Linebacker, safety, tight end, receiver, wildcat quarterback, kick returner, punt returner, special teams maestro.
All of these are words to describe North DeSoto senior Damien Boone.
Another term would be The Times’ All-Area Defensive Player of the Year.
Boone’s versatility helped right the Griffins’ season after a 1-4 start, and North DeSoto (7-5) won its last five regular season games and a road playoff game before losing to eventual Class 4A champion East Jefferson.
“It was just coming together as a team,” Boone said of the turnaround. “Having our seniors step up and lead, that’s a real big part of it.”
Boone’s stat line drags on like a Christmas shopping list: 132 tackles (89 solo), three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, three interceptions, three blocked kicks, 17.8 yards per punt return (two TDs), a 33-yard average on kick returns (one TD).
And that’s without his offensive stats. But he did catch three touchdowns and record 16 tackles in North DeSoto’s first win, a 20-18 comeback against Southwood where he caught the winning touchdown with 12 seconds left.
“That was a real good game,” said Boone, who also blocked two extra points and forced two fumbles that game.
The senior is getting looks from LSU, Mississippi State, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State among others.
He says MSU and Tech are interested in him playing defense and NSU likes him on offense.
“I enjoy scoring. It gives you a rush,” Boone said. “But I like stopping people, too.
“If I had to pick a position, it would be linebackers or defensive backs.”
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound athlete moved to inside linebacker this season after playing on the outside most of his career.
“He’s long and lean,” said North DeSoto coach Scott Abernathy. “He’s a skilled kid that’s really good at several positions. He doesn’t have (4.4-second speed), but he’s fast enough to cause matchup problems.”
“It’s weird because he’s playing so many roles … but he’s a skilled kid that’s really good at several positions,” Abernathy said. “He’s doesn’t have (4.4-second speed), but he’s fast enough to cause matchup problems.
“He can also put his hand on the ground or block.”
Abernathy’s son Max can often be found on the Griffins’ sideline, and Boone mentioned the team rallying around the family when Max was diagnosed midseason with Type I diabetes.
“We knew that (Abernathy) was going to have to be out, and we had to all step up and get the job done without coach, who is a big part of it,” Boone said. “We had to treat it like any other day and kept Max in our prayers, make sure it got better.”