If the Mounties are going to put big points on the boards this season it is going to require an explosive and successful passing attack for a number of reasons.
And playing an intricate role in any success will be a young man who gained considerable attention while performing numerous tasks with the Moncton Purple Knights and who has the potential to lead an outstanding Mountie receiving corps in his fifth and final season with the Mounties.
Yes, Josh Hicks is a highly-talented football player who has been used in various positions as a high school star and who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to run intricate patterns and get himself into open spaces.
Last season Hicks played in all eight Mountie games in the AUS and finished in fourth place in receiving. He caught 32 balls for 454 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
But it was the running game the Mounties counted heavily on last year with seniors Chris Reid and Keil Ambursley, both former conference all-stars, receiving the majority of the calls.
Both stars will be absent this fall after using up their five years of eligibility and even though coach Peter Fraser has recruited some fine backs and has a couple ready to come off the bench, it still means if the team is to find its offensive potential it must come up with a potent aerial attack.
Hicks, who allows his feet to prove his point, believes the 2019 season should prove to be a one of transition as the Mounties forget their 2-6 record last year and set their sights on being in the Loney Bowl and on their way to their best performance since 2014.
In the meantime, Hicks will be attending the regional combine in Montreal, and if he measures up to CFL standards, could ply his trade as a professional in the future. However, he is expecting to complete his degree in commerce and enter the business world after football.
Hicks chose to attend Mount Allison over offers from other schools mainly to have the opportunity to perform in front of his family and friends. And he has entertained them with his natural ability and now hopes to “break out” with a huge role in the resurgence of the Mounties.
“We are going to have an outstanding offensive line that has a lot of experience,” he said during a recent discussion. “I think we will be well at the running game and it looks as though we will have an experienced winner at quarterback.”
He says he really expects his team will put a lot of points on the board, and with a former quarterback calling the shots, the Mounties should become more exciting and offensive minded.
Asked to comment on the situation facing high school football in the province, Hicks said he would love to see the Titans playing against teams in the Nova Scotia league since they have been so much better than others in New Brunswick.
He said less emphasis is placed on the sport in other high schools, even though they should have far more athletes than the 450 at Tantramar.
“Most of the Titans players have been together through the minor system and having been together so long have become much like a family.”
He said he played four seasons for Moncton and never found the Titans to play outside the rules.
“But they came to play tough football on every down, and you knew you had been in a game even though, in those days, they weren’t very successful.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles on Mount Allison football players who are expected to play a major role in the upcoming season.