The Paris varsity football program isn't the same as many others in the area and because of that has to make certain adjustments in order to compete for the Lewis and Clark Conference Championship from one year to the next.
Specifically, the Coyotes don't have the attendance numbers that some other local learning institutions do. Because of that their football program is simply trying to avoid playing the eight-man game. This means head coach and Athletic Director Gary Crusha doesn't even consider trying to put together a freshman program, and while the idea of a JV squad would be nice, it hasn't happened in quite some time. Instead this crew takes an all-hands-on-deck mentality, which is a double-edged sword, for sure.
For those younger players not quite ready for the bright lights and the unforgiving hits of the big stage becoming a prime time player might be something they have to work up to and how long that takes is different for each individual. Other athletes like current Quincy University senior Briar Hancock are meant for opportunities exactly like that and end up turning their time on the prep gridiron into a shot at the collegiate gridiron that started out well and keeps getting better with each passing season.
"All of our coaches have recruiting areas and go out and identify guys that they believe are young men who can help us move forward as a program. One of our coaches brought him up in a staff meeting and we started recruiting him," said Quincy Head Coach Gary Bass. "Once we started we got to know him not only as a player but a young man of high character. We brought him to campus and met with him and his family and we felt Briar was the type of young man that we wanted to have in our program."
Standing in at 6-foot-2, 230 lbs., Hancock is listed as a Tight End on the Hawks roster and highlights for 2018 included a 13-yard kickoff return on Sept. 22 at home during a 26-10 loss to Davenport on Homecoming. The former Coyote also made four solo tackles and three assists for the season for Quincy, which finished 4-7 overall, 3-4 Great Lakes Valley Conference last year.
"Briar is a very physical player who never shy's away from contact. His toughness is something as a coach that isn't rivaled," said Bass. "Not only is he a physical player but he has demonstrated the ability to be very versatile here. He has ran the football, put his hand in the ground as a TE and also caught passes. As far as improvements go we just need to work on keeping him healthy to make it through his senior year, but that isn't anything on him."
As a sophomore Hancock's effort were much more varied and featured four carries four seven yards along with three catches for 30 yards that was highlighted by a 16-yard reception on Oct. 21 against UT Permian Basin. He also ran back a kickoff 19-yards at home against Truman State for Div. II Quincy to help lead the team to a record of 3-8 overall, 1-6 GLVC.
"I believe being a college football player is a huge benefit for each of our young men. The team work, dedication, mental toughness and quick decision making skills help get each of our young men ready for life after football," Bass said. "I also believe the culture as a program we've instituted, as well as our leadership training, is something that benefits all our young men for the future. He's a young man all our guys can look to as an example of what it means to be a man. I'm excited to see him play this year."
In 2016 Hancock's role with this squad was slightly different and because of this so were his numbers, which included six carries for 25 yards and a score at home on Sept. 10 against Mayville State. The Paris product then followed up that showing the very next week on Sept. 17 at Lincoln by running the ball nine times for 33 yards to end up with 15 carries for 58 yards on the year to help Quincy end up 5-6 overall, 3-5 GLVC.
"Every year he has improved and done everything we have asked for him. His freshman year he played
FB but also played some RB for us as wellHe has since been moved more towards a TE position because of our change of offense," said Bass. "He has demonstrated every year he can adapt and adjust to anything we throw at him. As a young man he has continued to be a young man of high moral character and someone our young players can emulate and admire.
This upcoming season Quincy initial contest in Sept. 7 at Central State University in Wilberforce, OH. The team is then at Kentucky Wesleyan College on Sept. 14 in Owensboro prior to hosting Wayne State University from Detroit on Sept. 21. All three contests are at 1:00 p.m.
"(Hancock) will always be a part of our family however when he exhausts his eligibility we will lose a young man that not only is a great football player but an integral part of our leadership team," said Bass. "His ability is one thing but his work ethic, mental and physical toughness, leadership intangibles and character are just a few things we saw in him."