Things haven’t always come easy for Minden’s Dekeltric Freelon.
The senior safety admits their was a steep learning curve from the time he first took the field for the Crimson Tide in 2013 until now.
“I didn’t always stay in the right coverage or know how to back-peddle,” Freelon said. “I had to learn to trust my speed and ability to cover receivers. The game is moving at a much slower pace now, but at first I didn’t really know what I was doing.”
Not many Crimson Tiders did in 2013, head coach Spencer Heard’s first year at the school.
“He’s definitely a much faster player than he was when I got here,” Heard said. “I think the last two track seasons have helped him tremendously.”
Fast forward to 2015, Freelon and many of the same faces who finished with a losing record that year are close to clinching a second straight playoff berth.
“We just progressed as we got more playing time,” Freelon said. “We’ve got everybody’s confidence back in Minden football. We’re showing everybody that we’re that team now.”
Freelon leads a Minden defense that has been problematic for opponents the past two seasons. He has 25 tackles, five pass breakups and two interceptions this season, but what has stood out more is his progression as a leader in the locker room.
“It feels good to be looked at as a leader of the defense,” Freelon said. “I try to set an example for the younger guys for how to play, because you never know when I could get hurt back there.”
Though he doesn’t mind being a vocal leader, the ballhawking safety said he doesn’t care much for chatter on the field.
“I really don’t talk a whole lot,” Freelon said. “I would rather let my play speak.”
Swag, speed and defense are the three words he feels describe his playing style.
His defense speaks for itself, but the swag and speed are most evident on kickoff return, where Freelon has emerged as one of the most explosive players in the area.
With three kick return touchdowns already this season, teams have started trying to play keep away. Bossier tried to do so last week, with a short, bouncing kick that most players would fall on.
Not Freelon. He scooped up the ball, made a man miss and darted down the sideline for a touchdown.
“He gives us a huge advantage each week,” Heard said. “He’s doing a great job finding the creases and I think a lot of that can be attributed to his hard work in the offseason; he’s having a great season.”
Freelon gives some of the credit to his teammates.
“I have two main guys I rely on,” Freelon said. “Josh Wilkins and Cade Coleman. They tell me to follow them and there’s always a hole to hit. The adrenaline is definitely pumping when the ball is in my hands and all I’m thinking is touchdown.”
Freelon doesn’t currently have any college offers, but hasn’t given up on playing at the next level, noting he still hasn’t peaked as a player.
“I guess I’m still kind of under the radar,” Freelon said. “It’s not too late, I can still develop and improve a little bit more. There’s time.”