Player of the Week: Sacred Heart running back Nick Pipkins

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:30 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - After going two full seasons without a victory, Sacred Heart is a school-record 3-0 to start 2021.

Though it’s many of the same Crusaders on the football field, senior running back/linebacker Nick Pipkins believes the team is playing with a different chip on their shoulders.

“We don’t even have any new guys, it’s just everybody came out with a different attitude,” said Pipkins, Sacred Heart’s leading rusher and tackler. “Attitude that they wanted to win, they didn’t want to just lay down anymore and keep getting pounded every game. They decided they wanted to flip the script. They wanted to be the team that pounded other teams.”

“We’re a little bit older,” said Sacred Heart head coach Ed Smith. “The seniors – and they’ve been through it. Our play and execution has been better, playing better on defense, we’re taking care of the ball on offense.”

Smith trusts Pipkins with the football.

The senior’s carried the ball 50 times for 432 yards and six touchdowns through three games – racking up 180 yards rushing and two scores in the Crusaders’ 26-24 win over Amite School.

“The offensive line this year has just been different than they’ve ever been,” Pipkins said. “Going out there and just kicking. They’re just getting blocks, getting a hat on a hat. Once you get a hat on a hat, it’s up to the running back to go from there.”

“We’ve been playing well up front and been able to establish a new line of scrimmage,” Smith said. “And [Pipkins] has turned in some big plays out there.”

The big plays have led to three big wins – already a history-making season for Sacred Heart.

But the Crusaders are just getting started.

“We’re 3-0,” Pipkins said. “We can be confident but let’s not get cocky. That showed last week in the game – once you get cocky you start getting a little sloppy, you start getting a little lazy and it just tends to get a little ugly.”

“You just hope that the senior leadership will kinda step up,” Smith said. “In the third game we got outplayed most of the game and were fortunate to come out with a win. So, we don’t need to let that happen again. So far this week the attitude has kinda been more of a back to work mentality.”

The Crusaders (3-0) host Salem (0-3) on Friday at 7 p.m.

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