• John Macon Gillespie

Gladney Ready To Take On The Big Dogs

The Northwest Rankin Cougars quietly rolled in to the 2016 season with more returning playmakers than many of their 6A counterparts. So far, so good, as they have gotten out of the gates to a 2-0 start with impressive blowouts of Germantown and Brookhaven.

The defense is athletic and fast, while the offense is deep and explosive. So far this season, the scoreboard has reflected that. The Cougars have averaged 281 yards on the ground through two games. Junior Montel Gladney is a member of a loaded corps of pass catchers, but he has shown he can make plays so far.

Gladney is averaging 18 yards per catch on just three grabs so far this season. Expect to see his role, as well as his production, increase as the season goes on. Braden Smith is also heating up as a passer.

“My strengths are just trying to be smart and a good ball player,” Gladney told SES Mississippi.

The Cougars have scored 34 and 41 points in their two games this season. That is an outburst Gladney saw coming after the jamboree game.

“We have a bunch of goo talent on offense. Our strength on offense will be the run and pass,” He detailed following their jamboree game.

The Cougar offense is loaded with talented skill players on offense, such as: Cameron Carroll, Jordan Bane, Justin Nelson, Nik Hogan and others. That has been a positive for Gladney and his learning. But he also learns from his receivers coach, whom he calls the best in the State.

“I’ve learned how to become a better blocker and how to get off the footbal against a good corner. Also, how to run good routes, but most importantly, how to read a corner,” Gladney explained.

What makes the Northwest Rankin team, and their collection of talented players, in 2016 is their team chemistry. Banks spoke on that, as well.

“Our team shares a good bond and we are very competitive in practice. We are there to help each other out,” he said. “When I’m not playing football I hang out with Braden Smith. We are close friends. Sometimes he makes me work out and we go to field and he throws to me while I run routes.”

While Gladney knows that the offensive line must continue to improve if they Cougars are going to accomplish what they have set to achieve this season. He’s looking forward to some of their biggest match-ups this season, some that derailed their chances last season.

“This year I’m looking forward to Brandon, Madison Central and Clinton. Those are the games that really brought us down last year. Especially Brandon. When we lost to them that really led to the downfall in our season,” he stated.

In fact, he calls SchDarren Archie the toughest defensive back he’s gone up against. So the showdown with the Bulldogs on September 16th is going to be a big one for Gladney and the Cougars.

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