Hitchcock senior fullback Xavian Hampton has many attributes that he brings to the Bulldogs’ offense.
One of which is his varsity experience. Another is his size.
All of that has helped the Bulldogs to a second consecutive District 12-3A-I title, which was clinched last week in their 44-24 win over the East Chambers Buccaneers.
It was the first time in school history that the Bulldogs (5-3 overall, 4-0 in district play) won back-to-back district championships.
“Hampton’s been the staple of our offense,” said Hitchcock offensive coordinator Cody Carney who’s been the acting head coach since the start of the season because of medical issues forcing head coach Craig Smith to step away. “He’s an unbelievable kid. He’s got a great work ethic. You get the same thing out of him every day.”
Playing his fourth year as a starter in Hitchcock’s run-heavy slot-T system, Hampton has seen no shortage of carries this year.
“We talk about the 10,000-hour rule,” Carney said. “The more time you spend at varsity, the more reps you’ll get. Hampton has countless reps and ends up being perfect at running the plays.”
For Hampton, the novelty of starting wore off long ago.
“I feel like playing at the varsity level for so long has been nothing new to me,” Hampton said. “I always knew what the next year would bring.”
His size — playing at 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds — has made it almost impossible for opponents to tackle him. The fullback is also a state champion powerlifter, squatting over 700 pounds.
“He’s strong,” Carney said. “We have a lot of clips of him where he practically choke-slammed his opponent this week or blocked two guys with one block.”
The obvious goal for every team is to win the state championship, and it’s no different for Hampton and his teammates.
Carney says this year’s team has been good about playing together.
“The big difference between this year and last year is that the players love and care about each other,” Carney said. “If you love and care about each other, good things will happen. If you play as an individual, you’ll self-destruct. We preach to them all the time that it’s important to be selfless. Each back has a play in the series. If you’re not running the ball, you’re blocking. The offense is designed for selflessness. If you don’t carry out your job, the play will destruct.”
Before the Bulldogs can think too much about the playoffs, they’ll have to finish the regular season in the 7:30 p.m. Friday home game against rival La Marque.
The Cougars (5-3, 3-1) are currently second in the district standings and can snatch a share of the 12-3A-I championship with the Bulldogs with a win, which would be similar to last year when both teams shared the title in a three-way tie with Hempstead.
“I think on paper, we’re the better team,” Carney said. “I’ve tried not to talk it up about it being against La Marque. It’s another game. I told the guys that they have a great chance at making history. Last week, we made history by being district champs for two years in a row. This week, we have a chance at beating La Marque.”
The Cougars are coming off a 25-24 win over Hempstead from last week.
The Bulldogs will be looking for revenge after losing last year’s meeting against La Marque, 12-10.
“It’s a fun game,” Carney said. “The high schools are 5 miles apart. The kids know each other. The papers may say that we should win the game, but when it’s against a rivalry, all the stats go out the window. We’ve had two great weeks of practice and if we can have another good week, we’ll win.”