Hill's Return Aids Onsted Playoff Climb

November 22, 2019

By Doug Donnelly
Special for Second Half

ONSTED – Travis Hill only played in three games for the Onsted football team last season.

But it was those three games that helped pave the way for the senior to rush for more than 1,300 yards and help the Wildcats reach this weekend’s Division 6 Semifinals.

Hill broke his collarbone at practice the Wednesday before Onsted’s season opener in 2018.

“They told me I wouldn’t be back that season,” Hill said. “I recovered quick, I guess.”

Hill’s competitive drive put him on the fast track. He was back on the field for the final three games of the season. The Wildcats finished 3-6 on the year, but Hill’s return was important.

“It was pretty difficult (to come back),” Hill said. “But, those three games helped me be mentally prepared. … The first couple of plays, I was hesitant. But ever since then, I’ve felt good and confident in it.”

Last football season wasn’t the first time Hill had to miss time from the court or field. He broke the same collarbone during his sophomore basketball season. He was one of the key players on Brad Maska’s varsity hoops team when he went down with the injury.

“Travis is as competitive as any athlete I’ve ever coached, and I’ve coached a lot of really competitive guys,” said Maska. “He’s one of those rare athletes who could be all-state in baseball, all-state in basketball and all-state in football. He works hard and has a lot of drive.”

A healthy Hill has paid huge dividends for the Wildcats football team. Onsted started this season 2-0, slipped to 2-2 and hasn’t lost since. Two playoff wins avenged the Wildcats’ two regular-season losses – against Blissfield and Lenawee County Athletic Association champion Hillsdale.

“It’s been great and so much fun,” Hill said.

“We had a hot start, and then lost two games in a row. We could have either went up north and played really well, or we could have went south. We decided to get our stuff together and play well as a team. We’ve been playing pretty well since then.”

Hill has been a big reason why.

Through the Regional Final win over Hillsdale, Hill has 186 carries for 1,312 yards on the ground and another 23 receptions for 390 yards receiving. He has rushed for 14 touchdowns, caught four passes for touchdowns and returned a kick for a score.

On defense, he has 52 tackles, four interceptions and a forced fumble. He returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown.

He seldom takes a play off.

“He’s very talented but, more than that, it’s his competitive spirit,” Onsted coach Dan Terryberry said. “He just wants to win so bad. He’s explosive and doesn’t want to be denied.”

The Wildcats will face Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central in their Division 6 Semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ypsilanti Lincoln High School. For Onsted, this has been the deepest run in the playoffs since Hill’s uncles – including one of the most prolific passers in Lenawee County history John Hutchinson – led the Wildcats to the 1993 Class CC championship game.

Hill isn’t the only 1,000-yard back in the Wildcats’ backfield. Terryberry also leans heavily on Rourke Barth (1,025 yards). Junior quarterback Dylan Terryberry has more than 1,000 yards passing.

Coach Terryberry credits the Wildcats offensive line for much of the success.

“This is the first year that line has played all together, and a couple of them are playing new positions,” said Coach Terryberry. “They have grown a lot this season. They’ve bought in and are playing well.”

Dylan Stevens is one of those linemen. He’s a senior, like Hill, and is glad to have his classmate back for this season.

“It’s made a huge difference,” Stevens said. “Travis is an outstanding athlete on both sides of the ball. Not having him last year hurt us quite a bit.”

Terryberry, in his 16th season as Onsted’s head coach, is from Charlevoix. A former high school quarterback, he walked on at Michigan State. He started teaching and coaching at Tecumseh, where he served as offensive coordinator for the varsity football team and as the junior varsity head coach.

Having Hill play in those three games at the end of the 2018 season, Terryberry said, put any fears about the injury to rest.

“He’s pretty fearless and super competitive,” Terryberry said.

Hill has had numerous big games. He had 190 yards rushing against Dundee, and more than 175 against Blissfield in the first round of the playoffs. The Onsted faithful are hoping for at least one more big game Saturday against the Falcons (10-1), who were the No. 1-ranked team in the final regular-season Associated Press poll.

“It’s been a great experience so far, and we hope we aren’t done yet,” Hill said. “… I think it’s a mindset. We’ve played well. We knew we had the opportunity; if we put the work in, we could just keep going and keep going farther.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at DougDonnelly@hotmail.com with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTO: Onsted's Travis Hill (No. 5) rushed for more than 1,300 yards this season, a year after missing six games due to breaking his collarbone. (Photo courtesy of Onsted Athletics/T.J. Olsen.)

Lawrence's Schuman Sets Example for Well-Rounded Success

By Pam Shebest
Special for MHSAA.com

December 14, 2022

LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.

Southwest Corridor“We don’t want to lose this kid ever,” said Derek Gribler, the Tigers’ first-year varsity football and baseball coach.

“If we could put a red shirt on this kid every year, we would.”

