Player Profile: Hunter Hall bringing explosiveness, consistency

Published 6:14 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2017

It’s not a good sign for a team when its best player on a Friday night is its punter. That was the case for Washington this past weekend when 1-A powerhouse Tarboro steamrolled the Pam Pack, 48-0, in its home opener.

Washington’s offense went the entire first half without getting a first down, meaning it called upon punter Hunter Hall to make more plays than anyone else. Hall made the first big play of the game when he booted the ball 45 yards, pinning Tarboro on its own 2-yard line.

“In a game where you have to punt it often, unfortunately your punter becomes your best player on the field,” head coach Jon Blank said. “Hunter played well. He got off some booming punts. And, even one time, I thought he outkicked his coverage. … Hunter has punted the ball well for us this year.”

Hall has put a lot of extra work into becoming a better punter. He said he’s been spending about half an hour before practices concentrating on just punting. His mindset when punting is a simple one: put his cleat to the pigskin and hope for the best.

“Sometimes I don’t know where it’s going to go. I just pretty much kick it, and hopefully it goes down the field,” Hall said. “I’m just trying to get it as far down the field as I can.”

Hunter Hall hands the ball off to Ganeryan Parker late in Friday’s game.

Early in the second quarter, Hall’s second attempt at punting the ball away pushed the Vikings back another 40 yards. He did more than his fair share of work to help the Pam Pack defense by giving it favorable field position, but Tarboro was still able to march down the field time and again.

It may not have been the case against Tarboro, but that kind of performance on special teams can be the difference in a close game.

The junior specialist also serves as the top backup to senior quarterback Frederick Holscher. Hall got to relieve Holscher when the game was all but finished. He took a few snaps on Washington’s last drive before the buzzer sounded.

Instead of being intimidated by the massive Tarboro defensive linemen standing opposite him, he was excited for the opportunity.

“It felt pretty good. It was my first time getting in, and hopefully I’ll see more,” he said.

Even though Holscher has a firm grasp on the starting role this season, Blank said he wants to reach a point this year where he can rotate between him and Hall.

“That’s to give him a chance to get live reps against another team, a quality team, late in the game. Obviously, you wish that you can get to a game where you can rotate them in and out,” Blank said. “We’d like to do that at some point this year. Right now, Hunter is getting his reps when he can. He’s doing fine.”

If nothing else, the intention is to look to the future. After this season, Hall should be in position to fight current sophomore junior-varsity quarterback Tripp Pippin for the starting role in 2018. If Hall can run the offense nearly as well as he punts the ball, the Pam Pack should have a lot to look forward to.