The Hickman football team has a lot to be proud of. The Kewpies hold a perfect 3-0 record for the first time in six years, they are fresh of a 56-7 victory over Smith-Cotton on Friday night and they have picked up a pair of wins in front of their home crowd.
But head coach Arnel Monroe refuses to allow his team to get complacent.
“Everybody out there is happy with what we’ve gotten so far,” Monroe said. “What we’ve gotten so far is what we expected. We want to continue to get better every week, so we can’t be satisfied.”
During Friday’s convincing victory, it was easy for Hickman to lose focus. The Kewpies came out firing, scoring on the first offensive play from scrimmage. Within the first ten minutes of the game, Hickman was on top 28-0 and in complete control of the game.
But then, the team let its foot off the gas pedal, Monroe said.
“When we went up 28-0, we thought we had it,” Monroe said. “We weren’t playing as hard as we need to play. You play football, you better play every down as hard as you can.”
Despite some mental lapses, Monroe was proud of his team’s 56-7 win, which included a milestone night for senior linebacker J’den Cox. Cox, a three-time state champion wrestler, stripped Smith-Cotton quarterback Dakota Brown in the first quarter and showed off his athleticism on the way to the end zone for his first career touchdown.
It was the individual effort he showed later in the quarter that really turned heads. Cox intercepted a pass at the 35-yard line, managed to hurdle away from a would-be tackler and toss another tackler of his back before bursting to his second touchdown of the night.
“Defense is supposed to make turnovers and make plays,” Cox said. “That’s what we did today.”
While Cox was the star of the evening, he says this Hickman team isn’t concerned with individual performances, and it's this attitude that has made this team more successful out of the gate than in recent years.
“We had people that were good on those teams, but we relied on those people so much,” Cox said. “Now it just feels like we’re Hickman. We’re back to purple and gold. We’re united and we’re together."
That unity will come in handy over the next few weeks as the Kewpies get set for three tough opponents in the next three weeks, including rivals Rock Bridge and Jefferson City.
While Monroe is pleased with the effort Hickman has shown to start the season, he knows his team is a long way away from where it wants to be.
“We’re standing at the foot of Mount Everest,” Monroe said. “Everything from here gets tougher and tougher every week. We have to be ready for that.”
Hickman’s next test comes Friday, Sept. 14 at home when they take on Helias, a team that beat the Kewpies 20-13 a season ago.