If someone knows perseverance, it’s Hillcrest senior Balor Reilly.
If someone is the best boys soccer player in all of District 6, it’s also Balor Reilly.
After a successful senior season — in which the Knights’ quick, powerful forward scored 17 goals en route to helping the newly-classification changed 4A school finish runner-up in the state tournament — Reilly was selected by local coaches as the High Country Conference Player of the Year.
He was also selected to first-team honors for the All-Idaho selections.
Well, Reilly can add another accolade for his senior year: 2018 Post Register All-Area Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
“He absolutely savaged us in every game we played,” Blackfoot coach Liam Pope said of Reilly. “We played Hillcrest three times, and Balor murdered us three times. Simply murdered us.”
From the naked eye’s perspective, it’s hard to deny the choice. Coaches lauded Reilly’s ability to attack back lines with speed, steady-but-aggressive ball control and raw athleticism.
Hillcrest coach Ryan Ellis said Reilly is “one of those athletes you don’t see often, maybe every eight or nine years.”
“He’s dangerous to any back line,” Idaho Falls coach Ryan Cook said. “When he’s not scoring goals, he’s making chances for his teammates. He’s smart, and he’s unselfish.”
Statistically and from a historic perspective, Reilly helped the Knights’ boys soccer program to its best finish in school history. The Knights finished 16-2-3, including a nine-match win-streak to help them win their third district title.
Reilly — a four-year varsity player — never received a yellow card, Ellis said.
He accomplished these accolades while overcoming two injuries. His first was during his junior season, an MCL tear that sidelined him late during his third year with Hillcrest. His second happened two games into his final season, a strained right quad, which forced him out of four to five games before the senior played through the injury.
Reilly said he had sharp pain in his right quad whenever he sprinted or tried to perform a hard shot. He’s still recovering from the injury, he said.
The injuries didn’t stop Reilly, however.
“Form the start, we knew what our goal was, it was a state championship. That’s where we wanted to be,” Reilly said. “We knew we had the team to get there, it was just a matter of executing. ... I just try my best to hustle because hustle makes up for what skill doesn’t. That’s what I try to do every game: hustle as much as I can and then, the rest kind of falls into place.”
”He’s the best example of perseverance,” Ellis said of his senior captain.
Reilly said he will most likely serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints before deciding on his future. He said Spokane Community College had been in touch with him, but he’d rather serve a mission.
No matter where Reilly goes in the future, he’s had a season to remember for Hillcrest.
”I’m just trying to be the best soccer player I can be,” Reilly said. “I just want to say thanks to the team and coaches ‘cause we wouldn’t have made it without everyone.”