Running with a Burning Fire

There are three rules Hamilton Wilson lives by as a senior running back for Doss High School.

“Number one, work hard at everything you do,because there is always somebody trying to get the same spot as you. Number two would be – on a team standard – to never down your teammates when they do something bad. Tell them the next play is the best play so they can keep their head up. Number three, be a student in the classroom first before you come out on the field.”

IMG_10961Following these key rules has given this special Dragon a burning desire to run with purpose. Having already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in his final high school season, his coach, Phillip Hawkins, has challenged him to reach a goal of 1,500 yards once the season comes to an end.

“He has taken a lot of responsibility this year for sure. Out of the 75 kids, we have eight seniors, and he is one of them. So that’s our goal for him,” says Hawkins. “We want to get him to that 1,500 yard mark.”

Wilson says if it were not for a strong offensive line and his head coach treating practice like a game situation, “I wouldn’t be able to do any of it, so I just thank them.”

His goal of 1,500 yards has been something he’s aspired to ever since the summer time, even while nursing an injury. He says coach was “keeping it in my ear that I have a good enough offensive line to get at least 1,500 yards.”

For a young man with this season milestone awaiting him, and as one considering Ohio University, Morehead State and Murray State as possible college destinations, his coaches would describe him as a quiet kid who simply comes in and gets the job done.

Wilson would agree, admitting he has a laid-back personality but always looks to help out a friend in need of a little pep in their step during a bad day.

From the outside looking in, one would undoubtedly say Hamilton is a young man who has all his ducks in a row. However, what some may fail to see is that Wilson has an inner drive that’s been sparked by his NFL inspiration, Ezekiel Elliot, and his own personal experience that is nearly identical.

“Before [Ezekiel] was really known, he was still my favorite running back,” Wilson adds. “I read his E:60 [an ESPN weekly investigative journalism newsmagazine program], about when he lost his friend and it made him go harder. I lost my friend a couple years ago, and ever since then, I have wanted to do better.”

Wilson says in the face of adversity, he learned, “You have to overcome it any way possible.”

Perhaps that’s the reason Hamilton has been able to overcome and push through opposing defenses all year long. In 129 carries on the ground, he has rushed so far for 1,091 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Hawkins hopes the legacy Wilson leaves behind becomes a precedent that future running backs will follow in this Doss program for years to come.

“The expectation for the running backs in the high school level is pretty high. The academic expectations we have for our kids is high, and they see him push in the classroom and they know he is going to play football at the next level. So he is certainly a positive example set for us and the kids see you can be a quiet guy and still get it done on Friday nights and that not everyone is made to be a vocal guy. So that is what they are seeing from him.”

This dragon has been running with fire all season long and doesn’t plan to extinguish his burning passion anytime soon. As he continues to run in the game of life, he leaves behind smoke in the air that has a different smell – an aroma that lifts one’s face to smell purpose, loyalty and achievement.

And those characteristics are certainly ones that Wilson will hang on to as he runs further and further down the road of success. VT