A lacrosse player first, Wicks is proving just as valuable for St. Mary’s football team
If football is considered Alex Wicks’ second sport, he must be really good at his main sport.
That main sport for the St. Mary’s senior is lacrosse. Wicks’ talent on the lacrosse field has earned him a scholarship to Maryland. When he’s not running around Pascal Field tracking down a ground ball, he’s running away from opposing defenses as a member of the Saints’ two-time defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference football champions.
Wicks has emerged as one of the top running backs in the MIAA and Anne Arundel County. After serving in more of a platoon role last year, he is the Saints’ top back this year. He ran for 959 yards and seven touchdowns last year but has already surpassed those numbers this year.
“I’d like to have a few more kids who play lacrosse also play football,” St. Mary’s coach Jason Budroni said. “He’s gotten better as a running back this year. He’s become a better running back, a little more patient in the hole, and he’s using his blocks a little better this year. If you miss him, he’s gone.”
Through the Saints’ first six games, Wicks has rushed for 1,090 yards on 158 carries (6.9-yard average) and scored 18 touchdowns. He ran for 205 yards and five touchdowns against AACS after amassing a combined 455 yards and seven touchdowns his first two games of the season. Following the AACS game, he scored two touchdowns in each of the next three games to help St. Mary’s build a four-game winning streak before Friday night’s loss to Pallotti.
Though football might be considered his second sport, that doesn’t mean Wicks is simply using it as a means to stay in shape for lacrosse.
“I’m a lacrosse player who plays football,” said Wicks, who ran for a season-high 231 yards Sept. 6 against Delmar (Del.). “
I’ve always played football as long as I played lacrosse. I was blessed with the opportunity to be good enough at lacrosse to get a scholarship, but football is great and I just love it. It gives you a good chance to compete.”
On the lacrosse field, Wick is what coach Victor Lilly described as a “ground-ball machine.” The first-team all-county selection gobbled up 79 grounders last year while adding 10 goals, nine assists and 15 caused turnovers. Along with fellow allcounty selections BJ Burlace and Will Tominovich, Wicks was invited to try out for the United States Men’s Under-19 national team.
At just 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, Wicks certainly isn’t the biggest running back. After carrying the ball 175 times all of last year, he’s already up to 158 carries this year with four regular-season games left.
“That’s something I take pride in,” Wicks said. “Being a smaller guy, some players overlook me. Especially early in games, they might hit me pretty hard and they’ll think I’m weak. I might be small for my position.”
Budroni said he has noticed teams are stacking the box in an attempt to stop Wicks and fellow back Ki’Sean Gray-Dantzler. However, the rushing production by Wicks and the Saints has remained consistent.
Wicks was held under 100 yards for the first time in six games in last Friday’s win over Concordia Prep, but the Saints had a comfortable lead so he only carried the ball 18 times. Through St. Mary’s first six games of the season, he averaged 26 carries a game.
“Alex wears people out too,” said assistant coach Mike Adams, who works with the running backs. “Yes, he is fast and has great vision and balance. His 25th carry is just as hard as his first.”
As his high school football career winds down, Wicks is hoping to lead the team to a third straight MIAA B Conference title. He’ll spend the winter working out in preparation for his final high school lacrosse season before heading to College Park to join the long list of county athletes who’ve gone on to play college lacrosse.
“I’m just making the best of my high school football times,” he said. “We only have a few more Friday nights left to play, then hopefully we can get a few more and win a championship.”
St. Mary’s running back Alex Wicks is averaging more than 26 carries a game.