WC’s Hunter out for season|[10/18/05]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chico Hunter’s own enthusiasm proved to be the end of his high school football career.

The Warren Central safety, who won the 2004 Vicksburg Post Defensive Player of the Year award, will miss the rest of this season with a knee injury.

Hunter originally hurt his knee while covering a punt in the Vikings’ second game of the year, Sept. 2 at Grenada. He had arthroscopic surgery to repair some of the damage, and was expected back in early October.

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Then, while standing on the sideline in street clothes for the Vikings’ 45-0 win over Greenville on Oct. 8, Hunter jumped up to celebrate a WC touchdown on the first play of the game. When he landed, his knee gave way.

&#8220I had a brace, but it was really my fault. I jumped, but didn’t know the brace wasn’t going to protect me when I came down. It popped back out,” Hunter said.

Hunter said doctors diagnosed the original injury as a 90 percent tear of his ACL. The arthroscopic surgery would have allowed him to finish this season, but he still would have needed surgery after it was over.

Hunter is likely to miss basketball season as well. Hunter also earned the Vicksburg Post’s Boys Basketball Player of the Year award last season – making him the first athlete to win both the football and basketball honors in the same year.

&#8220Either way it went, I was going to have to have surgery, because they were just fixing me up for the rest of the season, which is what I wanted to do,” Hunter said.

Heading into this season, Hunter was likely to be the most sought-after recruit from Warren County’s 2006 class. In two seasons as a starter, he earned a reputation as a fearsome hitter and playmaker in the Vikings’ secondary.

Hunter totaled 196 tackles and five interceptions in 2003 and 2004. He believes his performance in those seasons, when he helped Warren Central to two Region 2-5A championships, will keep him from dropping off college coaches’ radar.

&#8220I had a real good sophomore and junior year. My senior was just to polish it up,” Hunter said. &#8220I was fortunate to have two good years and get my name out there early.”

Hunter added that the injury may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as far as his college prospects are concerned. He has yet to make a qualifying score on his ACT, and he said the time away from football will allow him to focus on his studies.

&#8220Now I can focus on my books, get my GPA up, get qualified, and send my picture back here to put up on the wall with all the other big names,” Hunter said.

The rest of Warren Central’s defense is also making a name for itself. In the first two games after Hunter’s injury, they were torched for six passing touchdowns – four of them over 30 yards – by Meridian and South Pike.

In the last three games, however, they have allowed only 17 points total to Northwest Rankin, Greenville and Madison Central.

&#8220The kids pretty well have had knowledge for three weeks that we had to get ready to play without him. It caused a certain amount of adjustment,” Warren Central coach Curtis Brewer said. &#8220They adjusted, and maybe now it’s come to a point where we’re comfortable playing without him.”