Friday December 27, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
AND THE WINNER IS — Jeremiah Bill, alongside coach Pat Cauley, holds up the Trench trophy he recently won. Photo by Michael Petro.
Hamburg may not be known for its football prowess or rich tradition in the sport, but there is a movement going on within the program to attempt to change that.
Jeremiah Bill has helped jump-start the process, through an individual accomplishment.
The Hamburg senior was recently selected the Trench Trophy winner, as Western New York’s top lineman, at the Lancaster Elks Club in Lancaster. He won in one of the closest votings in the history of the award.
“It was awesome; it’s such an honor,” Bill said. “It actually came as a surprise. As soon as they said [my name], I was like, ‘Wow.’ It was an amazing moment.”
A four-year starter on the offensive line, along with becoming a force in the interior on the defensive line, Bill used his 6-foot-5, 270-pound frame to dominant many of his opponents.
Also selected Second Team All-Western New York, Bill was nominated early on in the season by the Trench Trophy committee, before being named one of 10 finalists for the award, at season’s end.
“I knew I got nominated and I was on their radar to win it,” Bill noted. “It was just a matter of playing well throughout the season and measuring up to all of the hype.”
Hamburg head football coach Pat Cauley said he was proud at not only the way Bill performed, but also the way he’s carried himself. Now the school’s athletic director, Cauley first met Bill teaching the health class the now senior was taking as a sixth grader. Even then, he could tell Bill, who was big for his age at the time, was special.
“I’ve known him since he was little – and I don’t want to say little – in that sixth grade class,” Cauley joked. “It’s just very gratifying to see his growth into a young man. He’s made us very proud, not just that he won it, but how he won it – he was very humble. At the ceremony, he gave credit to his teammates and coaches and mentioned what an honor it was for our school and community.”
Bill said that he is proud of what this award means to the school community and what he hopes will be a burgeoning football program. The Bulldogs finished 4 – 5, winning three of their last five games.
“I’ve learned to be a leader and take the advice that coaches like coach Cauley have given me throughout the years to be a great leader and be humble and do everything for my team,” Bill said.
He said that he has also learned that hard work is a necessity to get to the next level. So, as soon as last year’s basketball season ended, Bill said he worked on his strength and getting faster and more explosive. He also worked on technique with Mike Guzda, on assistant coach with Hamburg.
“I really honed in on my technique this year, with my strength and conditioning coach,” Bill noted. “I feel like working on my technique and strength is really what helped me get better.”
Cauley has told college coaches calling to inquire about Bill that the senior still has his best football ahead of him. Bill said he is hoping to play in college and has interest in schools such as the University of Rochester, Cornell and the University at Buffalo.
“You don’t see many high school lineman at the caliber of Jeremy,” Cauley said. “Coach Guzda and [former head varsity] coach [Mike] McFadden have done an outstanding job with him throughout the years. I still believe that his best football is ahead of him, when he can just focus on the offensive side of the ball and continue to get stronger, quicker and more explosive.”
Bills’ head football coach added that these type of individual awards are treated as team honors and shed a little more light on the positives of Hamburg’s athletic program. And Bill is totally on board with that, Cauley said.
“I’m very proud that it’s great for my team and school, as well,” Bill said. “As a team, I feel we may not have had the best record, but every single game we were in and we fought until the end and I feel like that’s going to lead into next year. They’re going to be good. I feel great about being able to come back and watch them play, next year.”