Strelow column: Parks on path similar to Maddox's
He has a reverence for kelly green and a high school resume K.P. Parks can appreciate.
Nick Maddox played on a national championship team as a Florida State freshman, but he holds in higher regard the state title he won in an A.L. Brown uniform.
The Wonders will try to capture their first championship since 1997 when they face Greensboro Dudley on Saturday afternoon at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem. That contest will follow a matchup between West Rowan, led by Parks, and West Craven.
Parks, like Maddox did more than a decade ago, will attempt to carry his team to a title as a record-breaking junior.
“I knew about some of the media coverage I was getting and some of the things people around the country were saying about me, but it was still pure for me at that point,” Maddox says Wednesday afternoon from his office in Tallahassee, Fla. “It was still for love of the game, not the exposure. It was still about teammates. It wasn’t a business.
“Once I got to college, it was a little more of a business. I do cherish the memories from 1999, but nothing will ever compare to the teammates and environment and kind of game that 1997 championship was. I still felt like a kid. Once I got to Florida State, I started making that transition to being a man. It was a national thing, but what we were able to do at A.L. Brown meant more to Kannapolis.”
Maddox is a director with Seminole Boosters, the fundraising arm for FSU. He rushed for 6,254 yards at A.L. Brown and graduated as the state’s career leader in touchdowns with 114. He now ranks third behind T.A. McLendon and Tommy Henry.
Maddox says his mother informed him of the Wonders’ current playoff run, and he admits he’s more excited to hear that the “America’s Best High Schools” edition of the U.S. News & World Report has recognized A.L. Brown.
Maddox speaks proudly about Florida State football standout Myron Rolle, the school’s third student in four years to be named a Rhodes Scholar.
“He’s everything you’d want out of a student-athlete and more,” Maddox says.
Coaches said the same thing about Maddox, and Parks receives similar praise.
Maddox remained humble despite the headline-grabbing nature of his accomplishments. He never shied away from deflecting credit, even after a dominating performance like the one he enjoyed 11 years ago against Northeast Guilford in Chapel Hill.
He scored four touchdowns, including a 98-yard reception on a reverse pass from Paul Allen, in A.L. Brown’s 34-12 victory at Kenan Stadium. Maddox rushed for 205 yards and caught two passes for 124 more.
“The feeling I got the whole time was that I was amongst family, and that’s what made that night so special,” Maddox says. “I wasn’t looking at it like I had a team. It’s like I had brothers, and I would have given my left leg to see any of them smile. It’s that kind of sacrifice you’re willing to make for your teammates in order to win a state championship.
“I couldn’t eat at all that day because I was so excited about the game. A lot of people call it nervousness, but I call it excitement.”
Maddox was awarded a gameball after becoming the leading rusher in Cabarrus County history and later setting the state touchdown record. He gave the souvenirs to his mother and called them trophies for raising him well.
Parks, who has played on an injured ankle for most of the posteason, already ranks fifth in state history with 6,902 rushing yards. He has 96 touchdowns and is tied with Mooresville’s Corey Alexander for sixth place in that category.
The 178 touchdowns McLendon scored from 1998-2001 are an untouchable total, but Parks can reach second place by passing Mike Atkinson (99), Anthony Saunders (103), Maddox and Henry (128) in the next 12 months.
I asked Maddox if he had any wisdom to offer a player of Parks’ pedigree.
“If I could give any advice as a former high school athlete in North Carolina, you get so much more joy out of setting records if you do it and don’t even realize it,” Maddox says. “Do it and have it be a team effort rather than an individual effort. Be proud to do it with your team.”
Contact Bret Strelow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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