Hicks brings humility, work ethic to CHHS

Published 3:00 am Friday, August 9, 2019

By Dan Smith

When you walk through the front gate on a high school football Friday night, in the center of any souvenir program is the name of every player, their height, weight, grade, positions, but nowhere does it list heart, grit, work ethic, and those intangibles that can allow a young man to excel.

Barton Hicks remembers when he was a sixth grader and the water boy for Charles Henderson High School varsity football, and he knew he wanted one day to be on that field, playing the game he had come to love.

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For CHHS head football coach Brad McCoy, the senior long snapper and tight end is a classic example of how work ethic, attitude and tenacity can prevail.

“Barton is a great, humble, hard working kid,” said Coach McCoy. “He is a player that has not been the guy in the limelight. He was not always the starter on either side of the ball. He just has worked every year, and finally coming into the fall of his junior year, he started showing more and more traits to where we could believe that we could win with a guy like this.

“He is a guy that I lean on. He is invaluable. He is priceless. You don’t put a value on a guy like that. You just know that if you don’t have him, you are in a world of hurt.”

A long snapper is a special teams specialist whose duty is to snap the football over a longer distance, typically around 15 yards during punts, and 7–8 yards during field goals and extra point attempts.

Hicks, now a 6-3, 185 pound senior, remembers when he was lacking in size, but today he fills out his uniform and holds his own as the starting long snapper and tight end.

“I am not the biggest in the world, I am not the smallest, I am average,” said Hicks. “I just do my best and I go hard and go 100-percent every play. Working out is 12 months of the year. It’s really time consuming. I know some guys that have hated it, but now they miss it. The work sucks sometimes, but the outcome you get is life changing. You will never regret it ever. I was about to quit my freshman year. I was this close until my dad said don’t do it, stick it out, and he said he promised it would get better. I thank him for that every day. I would not be the person who I am now.”

Hicks has worked relentlessly to improve his craft. As a sophomore he only had one bad snap that sailed over the head of the punter. Last year, as a junior, he was good on 115 snaps without a mistake. While he excels in that skillset, Coach McCoy also recognizes talents off the field as well.

“He does not question anything,” said McCoy. “He is also contagious in the locker room and in the meeting rooms. He sees when it is time to lock in and focus, and he is a prime example of how to do it. The other guys see that, and it helps the locker room, meeting room and weight room.”

This summer Hicks has been attending a number of football camps in hopes of being the best he can for the Trojans, and hopefully earning the opportunity to play football beyond graduation.

As the Trojans conclude their first week of fall practices, he and his teammates, especially the senior class, believe this could be a special year.

“The chemistry is close,” said Hicks. “They are almost like blood brothers to me. Ever since I got here in the fourth grade I have been in classes with them, including in eighth grade when we went 8-1, and we know what it feels like to win, and what it takes to win. The attitude is you have got to knock them out first before they get to you, and don’t quit, and don’t stop fighting. I love my class. The class of 2020, I hope we can really be the difference to this school.

“I grew up watching blue trophies getting held up at Prattville, and I feel like it is our time to hold one up as players. If anyone doubts this team, well, they better think again because Charles Henderson has changed. We know how to win and we will win. We’re going to make something out of this season. I am not guaranteeing a state championship – that will come – but just the sheer attitude and will to win has changed so much. It’s going to be a fun season to watch.”