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Glover’s maturity level starting to match talent

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The Coyotes' Darius Glover (6) is off to the races for a big third-quarter touchdown. (Corey Cross/MyNewsMesa.com)

Darius Glover remembers water pouring in from every direction and the screams that rung out in his New Orleans parish.

It’s hard to forget, even when you are only 5 years old, the destruction and annihilation Hurricane Katrina did to Louisiana in August of 2005.

The lethal tropical cyclone displaced Glover, who also remembers the the kindness of strangers, and his family.

They were eventually separated as they moved from Louisiana to Texas before settling in Arizona.

The Skyline senior wide receiver/cornerback believes the whole ordeal – being uprooted, having some of his six siblings, although his twin Dariun stayed with him, being separated until being reunited when he was in the second grade – has shaped the way he plays the game.

“We’ve all been through a lot, especially my mom,” he said of Latissa. “Honestly, I am trying to do anything I can to make my mom proud. She did everything to keep us together. She’s had a hard life and I want to her to watch me with pride.”

Glover is one of those players that is a difference maker and that certainly was the case last week in a 43-36 win over Mountain View.

After Skyline went ahead late, the Toros drove down the field into the red zone. The first two pass plays went away from Glover as most pass plays tend to do. Then he overheard the wide receiver he was covering tell the quarterback to throw the slant.

“The coaches want us to play outside technique,” he said. “I backed off and squared up. I figured I’d make the tackle on the 1-yard line and be savior, knock the ball down and be the savior or as he caught it I’d rip it out and be the savior.

“(Mountain View quarterback) Brandon (Nunez) threw the ball hard, and it got there quick. I bodied (Tate Allen) up, felt my hand on his hand and I ripped it out as hard as I could and the ball popped up.”

It gave the defending East Valley Region champions a win over one the top contenders to unseat the Coyotes, who head into Friday’s game against Mesa (3-4, 1-0) on top of the standings as the only team at 2-0 in region play.

Mountain View is also the school he was scheduled to attend just like his brother Patrick, who went on to play cornerback for University of Arizona, before the family moved into the Skyline boundaries.

“I didn’t want to go to Skyline,” he said. “I wanted to go to Mountain View like my brother or Mesquite like my sisters. I didn’t know anything about Skyline, but I am glad I did. We are starting something here.”

Skyline coach Angelo Paffumi is glad that Glover started something, too, as in opening the books and taking the academic side of things seriously.

“We weren’t sure when we’d be able to count on him,” Paffumi said. “Truth be told, he’d be a DI player if he did his work in the classroom like he is now since he was a freshman. He’s a hell of player. We rode him hard about his grades all this time. It finally clicked.”

Highland’s Jalen Johnson (20) battles Skyline’s Darius Glover for a third-quarter pass. (Corey Cross/MyNewsMesa.com)

Arizona State’s Todd Graham had a hand in that as he approached Glover at the Arizona State passing camp after Glover scored more than 10 touchdowns during the event.

“He said, ‘You’re a great athlete but I heard grades were an issue. If they weren’t I’d offer you right now,’” Glover said. “That hurt. It was a missed opportunity right there. You don’t get many chances like that. I went home and told myself I was going to buckle down right then and there.”

Glover, who was held back in eighth grade, has been re-taking classes – he is currently taking two math classes – and attempting to get everything in place so that he can truly become a DI eligible player. If not, he will head to a junior college – he does have lower level track scholarship offers – put in the work and find his way to a DI school.

His play on the field certainly indicates he has the talent to play with the big boys on Saturdays.

The 6-foot, 170-pounder has one rush for a 25-yard touchdown, 12 catches for 390 yards (32.5 yards a catch) and four touchdowns. Defensively, he has four interceptions, including two pick 6s, three passes defended and hasn’t given up a touchdown.

“He’s probably had three or four touchdowns called back because of penalties,” Paffumi said. “He’s a two-way player who is a threat to score every time he touches it.

“We need to do a better job of getting him the ball. Early on we were struggled to run the ball and the play action wasn’t working as well. Now we have the running game going and he’s due for a big week.”

Skyline’s Darius Glover (6) is off to the races with a big third-quarter catch and run for a touchdown. (Corey Cross/MyNewsMesa.com)

Glover certainly doesn’t lack of confidence as he considers himself the best cornerback in the state.

“I’m on a whole different level this year,” he said. “I think I am the best, and I play like the best. I’m not trying to be cocky. It’s just the way I feel and play.”

Glover had to miss the first-round playoff loss to Red Mountain last year after injuring the meniscus in one of his knees.

“I watched the game on crutches,” he said of the 16-13 loss. “It was hard. It was a close game. I could have made a difference.”

Glover has dealt with loss first hand on (injury) and off the field (ineligibility, Katrina). It has helped him grow up and now that grades are a priority he feels like everything is finally falling into place.

“It took me a while to figure out the school thing, but I’ve always known I am player,” he said. “I just want to play my best because I’ve been without it and other things in my life. That’s why I play every play like it is my last.”

– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to jskoda@mynewsmesa.com.

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