• John Macon Gillespie

Name to Know: Kaden Wilson

This time a year ago North Pontotoc was hoping they would be able to replace Zay Cullens not only in the offensive backfield, but in the secondary as well.

Meanwhile, defensive back Kaden Wilson was readying for his freshman year of high school and his first season of varsity football. Wilson, who had looked up to Cullens, would now be part of the Vikings’ effort to replace their graduated star.

Wilson played like anything but a freshman, though, finishing tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Additionally, he tied for 7th on the team with 55 tackles and forced a fumble, while spending time at safety and corner.

“I want to break the pick record at North Pontotoc, it’s like 14,” Wilson told SES Mississippi. “ I just got the feel for it last year, but I’m going go after it this year.”

This coming season the Vikings will be challenged again to replace graduating stars in Clark Mills, Joshua Davis, Jaquez Berry, Demarcus Rogers and others. But on the defensive side of the ball, Wilson is part of a promising returning core that also includes Corley Hooper, Hunter Miles and Hayes Malone.

That doesn’t bother Wilson. He knows what his team has coming back, and he understands the expectations of the program.

“It’ll pretty much be the same like last year,” Wilson stated. “Yeah, we lost some people, but we’ve got people that can play their spots and get the job done.”

Last fall was an impressive run all around for North Pontotoc. Not only did they finish 10-3, but they also managed eight consecutive wins heading into their season finale against Houston. Furthermore, the Vikings navigated their region 1-3A slate with a perfect 5-0 record.

This year the Vikings will again be favorites in their division. The expectations still loom over a program that has taken a step forward in recent memory. Wilson is working not only to improve on his impressive freshman season but also to help his team take another step forward.

“My strengths on the field are that I’m fast and quick, and I can hit,” He noted.

“Im working on getting better on reading things, like the quarterback. And approaching situations, like the run, better. I’m not an Alabama fan, but their safety Ronnie Harrison is someone I like watching.”

In addition to watching Zay Cullens’ career at North Pontotoc closely, Wilson was also a fan of Marcus Green. Green, a 2013 graduate of North Pontotoc, is currently an offensive and special teams weapon and rising senior for Louisiana Monroe.

Wilson obviously learned a lot from both players. And already, prior to his sophomore season, he is following in their footsteps on Friday nights. This season the comparisons get even closer as Wilson expects to play on both sides of the ball, picking up some duties at receiver.

One things stands above all else, though, when it comes to things he picked up from Cullens and Green.

“The way they play with everything they have until the game is over,” Wilson said.

Wilson and the Vikings will play host to Saltillo on August 17th, to kick of their 2018 campaign.

#NorthPontotoc #JohnLukeMcCord

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