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A tale of two Macon-Bibb coaches

Barney Hester and Jessie Hicks have plenty of differences but some key similarities.
Jessie Hicks

Two undefeated teams go head to head Friday night.

And if you think of local powerhouse teams, you might immediately think Northside, Peach County or Westside here in Macon-Bibb.

But there are two up and coming programs and two coaches that you might think are very different but really a lot alike.

All coaches have intensity in common. But on the surface Howard High's Barney Hester and Central's Jessie Hicks may seem as different as the length of a football field. Hester is somewhat laid back while Hicks, in many ways, is larger than life.

"He is one of those guys that has that strong personality," Hester said. "He is one that when he speaks, he's loud."

The guy with the booming voice has respect for his cross town counterpart.

"It's good to be in the company of someone who has 11 state championships," Hicks said. "Not many guys in the state of Georgia that can say 11 State Championships. I (don't) have one."

Hicks may not have a ring but when Hester moved from Tattnall Square Academy to Howard three years ago, the longtime coach sought Hicks' council.

"Jessie had just come into the system," Hester said. "(He'd) been at Baldwin and just ultra successful over there. All the guys he has been around and guys he's sent to college and what he does for young people."

Just another big similarity between these two guys, they both feel you've got to care beyond the x's and o's.

"If you're going to be around young people as long as I have, of course, I've been around longer than Jessie but if you're going to be around them, you'd better bring them up to another level and you'd better be there for them," Hester said with conviction.

"My main goal is to make these kids better fathers, brothers and neighbors and I'm sure from the success he's had and what he's done, he feels the same way," Hicks said.

The programs resemble each other too, both on the cusp of gaining ground when it comes to respect. Central made the playoffs last year for the first time in decades. Howard put together a good season and just missed the post season.

"We've been blessed so far played Lamar County got down early and came back and won the game," Hester said.

"You think about having successful programs most people think about Westside and when you talk programs like Central and Howard which is relatively a new program people want to see wins," Hicks exclaimed.

Similarities and differences but one thing will always stay the same.

"At the end of the day, it's still a football game, and you want to try and win it," Hicks said with a big smile.