They will pursue different professions; in sports, one might like Thoroughbred racing and another F1—or maybe not. They may differ on whether Mad Men is more interesting than Iron Chef America; they may get into US v. People feuds.
But there is one aspect of their lives which they will carry with them as binding, an unbreakable part of the unbreakable past, a unifier which won’t release them. And, for now, a release has not been requested.
The Brothers Four—Bryan, Jonathan, Davis, and Cooper Hill all played varsity football for Llano High, and when Cooper plays his final down, an era and a decade on the gridiron for the brethren will end.
“Coach Scott Langley moved up Jonathan to the varsity in the fall of 2004,” recalled Bryan, “and we got to run on the field together. Getting to share my first starts with my brother, the one I had been throwing passes to since we were old enough to walk, is certainly the most memorable of all the experiences I had in the Orange and Black.”
Bryan Hill, a fine quarterback, led the ’04 team to an 8-2 record and a season-ending, 31-21, upset of Wimberley. That was his final contest.
“We all wanted to play football for Llano,” said Jonathan, a center on David Yeager’s first two squads—playoff teams—in 2005-06.
“How about my parents? Jonathan asks. Dennis and Lisa “have been through 24 football seasons, and I don’t think I ever played a game when at least one of them wasn’t there.”
“It’s been a lot of fun,” declared Dennis Hill, the one-time coach, now superintendent for 10 years. “I think Lisa and I have worn out a set of bleachers.” Lisa is a pre-K teacher. “I’m not sure,” Dennis continued, “there’s any stadium or gymnasium within 200 miles of Llano we haven’t been to at least once.”
Russell Rabb is not a member of the family, but he coached all the boys in junior high. “Some things they had in common,” Rabb mentioned, “were that each was highly competitive, full of desire, a good teammate, and they led by example.”
“I loved every minute of it,” says number-three son, Davis, about football. “I loved watching Bryan and Jonathan play; they were my role models, and I wanted to be just like them.”
“Wait just a minute, now!” Who is that yelling over there? Can’t be the mild-mannered, soft-spoken Cooper, or is it?
I asked him if the brothers got along? “Not too much,” he responded. “We had fights and skirmishes; it comes with the territory.” Well, you didn’t expect this saga to play out as Cinderella, did you? And Cooper doesn’t seem too scarred by home life.
Lisa Hill claims: “They’ve grown closer because of football.”
“Cooper was the only brother I got to play with,” Davis advised, and that was a playoff against Wimberley in 2010. “We were both inside linebackers, and it was really special for me, but bittersweet. It was the first time I shared the field with my brother, but the last game I ever played.” Davis graduated in 2011.
“There aren’t many sets of four brothers who play for the same school,” Cooper reminds his interviewer.
“I was motivated by them; you want to be the best.”
“Cooper is my Llano football player of all time,” says Bryan. “He’s the most unselfish player I’ve ever been around.”
Bryan, a 2009 UT graduate, is the defensive backs’ coach at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview.
“Bryan was the best (of the brothers),” insists Jonathan. “He has a real passion for the game.” Jonathan collected his degree from Texas this year, is a resident of Laredo, and is with the oil company, Lewis Energy Group.
Davis works for Haverlah Ranches. “I got to play plenty of football,” he recalls. “It was really a lot of fun, and something that will hold a special place inside of me for the rest of my life.”
So, we’re nearing the end of our story. Who does dad think was the most talented player?
Dennis replies: “I had four sons, but I’ll take the Fifth.”
Lisa Hill: “I am so thankful they share the bond of Llano football; they’ve learned the lessons of life. It’s been a wonderful ride.”