By Otis Kirk
Future Arkansas basketball player Justice Hill helped lead Little Rock Christian to a 52-38 victory over Pulaski Academy on Sunday afternoon in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.
The win allowed Little Rock Christian to capture the Class 5A state championship. The game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but bad weather forced the game to be moved to today.
Hill, who has signed with Mike Anderson’s basketball team and will enroll at midterm, was named the game’s MVP. He finished completing 12 of 25 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns with one interception while also rushing 15 times for 112 yards and two scores.
The Bruins led 31-21 at intermission and 14-0 early in the game. Hill and his teammates were deterred from that though.
“We have been dealing with adversity throughout the playoffs,” Hill said. “I knew it was gonna be adversity when the first series happened and the ball slipped out of my hand. I threw an interception, but we don’t want anything easy. We want to fight back the hard way. It was just all God’s plan I say.”
Trailing 6-0, Hill dropped back to pass on first-and-10 play at his own 49. The ball slipped out and Chris Connell intercepted. The Bruins marched down the field to take a 14-0 lead with 5:43 remaining in the first quarter.
However, Hill quickly redeemed himself. On Little Rock Christian’s next possession, he found Michael Loggins for a 45-yard touchdown. In the second half it seemed as if the Bruins had no answer for Hill. At halftime, Little Rock Christian had four first downs to 19 for the Bruins and 112 yards of total offense to 379 for Pulaski Academy
Since Hill will enroll at Arkansas in a few weeks this was his last time to wear the Little Rock Christian uniform. He talked about what it meant delivering a state championship in his final game.
“It’s incredible,” Hill said. “I have been telling them we were gonna win a state championship since the day I came out for football. It happened and it’s incredible knowing I am gonna be in Fayetteville in 17 days.
“I’m just thankful. I’m blessed. I give all the glory to God and my teammates putting me in this position to be successful.”
How much will you miss football at Arkansas?
“I will miss football a lot,” Hill said. “But you never know, I may go out for spring football next year.”
Fitz Hill is a former very successful college football coach including an assistant at Arkansas. Hill talked about how much influence his father has had on not just his athletic career, but life.
“My dad is in the center of everything I do in my life,” Hill said. “You know that man. He’s an incredible person. It got me where I’m at today.”
Few people outside of your locker room gave you guys much of a chance to win this game. Talk about the second half you guys just played to win this. Little Rock Christian outscored the Bruins 31-7 in the second half on Sunday.
“That what we said in the tunnel before we came out,” Hill said. “We knew we were gonna face adversity, but if everyone stayed the course the better team would win. We thought we were the better team. We came out on top. We fought through adversity all year.”
Little Rock Christian fell 56-14 to the Bruins on Sept. 28, but Hill and some others didn’t play in that game.
“I was hurt being out there watching them lose knowing I transferred from PA in the fifth grade,” Hill said. “All those guys I know. They have been my classmates so just coming out being able to play them against a different team was incredible. I’m glad I got the opportunity to do it.”
Hill, a point guard in basketball, took his leadership from the hardcourt to the gridiron this year.
“Just being able to lead my team,” Hill said. “I have an incredible influence behind the center. All the big plays spark my teammates even more. I know my teammates just give me one more stop and we were gonna win. That’s what they did.
“Point guard and quarterback are very complimentary of each other. Quarterback is more of a lead role I think because there’s 10 other guys out there instead of four. You have to be more of a vocal leader, but it’s the same thing in basketball being an extension of the coach on the court and the field.”
Hill asked his defense for one stop, but they actually came up with five turnovers as well. They picked off four Pulaski Academy passes and recovered a fumble.
“That’s incredible,” Hill said. “That’s the best they’ve played all year. Hands down to the coach and defense that’s why we won the game.”
Little Rock Christian finished the season 13-1. Pulaski Academy ended up 12-2.