As fans gather around the grill prior to the game, the Talk of the Tailgate centers around the outcome of the next game. When fans of the Muskogee Roughers chow down on their burgers prior to the game, much of the talk is about Jamarian Ficklin, the sophomore quarterback who continues to lead Muskogee to another win.
“BYRD is the Word,” said Travis Hill, head coach of the Roughers after his team improved to 5-0 on the season.
Through five games, Ficklin’s statistics are impressive totaling 1363 yards passing including 22 touchdowns plus using his maneuverability to elude would be tacklers rushing for 121 yards and two scores. As a freshman, Ficklin passed for more than 2300 yards and 18 touchdowns.
“He’s a gifted athlete, a true quarterback that has the ability to keep things in proper perspective and plays at an even keel. He finds a way to make something happen that helps us win.”
The recently turned 16-year old admits that when he was born that he was very small with skinny legs and skinny body.
“My dad said I looked like a bird. The name stuck but he spelled it BYRD because he saw something special and wanted me to be different,” replied Ficklin.
Amidst all the attention from opponents plus the ever-growing list of college recruiters, the Roughers quarterback lets his actions do all the talking without much hype in his voice.
“I’m not the talking kind of leader. I try to show you by my actions,” said the 6-1, 180-pound sophomore signal caller. “Being a leader is not just controlling people. It’s more about helping others grow and becoming better people as well as players.”
Where the final flight for Jamarian Ficklin and his Muskogee teammates will land at season’s end in the class 6A-II playoffs remains to be determined. But with BYRD leading the way, the future is bright.
Photo courtesy Katie Henry Sports Photography