Convincing SirQuan Hawkins to play football was no easy task, but the 6-2, junior wide receiver is glad his teammates persisted.
Basketball has always been SirQuan Hawkins' favorite sport, but that is starting to change.
Exploiting a size mismatch, the 6-2 junior wide receiver had the best game of his young career Friday night, catching eight passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-17 victory over Richwood.
"That's the best game I've ever had," Hawkins said, flashing a big smile.
Bastrop's offense struggled early as its first four drives went punt, fumble, punt, punt.
"We just had to make sure we kept the quarterback in the game," said Hawkins, referring to his cousin, Quaterius Hawkins. "We had to make sure everybody kept their composure and stayed focused. Most importantly, we had to stay together."
Bastrop finally got on the board early in the second quarter when Bobby Smith took an 8-yard screen pass to the house. A blocked extra point left Bastrop still trailing 7-6.
After the B-Rams' next two possessions ended with a punt and another fumble, Bastrop came up with a defensive turnover at the Richwood 35 with only 1:08 to play in the half.
Bastrop capitalized immediately as the Hawkins-to-Hawkins combination clicked for the go-ahead touchdown. SirQuan Hawkins, who finished the first half with two receptions for 47 yards, was just getting started.
Going into the game, Hawkins knew he was a big part of the gameplan. But even he was surprised by his second half production.
"Richwood had a 5-6 cornerback on one side. Coach said we were going to go after him, and that's exactly what we did," Hawkins said. "They tried to put a high safety over there to give him some help, but it didn't do much good."
Not that he's complaining, but having so many capable receivers presents almost as big of a challenge for Bastrop coach Adrian Burnette as it does for opposing defenses.
"I just have to figure out how to coach them and get the best out of each one of them," Burnette said.
Hawkins' emergence gives the Rams yet another big-play receiving threat to go with Christian Smith, who is coming off of an All-State season, Calvert "Big Body" Johnson and Celento Traylor.
"When you look at it closely, we have so many weapons, and they're all unique because they can all do something different," Burnette said. "SirQuan can go vertical and he can run the curl route and catch the big third-and-8 pass probably better than any kid I have ever coached."
Bastrop began its first series of the second half from its own 1 after a 58-yard Richwood punt rolled dead. Hawkins' 18-yard reception on second down moved the chains to the 26, but the B-Rams were soon forced to punt. However, Bastrop would catch a break as Richwood fumbled the kick.
Taking advantage of the fresh set of downs at their own 45, the Hawkins-to-Hawkins duo had Bastrop back in the end zone two plays later on passes of 34 and 21 yards. Hawkins would later add a 36-yard TD grab for his third touchdown.
In the second half alone, Hawkins caught six passes for 161 yards and two scores.
"SirQuan just wouldn't stop Friday night," Burnette marveled.
Hawkins, who averaged 8.9 points and 8 rebounds for the Rams' basketball team last season, had to be coerced into playing football. He began playing basketball in elementary school prior to moving to Texas. Upon returning to Bastrop as an eighth-grader, he continued to focus on the roundball. All the while, his friends' football recruiting efforts were met with resistance.
Hawkins finally caved, joining the football team last season as a sophomore.
"Thank God for my teammates," said Hawkins, an honorable mention All-District 2-4A performer last season. "They kept trying to get me down here, but I didn't want any part of it. They motivated me and convinced me to play."
Fortunately for Hawkins and the Rams, his teammates were persistent.
"When your boys are doing something, you want to be part of it," Hawkins said of his decision to finally don the shoulder pads. "That's kind of how it happened."
Once Hawkins reported for football, the first thing Burnette noticed was his soft hands.
"If SirQuan has dropped a pass the last two years — end in practice — I can't remember it," Burnette said.
The scary part is that Hawkins is still learning the game. He says he is thankful to have Burnette, a former Bastrop High and Tulane wide receiver, as his coach. When Burnette was appointed head coach in February,nobody was happier than Hawkins.
"Thank God for the head coach we have," Hawkins said. "We have the right person leading us to greatness. Being able to learn from a college receiver is truly a blessing."
Hawkins is aware that he is only beginning to tap into his potential.
"I don't mean to brag, but my hands are there," Hawkins said. "What I need to work on is my speed and getting off the jam."
With another year and a half to develop, the sky is the limit for Hawkins.