseph 168 yards on 19 carries. Hilltop 225 yards overall.

October 29th, 1993

HILLTOP 22, Tekonsha (MI) 20

  • Score: Joseph 56 yard run (Joseph 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Joseph 47 yard run.
  • Score: Joseph 22 run (Bernath 2 pt. conversion).
  • Game: Hilltop 259 yards rushing.

November 5th, 1993

HILLTOP 28, Ottawa Hills 0

  • Score: Bernath 3 yard run (Bernath 2 pt. conversion).
  • Score: Joseph 39 yard run (Armbruster kick).
  • Score: McNeal 29 yard pass from Bernath (Armbruster kick).
  • Score: Ruihley 1 yard run.
  • Game: Cadets 200 yards rushing, 114 yards passing. Joseph 25 carries for151 rushing yards, 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 publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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