Paden Roberts doesn’t want to think about it, much less talk about, his final year playing football at Forrest County Agricultural High School.
“Honestly, it’s not that fun,” said Roberts, a senior offensive lineman who was selected as the Aggies’ “Player of the Pine Belt.”
“I love football. It’s something that I’ve done since I’ve grown up, so I don’t even like to think about it. It’s something sad knowing that it’s coming to an end.”
But if Roberts is facing his last high school hurrah, he is hoping he and his fellow Aggies can make the 2018 season the best it can be.
“Getting wins, it’s something that we’ve struggled with the last few years, but I think this is the year that we can do that,” Roberts said. “The coaching staff is pushing as hard as they can and I want to play far as we can into November and December.”
Though it finished with a 6-5 mark, FCAHS missed the postseason mark last fall, continuing a tough, four-year stretch in Brooklyn.
Since winning a state championship in 2013, the Aggies have won just 19 games, with only one winning season over that period.
“They were looking for someone to be there for them, to lead them, and I want to be that guy,” said first-year FCAHS coach Brad Calcote, who became the Aggies’ third head football coach in the last three years.
“I can tell them to trust me, but it’s about coming every day, working hard and trying to be an example for them. Let’s come in here, on time, let’s work really hard while we’re here and then let’s stay and do some extra. And they’ve been good. They’ve done what we asked.”
The 5-foot-9, 195-pound Roberts said he and his teammates have tried to take the coaching changes in stride.
“It was tough, but it’s something you work through,” Roberts said. “It’s part of the game. Coaches leave and come, but you just have to go through it. It’s a part of life. People leave and come back into your life, and you just have to push through it. You have to fight.
“(Calcote’s) made us fight for it more than anything. He pushes us to our breaking points, and then when we get there, he pushes us more, just to give us the mentality that if we can go through that, we can get through anything.”
The fight and the push back is what Calcote sees when he watches Roberts.
“Paden is going to be huge,” Calcote said. “I’m sorry I’m only going to have him for a year, but Paden’s awesome. First day, no questions asked, and he’s killed it.
“You hear him staying stuff that I say. Very coachable. He’s hitting weight room goals. He’s come in and done the work. I wish he had a twin brother.”