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Team First Mentality: Senior signal caller Ricker gives up spot to freshman Larkins to ‘help the team’

David Crockett’s Cade Larkins, left, and Cole Ricker have turned a friendly competition into a better friendship.
David Crockett’s Cade Larkins, left, and Cole Ricker have turned a friendly competition into a better friendship.

By COLLIN BROOKS

Staff Writer

[email protected]

David Crockett freshman quarterback Cade Larkins has only been a Pioneer for a month — he got a late start arriving two days into the new school year — but he has already gained the complete confidence of his teammates and coaches.

Senior Cole Ricker is so confident in the youngster’s ability that he gave up his quarterback spot because he thought he could help the team in other positions.

The Monday after the Pioneers opening season loss at Mountain Heritage, Ricker met with head coach Jeremy Bosken and told him about his plan.

“I told him that I felt most comfortable with putting Cade at quarterback and I would go and help the receivers and if he needs me to play defense, I’ll play whatever position he wants me to play,” Ricker said. “I just wanted to be someplace where I could help the team.

“I don’t want to play quarterback and then us not win games, so whatever it takes, I just want to win.”

Bosken harps on having a family atmosphere for his program, but he said that conversation was one of the most selfless gestures that he has seen from any of his players.

“It is definitely the most selfless act,” Bosken said. “He has worked his tail off and did everything that we have asked him to do and this was supposed to be his year. But he decided to give that up to help his team.”

Bosken has a routine of Sunday night dinners with his quarterbacks, he did it during his coaching days at York in South Carolina and at Science Hill. He has continued that tradition during his first four years as the headman at Crockett and he said that he is happy to have added Larkins to his table.

The freshman’s family moved from Jonesborough when he was 6 years old, his mother went to David Crockett and his father attended Daniel Boone, so Washington County is in his bloodline, but the freshman has depended on the football team in order to get more comfortable in his new territory.

After a long drive from Texas, Larkins barely had enough time to stretch his legs before he was on the football field getting his first glimpse at his team.

“Everyone has been really helpful, especially Cole,” Larkins said. “It’s great knowing that everyone trusts me and that if I need any help I can go to anyone.”

Larkins was pushing Ricker to make him better, but there was no doubt it was Ricker’s job. The senior had been waiting patiently waiting for his time as the signal caller after backing up four-year starter Ryan Burger for three seasons, but he wanted to make sure that the team was in the best position. However, now he will be the one of the new quarterbacks favorite targets and he knows the program is in great hands.

“Just seeing him do it, I could tell that he was comfortable with it and he was a quick learner,” Ricker said. “He knew exactly what to do after the first day.”

Ricker is also helping the team. Playing wide receiver has given Larkins another target with an already skilled receiving core. Ricker has 11 catches in three contests for the Pioneers.

“He is a big part of our receiving core,” Bosken said. “So it wasn’t just lip service. He really has turned over the keys to the car, but he is still a big part of the engine that keeps this thing going.”

And while the Pioneers are sitting at 1-3, their new signal caller said their tough early season schedule will help to prepare them for the rest of the  year.

“It’s been tough but I think it’s been helping us,” Larkins said. “We are going to do a lot better because of the games we have played. We are learning a lot about ourselves.”

And as the young QB continues to grow and get better, there is no doubt that his team will evolve with him.

“I depend on the quarterback, probably too much, and I have thrown a lot at him these last few weeks,” Bosken said. “So the fact that he has handled it as well as he has is really impressive. He has been here a month and I think every kid on the team loves him and has confidence in him.”