It was a long time coming for the Rolesville Rams.
Three years into a new football program, they had yet to win on their home soil – until Week 2 of this year’s season.
The Rams hosted a News and Observer-ranked Heritage and displayed early how hungry they were for that first home victory.
Junior E.J. Hicks, a Rolesville two-way player, was essential in the 33-21 victory over the Huskies.
He said he was “just trying to help the team get a win. The win was a big deal. We didn’t care about nothing but the win.”
On the Rams’ first play from scrimmage that night, Hicks completed a 75-yard pass to Colby Cooper on a trick play.
The Huskies drove deep into the Rolesville territory in the second half, when Hicks stepped up on the other side of the ball. He picked off a Huskies pass with 6:26 left in the game for one of his two interceptions.
“They were about to score,” said Hicks, who carried in a 24-yard touchdown run of his own. “I just seen the ball in the air and was like, ‘I have to catch it,’ so I went and caught it.”
Hicks’ touchdown broke up a two-quarter scoring drought for the Rams. The 5-foot-11 wide receiver also caught four passes for 39 yards.
He plays cornerback on defense.
Hicks has been playing football for nearly 10 years. When he saw other people playing the sport, it piqued his interest.
These days, he’s thrilled by the rush of catching a ball or, better yet, scoring a touchdown.
Hicks and Rolesville didn’t stop with the first home victory, as the Rams went on to defeat Enloe in Week 3.
“It was a big connection, because it helped us float into the other game,” Hicks said. “We came out punching them in the face.”
Rolesville hosted Wake Forest, last year’s 4AA runner-up, on Friday.
Before then, there were a few factors motivating the Rams, according to Hicks.
He said, “People doubting us, thinking we suck and all that” and “doing 56 up-downs for losing to Terry Sanford” made the Rams want to win.
After the Heritage victory, Hicks said everyone, from the field to the stands, was simply happy.
“It was very big for us to bring (a home victory) to the community,” he said. “We were very happy. Everybody around the field was happy. (In the locker room after the game) everybody was just running around, playing around and having fun.
“It felt great to win.”
Hicks said members of the student body encouraged the football players to keep pushing toward victories.
“Everybody was happy for us,” he said. “They would say, ‘Keep winning,’ so we’re going to keep it going.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan
About the Athlete of the Week
Name: E.J. Hicks
School: Rolesville High
Sport/Position: Wide receiver and corner back