KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) A Killeen high school senior is marching to the beat of a different drum playing football as an offensive lineman during 6-A football games and directing the school's band at halftime from a podium in full pads and uniform.
Freddy Hicks directs the band at halftime. (Courtesy photo)
"You usually hear people in the stands talk about me," said 17-year old Freddy Hicks.
"I hear them whispering and whenever I get off my podium people run up to me and shake my hands like 'wow I've never even seen anything like that.’"
Hicks attends Shoemaker High School in Killeen where his passion for both music and sports started at an early age.
By the time he was in seventh grade, Hicks was both playing tuba in the band and suiting up for Gray Wolves on the field.
He admits finding the time to do both hasn't always been easy.
"To be honest it was more of a schedule kind of thing. I got with my coaches and my directors and I put together my practice schedule and told them what I wanted to do," Freddy said.
"And they just work with me. They work with each other. There was a lot of teamwork that went into it."
That team includes Freddy's family.
His parents both work at Shoemaker, mom Bernadette as a counselor and dad Central as an AVID program coordinator and teacher as well as varsity girls’ soccer coach and freshman football coach.
"The thing most people say is 'how can you do this at a 6-A high school. There is no way. You have to choose' and we're realizing more and more you don't have to choose. You just have to be able to cooperate," Central said.
It's a feeling echoed by mom who says there is more hard work than meets the eye under the Friday night lights.
"I'm just really proud of him because he didn't quit and it's really hard," Bernadette said.
"Everyone looks at the product and goes 'wow that's amazing but at home we see all of the grit and the hard work and the sacrifice and so to see him on the field actually walking out what he wants to do is amazing."
And while he's found the time to practice both he never quite figured out how to dress the part simultaneously.
"The first time I thought I was going to have time to change if I was at a home game but then I realized I wouldn't even have time to take off my football pads because as soon as the clock strikes zero for halftime the band steps on the field," he laughed.
"So the first game I just kind of put on the gloves and put on the whistles. It was like God's plan because it just immediately happened and that's when everything started coming together."
Freddy said there are two other football players who also play in the band which has made the two stereotypical different groups find lots of common ground.
"We've grown up with the football team and the band program and as we've grown up and come together we've realized there are things that we do share in common, that band kind of is a sport and football does not just run out there and hit each other," He said.
"I was able to be a bridge between the two groups and just help them understand each other."
Hicks says as much as he's enjoyed his time on the O-line, he plays to pursue music in college and in fact just had an audition this past weekend at Prairie View A&M.
"It was a great opportunity to see what I want to do in college, seeing a different view of band and realizing for real that my passion does lie in music as much as I have enjoyed football I want to keep on going and pursue a career in music."