Preparing to Soar in 6A

You play one of us, you play all of us


Alex Thomas

During the second quarter of the game against Justen Northwest, Sophomore Quarterback Kevin Sperry aligns his throw to the running back. “I’m very excited, and I’m ready to showcase all my skills and lead the team to a lot of wins and a lot of success,” Sperry said.

Jacob Turner, Staff

Because of the near 300 student enrollment growth in the opening of the 2022-2023 school year, Rock Hill moves from 5A to 6A in alignment with UIL classifications.

A main difference between 5A and 6A is the competition level in sports, but for the new head Coach Mark Wilkinson it just represents the number of kids in the building.

“Football is still football. Eleven guys in offense, 11 guys on defense, Wilkinson said. “You still got a lineup to play football.”

The Varsity Football team now must play against Prosper High School, Allen and Denton Guyer, whose teams have previously won state championships for football.

“It’s a very competitive district,” Wilkinson said. “It’s got a lot of good football teams, including us.”

Wilkinson’s goal for the program this year is to have a team GPA of 3.0, qualify for the playoffs and create a culture where every athlete is valued.

“I’m very blessed to be the head football coach here,” Wilkinson said.

The New and Improved Blue Hawks

The coaching staff adjusted training tactics to prepare for the new challenges this year.

“We start the morning with weights, and then we would have our offseason in the afternoon. A lot of our players also run track on the side,” Wilkinson said. “They do a lot of stuff on their own.”

Even though the transition between the former coaching staff and Wilkinson’s staff was challenging for the players, players adapted to his ideas and mindsets to help them excel at the next level.

“I think the transition was initially tough,” Wilkinson said, “because any time you have to bring in new coaches, there’s always a learning curve because everybody has to be used to a new style.”

The Star Quarterback
Kevin Sperry is the new quarterback for the varsity football team this season. Last year, he played quarterback on the JV team and his coach, Derek Thompson, helped him learn his plays.

Although Sperry has only played against 5A schools, he feels assured about playing teams in 6A.

“Everything’s moving a little bit faster,” Sperry said. “But I’ve gotten used to it.”

Even though training for varsity is more mentally and physically challenging than JV, Sperry feels training with the other varsity players helps Rock Hill succeed.

“I feel pretty confident,” Sperry said. “Everyone on the team feels confident about their own abilities too.”

Blue Hawk Paths
Senior Matt Wagner is a varsity tight end this year. Wagner has played for Rock Hill since his sophomore year and previously played for Prosper.

“It was smooth for me,” Wagner said. “[The] coaches were so kind, and they understood, helped me and put me in the best scenario to win on and off the field.”

Wagner believes that going to 6A will benefit Rock Hill by challenging them.

“The competition is higher, and it’s going to raise the school to a better standard,” Wagner said. “And it’s definitely going to put the school on the map.”

Wagner also acknowledges that the coaches work in the players’ best interests.

“How awesome the coaches are and how they’ve been so accepting of me,” Wagner said, “and putting us in the best scenario to win on the field and then making us better men off the field—a lot of appreciation to the coaches.”


The next game is on Friday, Sept. 2, at Children’s Health Stadium at 7 p.m.