Coach Speak: Damon Gladney

Haughton High School has earned a well-deserved reputation as an offensive juggernaut, and the top returning player for the Bucs this fall will be WR Damon Gladney. Hear from HHS offensive coordinator Kyle Wilkerson on his star player...

The numbers speak for themselves: 84 points vs. district foe Huntington (a 4A playoff team); 64 points in the first round of the playoffs vs. St. Michael; 54 points in the second round vs. Woodlawn-BR; 41 points vs. eventual state champion Franklinton in the quarterfinals.

Yes, there's no question that the Haughton Buccaneers can light up the scoreboard, and the man who orchestrates their high-octane offense is offensive coordinator Kyle Wilkerson.

Although Wilkerson loses QB Dak Prescott (early enrollee at Mississippi State), as well as bullish (and brutally effective) RB Marlon Seets (Alcorn State) to graduation, his leading receiver will be back this fall.

Of course, we're speaking of junior Damon Gladney, who hauled in 70 receptions for 1,211 yards in 2010.

"I think the biggest positive for Damon is his versatility," said Wilkerson. "He has the name recognition as a receiver, but he also played defense and returned kicks for us.

"I believe he returned three punts for touchdowns and anytime we needed to lock down a receiver, we'd put Damon out there to cover them. In fact, he had three or four interceptions, even though he didn't play a whole lot of defense."

How does Wilkerson describe his prized wideout?

"When the game is on the line, you want him in there - getting the ball," said Wilkerson. "He has great body awareness - and gets into position to be open. He has good hips and breakaway speed. He may not have the great 4.4 speed, but he has good football speed.

"One thing that's impressive on film is the way Damon breaks tackles. His yardage after the catch is phenomenal. He'll take a short screen and turn it into a 60-yard touchdown."

Wilkerson continued to praise Gladney.

"Damon has attributes that not a lot of players have," Wilkerson continued. "He has a great attitude and is just a great kid to coach. If you tell him something one time, he's got it; he's going to remember it.

"His potential is limitless. He has great hands and gets open. He's smart and like I said earlier, when the game is on the line you know he's going to be right there."

A few days ago, Gladney ran a leg on the district's first-place 4 X 100 relay team. Tomorrow, the Bucs will compete in the regionals, where their 4 X 100 team is seeded No. 2.

Haughton went 12-1 last year on the gridiron. Gladney turned it up a notch in the playoffs, catching 10 passes for 177 yards (and four TDs) vs. Franklinton. The previous week, he racked up 185 yards receiving (vs. Woodlawn)

Gladney has one scholarship offer thus far (from Grambling State).

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