Hickman transfer thrives on the football field

Thursday, September 29, 2011 | 10:56 p.m. CDT; updated 12:15 a.m. CDT, Friday, September 30, 2011
Hickman High School defensive lineman Alonzo Thorpe practices on Thursday afternoon. Friday's game against Rockhurst will be the senior's second of the season because of athletic association rules that require a player to practice 14 times before playing in a game.

COLUMBIA — In order to better their situations, some people opt for a fresh start. A fresh start can be anything — a new job, a new relationship, maybe even a new city. 

In Alonzo Thorpe's case, it was a new school. Thorpe was having trouble with distractions and a lack of focus at Rock Bridge High School that resulted in Thorpe transferring to Hickman High School for his senior year.

"I figured out that focusing at Rock Bridge wasn’t going to help me," Thorpe said. "Classes are really long, and I have a short attention span. I don't admit that often, but it's true. I thought that coming here would be a big difference. You know, new people. I didn’t know anybody here, and I thought it would be good to focus on my school here. There I had a lot of friends and a lot of distractions."

So Thorpe moved in with his mother in the Hickman school district. Then, once school started earlier this fall, Thorpe began to think about football. Last season, he played defensive line for Rock Bridge. After a little bit of persuasion, he decided he would go out for the Kewpies' team.

"The coaches were persuading me to play, and I missed it, so I came out here and gave it a try," Thorpe said.

The state association requires each football player to practice at least 14 times before they can play. Because of his late start, last week's game at Helias High School was Thorpe's first of the season.

"I loved it," Thorpe said. "I had a lot of enthusiasm, and I wanted to play. I was ready to hit somebody, you know?"

Hickman coach Arnel Monroe said he is just pleased that Thorpe finally came out to practice. Monroe has him starting on both the defensive and offensive lines this Friday against Rockhurst. 

"He's a big, physical, athletic kid," Monroe said. "He has helped shore up the defensive line. He's never played offense, so we're trying to get him on the offensive line."

Monroe and Thorpe have gotten along well from the start. Not that Thorpe didn't get along with Rock Bridge coach A.J. Odofile, but Thorpe said he appreciates his relationship with Monroe.

"I think Monroe is a good coach. I think he really loves his players a lot," Thorpe said. "I think Odofile is a great coach too, and I respect him, but there is just something about Monroe that I like a lot."

Since moving over to the north side of Columbia, Thorpe has started to make friends at a school where he knew no one. He had to say goodbye to friends and teammates at Rock Bridge, but his new teammates have taken a liking to him.

"They really like it," Thorpe said of his teammates. "They think it's a really good thing for me to come here and help them out."

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