RICHMOND COUNTY, N.C. -- The youngest victim in Saturday’s horrific bus crash in Richmond County had a bright football future himself.
Darice Hicks was just eight years old, but already played for his dad, Lamont Hicks, who coached him with the Rock Hill Cowboys youth football team.
In a Facebook video posted by a friend on the sidelines, the elder Hicks is seen leading the cowboys in a cheer and a prayer before they take the field. Young Darice, called “Junior” by his friends, is number 9.
Lashondria Guinn is a close family friend whose nephew, LJ, played on the Cowboys team with Darice, and said the young player showed his dad’s talent for football.
“I was watching him play, and I kept asking everybody who the young boy was, because he stood out and played that great,” said Guinn. “Very smart and intelligent young man.”
Darice was with his dad as Hicks’ new club team, the Ramah Rams, as the team headed to its first game in Fayetteville. The team’s players were all college students -- mostly at Clinton College in Rock Hill -- even though the team was not officially affiliated with the school.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol said the bus crashed when a tire blew out, causing the driver to lose control. It then veered off into the median, hitting a guardrail and an overpass column. The driver and two players also died. Coach Hicks is in critical condition at Carolinas Medical Center, according to Guinn.
“My heart mourns and goes out to the family” said Guinn outside the college Sunday. Friends and teammates are posting condolence messages on the family’s Facebook pages, many showing pictures of young Darice.
LJ Agurs, Guinn’s nephew, said he loved playing football with Darice, and will miss that most.
“To be gone at such a young age is very heartbreaking,” added Guinn.
Copyright 2016 WCNC