Hilgendorf, 36, takes the reins of Mascoutah with an impressive CV. He has spent the last five years at Watseka High, not far from where he grew up on the family farm in Donovan. In his five seasons, Watseka went 28-19 and qualified for the playoffs in each of his first four seasons. This spring the Warriors went 4-2 and there was no state playoffs.
During Hilgendorf’s brief tenure, he helped reshape Watseka’s record book as the Warriors tied the school record for wins in one season with seven (two) and set a new mark for most. consecutive appearances in the playoffs.
“I am proud of what we have done at Watseka,” said Hilgendorf. “I can’t say enough about the people and the kids.”
Hilgendorf’s football education took place primarily in northern and northeastern Illinois. He spent three years leading the triple option as a quarterback for the Tri-Point / Donovan Co-op. He had a few opportunities to play in NCAA Division III schools, but chose to try and walk to Eastern Illinois University. During conversations with the coaching staff, they realized that he was planning on becoming a coach. They had a student assistant coach job open which made more sense.
Hilgendorf put the ball down, picked up his notebook and began an in-depth hands-on learning with the coaching staff, led by legendary EIU skipper Bob Spoo.