CAMP POINT, Ill. (WGEM) -- While the Central/Southeastern football program was changing it's culture, one thing remained constant -- Derrick Hull.
Tabbed the starting quarterback his sophomore year, Hull led the maturation process of his team from a 3-6 record to this year's 7-3 record.
Hull and his teammates gave Panther fans something to cheer for on a weekly basis.
"I'd say more people would come up to you after games and tell you 'Good job,'" said The People's Choice for WGEM High School Football Player of the Year.
"(Fans) were really impressed because the program was getting turned around and we were winning more ball games and definitely more people were coming out to watch."
The senior signal caller single-handedly racked up over 1,200 total yards of offense this season, throwing for over eight hundred and rushing for over four hundred. As Derrick's confidence grew, the team's confidence also grew.
"The (offensive) line, they would allow more time so I really wasn't worried about what the defense was doing then and I'd just look down field for receivers," he said. "It gets more upbeat tempo going and receivers are having fun, obviously because they're catching the ball and the linemen like to pass block so everyone's happy."
The C/SE coaching staff, led by Bill Reed, saw confidence in Derrick and trusted his football instincts. They wanted players to emulate his persistent work ethic.
"I think Derrick developed his leadership qualities for the team through the summer," said the team's defensive coordinator Brad Dixon.
"Anytime you can get your quarterback, and probably one of your best players to have 100% weight room attendance and 100% at all of our seven-on-sevens, says a lot about his character. It was real easy for our players to buy into his leadership when you see the time he put in."
According to head coach Bill Reed, "By the way he handled himself on the field I could see he was the leader of that group, and that was important to me, because I needed coming in to be able to rely on kids with his qualities and his abilities on the field, to be able to change the mental aspect of our game."
With over 3,200 votes to his name it's evident the impact Derrick has made in the C/SE community. He and his fellow seniors made an even bigger impact on their head coach.
"It makes you feel special that you're part of this program," said Reed holding back tears.
"You know when you have 18 seniors go through two years with you, it makes it tough to say good bye."
Hull added, "The community, obviously the football season didn't go as way as planned, but them getting on there and voting really meant a lot, and that's how they expressed the football season."