BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Josh Ficklin is a man on a mission this year.
"My goal was like 2,000 yards rushing," said Ficklin. "I was trying to just rack up as many yards as I can each game. I wanted like 200 yards a game. I popped off 270 last game.”
That's right, the Bentonville junior running back did pop off last game, to the tune of 275 yards and five touchdowns in a 41-21 win at Har-Ber that opened conference play.
“We think he’s the best back in the state,” said Jody Grant, Bentonville's head coach.
The junior is on a mission to prove his coach right after the way last season ended.
Ficklin had a good first season at Bentonville after moving from Mississippi, racking up over 1,000 yards.
"When he was first here, you could tell he was a little green in some areas," Grant said. "But it didn’t take us long to realize he was very special.”
Special is the sort of game he was having in the quarterfinals against Cabot with over 200 yards and a couple of scores to help give the Tigers a 34-17 lead.
But Cabot came back to take a 38-34 lead, and with the Tigers driving to win the game, Ficklin fumbled near the goal line in the closing seconds, which sealed the 10-0 Tigers' first loss of the season in heart breaking fashion.
"I ain’t ever forget that," Ficklin said. "Actually before every game, I watch that just to get myself right again. I don’t want to ever let my team down again.”
So what was Ficklin's mindset going into this season?
“Redemption. Revenge tour.”
And that revenge tour is going pretty well.
Ficklin leads the state in rushing with almost 800 yards and 10 touchdowns.
And Wednesda, just two days before his big game at Har-Ber… he received his first Division I offer from Memphis.
“I felt good, you know what I’m saying," Ficklin said. "I’m not trying to sound cocky, but I was on my high horse a little bit, so i just showed them why I deserve that offer. I showed them why I have D-I talent.”
D-1 talent, and a D-I motor to go along with it.
"I’ll tell you, one thing about him is at practice, you never have to question his work ethic," Grant said. "You don’t have to tell him to run hard or block his tail off. He’s going to do that and it’s just in his DNA.”
Ficklin hopes that his work ethic can lead the Tigers not just back to the playoffs, but to a state title.
“I want a word to be known," Ficklin said. "My friend Chas’s (Charles Nimrod) mom, Mrs. Nimrod, she gave us a word. We do yoga every Saturday, so she’s our yoga instructor. She gave us a word that she wants us to play with through the whole season.
My word is relentless. I’m not going to stop until I’m there. I’m relentless.”