It's a Fall Saturday afternoon for Jerry Hickson and the St. Francis football team as they prepare to take on Cardinal O'Hara in a conference showdown.
For the past four years, the senior has taken his post under center and marched the Red Raiders down the field. But these drives and their game is anything but typical. There is an added buzz in the air.
Hickson is marching toward high school immortality, needing only 167 yards to pass former Williamsville South star Joe Licata for the most passing yards in Western New York history.
"Ever since I was a freshman coming in and playing with all the big boys, kind of nervous," Hickson said. "They took me under their wing and ever since then I took on more of a leadership role and then my sophomore year it was like a family. A new year, a new family."
As fans waited patiently for the record to be tied or broken, Hickson continued to lead the Red Raiders down the field and to a 13-0 lead to open the game.
"He'd come up and I'd ask him, 'you know what you got? I had no idea. Who knows, who cares. And at that the time, it's what it's all about," Head Coach Jerry Smith said.
The historic moment would come with just seconds left in the first half. A quick pass to Dylan McDuffie for a 12-yard gain.
Unbeknownst to him, with one throw, he had become Western New York's all-time leading passer, eclipsing one of the best to ever throw a pigskin.
"I found out from the announcer," Hickson said. "As soon as that happened I went to my lineman and gave them all big hugs. Without them, I wouldn't be able to do this. Same with the receivers. Yeah, my name goes up in the record books, but honestly, it's the team's records."
"It's special," McDuffie said. "It doesn't happen often. It's good to be a part of it."
"Joe Licata is a great role model for Western New York and for football," the senior added. "To get my name up there with his in the same category, it's great."
"Jerry is just a great young man. To have this type of quality individual break a record of another quality individual, it's just fantastic," Smith said. "Good things happen to good people."
Hickson finished the game with 292 passing yards pushing his career total to 6,797 yards. More importantly, in his own words, St. Francis earned the win.
"You'll be able to remember this game and then 20 years from now look at back think what a great time," he said. "Homecoming game, set a record, it's great."
Super 7 Countdown
#1 – Jerry Hickson, St. Francis High School
With 292 yards passing in a win over Cardinal O’Hara, he passed Joe Licata on WNY’s all-time passing chart with 6,797 yards.
#2 - Madisyn Pezzino, Grand Island soccer
Set state record for most goals in a career with 237. She currently has 57 goals this season.
“Every season Madisyn has come back with something she has added to her game, her work ethic has always been second to none, she highly values her teammates and the team’s success. As talented a player as she is on the field, the person she is off the field out shadows that. She is the first to prepare for a game, both personally as well as taking care of the teams needs such as equipment, and encouraging her teammates. All of her success is due to the hard work she has put in with physical training, practice, and game preparation. All of the awards she has won, and goals/ milestones she has reached such as this state record she has truly earned, including her opportunities that are about to become reality as she goes to play at Florida State next season. The one thing that can never be overlooked is her value and love for her team and teammates she has played for and within her career. She is a very special player and person, the type that doesn't come around often, and the type you need to appreciate when you have an opportunity to be part of a career like hers.” – Dave Bowman, Head Coach
#3 – Aiden Shaw, Orchard Park Golf
Won the ECIC Individual golf title at Sheridan Park firing a 75
#4 – Hope Balling, Tonawanda Soccer
Set the Warriors school record for goals with 102 in a win over Eden.
“Hope breaking the school's goal record in just her junior year is a testament to all of the hard work she has put in over the last 5 years. She continues to evolve and improve, and her performance this season has been incredible. She is the type of player you can always count on to come up big for her team. She just always finds a way. Hope is a very selfless player who genuinely cares about her teammates and the team's success as a whole, which is why she is also one our team captains.” - Angela Nicholas-Tolsma, Head Coach
#5 – Ty Phillips, Cleveland Hill Football
Scored a touchdown and converted the extra point attempt in Cleveland Hill’s 8-6 win over Medina.
“Tyler's performance last Saturday was indicative of his hard work and the character traits he shows every day. His leadership has been a major component of our success this season." – Glen Graham, Head Coach
#6 – Bella Devine, Maryvale Soccer
Scored six goals in the Flyer 10-1 win over Depew.
#7 – Mason Hoose, Canisius Football
Tallied 21 tackles, a sack, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and had a pass defensed in the Crusaders 31-14 win over Cardinal Mooney (Ohio).
"Mason is a dominant player, and his performance last week in Ohio was yet another example of how he has been a leader for our team with his standout play." – Rich Robbins, Head Coach
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