Athletic director John Guillean, who also coaches varsity basketball, agreed.

“He is what we strive to have all our student-athletes achieve: high GPAs, multi-sport athletes, good, overall well-rounded human beings,” Guillean said.

Schuman has participated in five of the seven boys sports Lawrence sponsors.

As a freshman and sophomore, Schuman played football, wrestled, ran track and played baseball.

He had wrestled since he was 4, and went from the 119-pound weight class as a freshman to 145 the following year. That sophomore season he qualified for his Individual Regional. But as a junior, he traded wrestling for basketball.

“My older brother wrestled at Lawrence, so I would come to practices,” he said. “I quit for a couple years (in middle school) because I liked basketball, too. It was hard to do both. Obviously, in high school, I still struggled with choosing,” he added, laughing.

John GuilleanGuillean is thrilled Schuman made the switch.

“He’s 6-(foot-)4, he’s super athletic, defensively he’s a hawk, offensively he can put the ball in the bucket. But really, aside from his skills, just that positive attitude and that positive outlook, not just in a game, but in life in general, is invaluable,” the coach said.

Last season, Schuman earned honorable mention all-league honors in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference, averaging 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Lawrence left the BCS for the Southwest 10 Conference this year, joining Bangor, Bloomingdale, Hartford, Decatur, Comstock, Marcellus, Mendon, Centreville, White Pigeon and Cassopolis. Schuman and senior Tim Coombs will co-captain the Tigers, with Guillean rotating in a third captain.

At a school of fewer than 200 students, Schuman will help lead a varsity team with just nine – joined by seniors Andy Bowen and Gabe Gonzalez, juniors Christian Smith, Noel Saldana, Ben McCaw and Zander Payment, and sophomore Jose Hernandez, who will see time with the junior varsity as well using the fifth-quarter rule.

“I attribute a lot of (last year’s successful transition) to my coach, helping me get ready because it wasn’t so pretty,” the senior said. “But we got into it, got going, and my teammates helped me out a lot.”

Great anticipation

Gribler is one coach already looking ahead to spring sports after seeing what Schuman did during football season.

In spite of missing 2½ games with an injury, the wide receiver caught 50 receptions for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“I just like the ability to run free, get to hit people, let out some anger,” Schuman laughed.

Derek GriblerGribler said the senior is “an insane athlete.

“On top of his athletic ability, how smart he is in the classroom (3.88 GPA), he helped mold the culture we wanted this year for football. He got our underclassmen the way we wanted them. He was a big asset in many ways.”

Schuman earned all-conference honors for his on-field performance in football as well.

“I would say that my main sport is football,” the senior said. “That’s the one I like the most, spend the most time on.”

In the spring, Schuman competed in both track and baseball, earning all-conference honors in both.

“Doing both is tough,” he said. “I have to say my coaches make it a lot easier for me. They help me a lot and give me the ability to do both, so I really appreciate that.

“Throughout the week you’re traveling every day, it seems like. Baseball twice a week and track, but it’s worth it.”

Schuman’s commitment is so strong that he made a special effort not to let his teammates down last spring.

“He qualified for state in the long jump and did his jumps up in Grand Rapids, then he drove all the way to Kalamazoo to play in the District baseball game,” Guillean said. “That speaks volumes about who this kid is. He did his jumps at 9 a.m. (but did not advance) and made it back to Kalamazoo for a 12:15 game.”

Big shoes to fill

As the youngest of four children of Mark and Gretchen Schuman, the senior was following a family tradition in sports.

Oldest brother Matthew played football, basketball and baseball as well as competed in pole vault and wrestling.

Middle bother Christopher competed in football, wrestling and baseball.

Sister Stephanie played basketball, volleyball and softball.

“I like to say they blazed a pretty good trail for me at this high school,” Schuman said.

As for feeling pressure to live up to his siblings, “I used to when I was younger, but now I feel like I’ve made my own way and done enough things to be proud of that I’m happy with it.”

His own way led him to achieve something none of the others did.

He was named the Tigers’ Male Athlete of the Year, just the third junior to earn the boys honor over the last 25 years.

“I was very honored to win that as a junior,” Schuman said. “There were good athletes in the grade above me. I guess hard work pays off.”

Guillean said while Schuman is “darn good at every sport here,” an athlete does not have to be a “top dog” in every sport.

“Learn how to take a back seat,” he said. “Learn how to be a role player. That will make you a better teammate and a well-rounded human being.

“Johnny has that work ethic, in the classroom, on the field, on the court, on the track. It doesn’t go unnoticed and, obviously, he’s reaping the benefits now.”

Pam ShebestPam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at pamkzoo@aol.com with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Lawrence’s John Schuman has participated in five varsity sports during his first 3½ years of high school. (Middle) Lawrence athletic director John Guillean. (Below) Lawrence football and baseball coach Derek Gribler. (Action photos courtesy of John Schuman; head shots by Pam Shebest.)