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Stronger, faster, ready to collide — West Lincoln’s Cam Buckles is ready for impact as senior leader

Primetime 23 is a list of the top players to watch ahead of the 2018 football season.

According to West Lincoln head football coach B.J. Smithhart, if you attend a West Lincoln Attendance Center football game this upcoming season and there’s a big collision, odds are Cam Buckles is somewhere to be found around it.

“Cam is our spark plug,” Smithhart said. “If there’s a big lick given out, he’s going to be somewhere around it. He might be giving it, or he might be taking it, but he’s going to be there. He’s a wild man. He’s the heart of our team, that’s easy to say.”

Buckles played on the offensive line and at middle linebacker last season for the Bears, and he looks to do the same this year.

The upcoming senior had nine tackles for loss at the linebacker position last year and he looks to add on to that total as a senior.

“Over the summer, I’ve been trying to improve my strength and my speed,” Buckles said.  “I’ve gotten stronger and faster over the past few seasons, and I want to keep that up.”

West Lincoln hosted a playoff game for the first time in program history last season, and Buckles said he and the team were looking to build off of that into this season.

“We had a good season last year, but this year we’ve been trying to get stronger, and we’re going to attempt to communicate more this year,” he said.

Smithhart is in his second year at West Lincoln, and he said coaching players like Buckles is rewarding and fun.

“He’s a special, special kid,” Smithhart said. “He’s the most loved in the locker room.  He’s the most fun to be around. He’s our team leader. He’s fun. You’ll look out there on Friday night, and he’s playing as hard as he possibly can.  You’ll hear someone get a big lick, and you don’t know what happened but you knew Cam was involved with it.“

Buckles will have to take on a leadership role this season for West Lincoln as a senior after some key departures from last year’s team.

Buckles said he’s embracing the leadership role, and he’s ready to be the person the Bears look to for leadership when things are tough.

“These are my brothers,” Buckles said of the football team at West Lincoln. “Grant (Jackson) and Michael (Brothern) and everyone here is like family to me, and I’d do anything for them.”