Justice Hill Wins 2018 Landers Award

Little Rock Christian quarterback Justice Hill received the prestigious Landers Award Wednesday night. The final vote was one of the narrowest margins in the 19-year history of the award.

The Landers Award, honoring the top high school football player in the state, has often been referred to as the “Heisman of Arkansas High School Football.” The winner receives a trophy, signature Jostens ring, and a $3,000 scholarship towards their school.

Channel 7’s Steve Sullivan presented Hill with the award on a 30 minute special Wednesday night live on KATV. The other 12 finalists were also honored with plaques.

Hill helped lead the Warriors to their first 5A state title, upsetting four-time defending state champion Pulaski Academy. He is committed to play basketball for the Razorbacks. However, when asked during the ceremony if he may play football for Arkansas, he simply said, “stay tuned.”

Past winners of the Landers Award include De’Arrius Howard (West Memphis, 2000), Reed McKinney (Warren, 2001), Landon Leach (Russellville, 2002), Peyton Hillis (Conway, 2003), Darren McFadden (Oak Grove, 2004), Damien Williams (Springdale, 2005), A.J. Whitmore (Nashville, 2006), Tyler Wilson (Greenwood, 2007), Spencer Keith (Pulaski Academy, 2008), Michael Dyer (Little Rock Christian, 2009), Brandon Allen (Fayetteville, 2010), Fredi Knighten (Pulaski Academy, 2011), Drew Morgan (Greenwood, 2012), Zach Launius (Cabot, 2013), Ty Storey (Greenwood, 2014), LaDarius Skelton (Pine Bluff, 2015), Taylor Powell (Fayetteville, 2016), and Connor Noland (Greenwood, 2017).

This year, more than 20 newspaper reporters and TV and radio broadcasters statewide were given the opportunity to cast a vote.

Stuttgart’s Mills Bethea was presented with the Paul Eells Award. Despite his injury, the senior wide receiver acted as both a trainer and coach for the 9-2 Ricebirds. He even helped care for a teammate who tore his ACL, providing him with a place to recover for more than a week.

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