McCord, Baxter fill Cumby's leadership role
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Sept. 28, 2006 - CUMBY - Seniors Josh McCord and Robert Baxter love to hunt and play paintball, but they also love to do one thing on Friday nights.

Play football for the Cumby Trojans.

"Right now we have two leaders on our team, and these are the two leaders. Both of them are lineman and they aren't real verbal, but they do things right everyday," said head coach Kent Hawthorne.

"They come to practice and they don't miss due to injuries or other reasons. It doesn't matter what is wrong with these kids and they don't miss at all. They never have an excuse and they are here everyday and giving us everything that they can and those are the types of leaders that we need."

Both players said when the year ends at Cumby they will be heading to college together for a very interesting profession.

"We both want to go to the NDT school for Non-Destructive Testing," said McCord, the son of Brad McCord and Tammy Strickland. "It is a nuclear inspector that goes into the power plants and checks the pipes or goes to the oil rigs and checks the wells and x-rays the pipes and makes sure everything is OK."

When it comes to playing football, Baxter said all of his family played, so the tradition stuck with him playing for the Trojans.

"It is something for me to look back on, and we get to hit people every Friday night," said Baxter, the son of Allen Baxter and Vonna Leach. "I like playing because it is a family pasttime and all my family has always played."

McCord said playing football has helped transform him into the player he is today, and after going to the movies together this week it has brought the team closer together.

"It opened my eyes in terms of building leadership, character, dignity and pride," he said. "It shows how 11 men can come together and play as one and play hard - which last Friday night was the first time that we have done that all year."

He said in terms of picking leaders it was a unanimous decision by his teammates to have McCord be the person to tell the team when they mess up.

After their 18-16 loss to Detroit, McCord said that was the time for him to tell them to start playing as a team.

"One of the reasons I did that was when we picked leaders out of 19 people, I got 19 votes and I didn't vote for myself," he said. "I wanted to tell them how to do their jobs better. I figured if it came from me that I was trying to be a better team player and help coach out to become One Team and One Heartbeat. I was mad that we lost and mad that we were playing as a team of individuals."

Baxter said the One Team: One Heartbeat motto is something the players continue to work on, and when district comes fans will see a different team.

"I think it means that everybody needs to play together and we don't need to fight and gripe and get onto each other," Baxter said. "We don't need to blame other people because most of the time the people that are doing the blaming is their fault.

"If we play as a team, we do a whole lot better in games. We make things happen and we are able to get the wins that we need and we have to get them fired up before the game."

Both players said with this being the first time Class A takes three teams to the playoffs, it is their year to show everyone they deserve to be playing in the postseason.

"We want to win the rest of the district season out and to play as a team and be able to play beyond district," Baxter said. "This year for district my goal is to be able to play my hardest and make it into the playoffs - at least past the first round," McCord said. "I want to make it to the playoffs since they are taking three teams, and I want to at least play in one playoff game during my high school career."

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