HAMPTON, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Aiden Vines, a senior football player at Hampton High School.
Hampton loves its high school football.
“It means a lot I mean our community is a pretty tight knit community we got a lot of people who come out to the ball games we only allowed 600 in the game the other day and it kinda looked a little bit empty,” Hampton head football coach Michael Lunsford said.
This football team has an identity; they’re a reflection of their community.
“We just all like to work hard it’s always been in the blood and our coaches will tell ya if you’re not gonna work for it you’re not gonna get it so that’s a big thing with us for sure,” Hampton senior Aiden Vines said.
Vines displays that hardworking Hampton mentality just as much as anybody.
“He’s not like a lot of other kids sitting around playing video games and stuff like that he’s an ol’ country boy that just comes with it and brings his lunch pale to work,” Lunsford said.
“A lot of pride, that’s a big thing for me I ain’t coming out here to play around if I’m here it’s go time, it’s time to get better and we get paid on Friday,” Vines said.
Winning the game comes first, but Vines has his own definition of getting paid on Fridays.
“I love it it’s fun I love punishing people so that gives me another side on the offensive side I get to hit there too,” Vines said.
This will be a big year for him at runningback and linebacker.
“He’s the guy that’s been blocking for the other guys he’s played fullback he’s played linebacker he’s played tight end he’s been the guy that gets the other guys recognition and this year he’s gonna stand out some,” Lunsford said.
“Gotta be a leader, without a leader you’re nothing so gotta have a couple leaders on the team, I’ve always got a couple guys coming up to me asking wanting to know how to do this and gotta be there to help them if there ain’t a leader there ain’t no point in playing,” Vines said.
Vines has been a starter since his sophomore year, and has developed into a role model for this program.
“Grown more as a man than as a player they teach more life skills than anything honestly but got bigger got stronger learned the game of football,” Vines said.
He also has developed a remarkable bond with his head coach, coach Lunsford.
“It’s like I told him the other day in practice I said if I ever have a son I hope he’s just like Aiden Vines, I mean he’s the best kid that you’ll ever be around and he’s just a super good kid hard working I mean during the summers he works with me sometimes in construction,” Lunsford said.
“It’s amazing I mean I got there every day hoping people see how hard I work and how hard our team works and having a great coach to have a great bond with is something big to have and he’s not just gonna be there for me through high school he’s somebody I can count on throughout my whole life if I need him and he knows if he needs me to come do something for him I’m one call away,” Vines said.
More than anything he’s a senior leader making his community proud.
“I don’t want it to end especially with the COVID not knowing if I was gonna have it I’m loving every opportunity I get with my team and on the football field but it’s gonna kill me when it ends maybe at the next level if I’m lucky,” Vines said.
“He is the epitome of Hampton, just being hard nosed being tough being gritty and being willing to go to work and not be a lazy bum that relies on other people he comes in ready to work for himself,” Lunsford said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.