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The Orr Honda Athlete of the Week is Brickey Reed, 5-10, 225-pound senior linebacker for Paris High School. He had 17 tackles for the Wildcats — 5 solo and 12 assisted — and forced a fumble in their 41-13 victory on Friday at Pittsburg.
“He’s the spiritual leader of our defense. He’s in the middle. It starts with him,” Paris Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Steven Hohenberger said.
“In the third quarter against Pittsburg, we were struggling offensively, and Brickey set the tone on defense with the way he was tackling. Just as they were trying to come back, the whole third quarter, there was ferocious hit after hit, and Brickey Reed was leading that charge,” Hohenberger said.
“No question, he stepped up when we needed it most,” he said.
Shundarrious Woodson returned the opening kickoff 85 yards to give Paris an early lead.
“It was Brickey who made the block about the 35 or 40 yard line that sprung him (Woodson) right down that left sideline,” Hohenberger said.
Reed was the District 13-31 defensive MVP last year as a junior, and Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine made him the Preseason Defensive MVP for this season as well.
There’s been nothing to indicate Reed won’t repeat. He leads the Red River Valley with 102 tackles, including 36 unassisted, through seven games. He also has two fumble recoveries and an interception, and has broken up three passes. He made 25 tackles against Melissa.
“We’ve come to expect those kind of numbers from him, but I’ll tell you what, he expects it more probably than we do,” Wildcats defensive coordinator Terry Anderson said.
“He really expects a lot out of himself, and that’s how he practices. He wants to be good. He wants to be the best out there, and that’s what makes us better defensively. And he picks up the other guys by doing that. He’s a role model. Even away from the field house, you’re not going to hear people talking bad about Brickey. He’s a good kid,” Anderson said.
“Everybody wants to coach kids like that. Brickey is special. He’s smart, he’s polite. He’s just a great kid, and he’s got a passion for the game of football and loves to play it, just loves to play it. We’re so really blessed to have kids like that,” Anderson said.
Augie Berend, one of Paris’ defensive assistant coaches, said Reed “is something special. With his size and speed, he can make plays a lot of other people can’t. He’s electrifying.”
What’s the secret to being a good defender?
“You’ve got to have the mentality where, if there’s somebody out there with the ball, you feel you can run through them,” Reed said in a mid-week interview with eParisExtra.
“If you’ve got the ball and you’re heading my way, it’s like you’re saying you’re better than me. i don’t like people saying they’re better than me so I, you know, I make it happen. If he’s got the ball, he’s mine,” he said.
Hohenberger said Reed is what he would call an “old-school linebacker.”
“By that, I mean the passion that he plays with. He’s physical every day in practice, and he brings it on Friday night. He’s a tackling machine.”
Reed started for Paris as a sophomore, but suffered a knee injury in a non-district game against Celina and missed the rest of the seasobn.
“As I was making the tackle, the fullback came and cut me on my outside leg. I thought I had a cramp. I got up to walk, and my knee buckled, and they said I had a torn meniscus. It locked up, and I couldn’t stand,” Reed said.
“I play every game like it’s my last, because I know how quick it can go down, you know?”
Reed said he embraces his role as a team leader.
“It comes with responsibilities. It isn’t just on the football field that you’ve got to be a leader. You’ve got to be a leader when you walk on the street, and when you’re in the hallways and classrooms. You’ve always got to set an example. You’ve always got to be the best at whatever you’re doing,” he said.
“So that’s my role on this team. It may be to make a tackle, to make a hard tackle, but it’s more than just football. I think for everybody to see me make an ‘A’ in the classroom, maybe it will make them want to make an ‘A’.”
His lowest grade the last six weeks was “an 86 or 87,” he said. “So yeah, I’m doing pretty good.”
Paris had a tough non-district schedule, losing to Mount Pleasant, Sulphur Springs, Argyle and Melissa. The Wildcats’ lone win in non-district was Denison, and Paris has opened district play with victories over Atlanta and Pittsburg.
The Wildcats’ last three games of the regular season are in Paris — home games against Mount Pleasant and Liberty-Eylau and a “road” game at North Lamar. Liberty-Eylau, like Paris, is 2-0. This season, for the first time, four teams from each district will make the Class 3A playoffs.
“The district title still comes through Paris. They’re going to have to come and take it if they want it,” he said. The Wildcats went unbeaten through district his sophomore and junior years.
Reed said he hopes to continue playing football after high school.
“I’d love to play for SMU. My sophomore year, they were the first school I got a letter from, and they’re close by,” Reed said.
“It’s an honor to be part of Brickey’s career. I can’t wait to see what he does at the next level,” Hohenberger said.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra