Gleason grid boss has ‘spring’ in step
Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 12:10 am
By: Kenneth Coker, Press Sports
Gleason quarterback Conner Verdell prepares to throw during practice, while offensive lineman Braden Stafford holds his position.
Gleason head football coach Noah Lampkins has some spring in his step after the conclusion of his team’s 10 days of workouts.
The Bulldogs — 4-6 in 2010 after back-to-back winning seasons — impressed the skipper with a five-to-one touchdown besting of Waverly in a scrimmage Thursday.
“I’m pleased with our performance as a whole,” said Lampkins, who will begin his 10th season at the helm in the fall. “We played pretty solid defensively and gave up just one big play. That was the one they scored on.
“I’m pleased with the way we stopped their run and how we went up to defend their pass.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Lampkins was also impressed.
“Conner Verdell did a great job at quarterback,” he said. “We ran the ball well enough to open up our passing game and worked well doing both. We’re trying to be more multi-dimensional offensively.
“We play McKenzie every year and you never know if they’re gonna line up in the ‘I’, a double wing or the spread because they are able to do so much. With Conner being a smart quarterback with a strong arm, I’d like to be able to be a lot like McKenzie and have multiple offensive sets to come out of.”
Gleason’s first touchdown came as senior-to-be Zach Mileski broke free for a 40-yard dash to the endzone.
Then, Chase Ezell — a sophomore this fall — made TD trips of 10 and 80-yards.
Ezell’s classmate, Chris Copeland, also broke loose for an 80-yard touchdown run.
The Bulldogs also had one score via the pass. Verdell found Austin Perry for what was about a 25-yard TD pass.
Additionally, Lampkins lauded the defensive work of linebacker Sam Cosby, Ezell at cornerback and nose tackle Daniel Solano.
The Gleason skipper also bragged on the offensive line work of tackle Corey Wilson.
Verdell, Ezell, Copeland and Perry all gained positive marks for their offensive performance at skill positions.
“We’re pretty deep in terms of the skill positions,” Lampkins said. “A lot of them are young, but we’ve got plenty of options. We’ve got a good group of freshmen and sophomores and a nice bunch of seniors.
“Our junior class is solid, but we don’t have numbers.”
All totaled, Gleason has just under 40 players out for football — the highest number that Lampkins has seen in his near decade as head coach at his alma mater.
He attributes part of that to the fact that players have been able to get acquainted with him from the sixth grade on for the past four seasons due to his taking over of the junior high program.
“It’s getting now to where I don’t have to teach the kids coming up from junior high a new system,” said Lampkins, who has piloted the Bulldog junior high program to three consecutive Reelfoot Conference titles. “We run the same offensive system — just a little watered down — with the junior high team.
“So, they know what we’re trying to do and my whole staff works with both the high school and junior high programs. I think that has helped the players a lot, too. They know what we expect of them when they get to high school and they know us as coaches.”
Gleason goes to Greenfield on Aug. 26 for its 2011 opener.