It’s the state championship game at Ford Field and Chelsea’s Lawrence Buckley is dressed for the game but is cheering for his teammates while he stands on the sidelines. Buckley, or Buck as he is known to his friends, is still not 100% to play after suffering a major injury at the beginning of the season. He had ruptured a tendon in one of his fingers severely before the season started and needed surgery and was done for the season. But although he suffered the injury he didn’t quit. And he didn’t give up.
“Last year at Ford Field was a great experience but I won’t lie, it was hard to feel a part of the team,”Buckley remembers. “But the guys on the team, they really put it in my head to get serious and become a leader. Jake Rhodes, Graham Kuras, Jordan Haber, Ryan Stasiak, and Bailey Edwards helped me to feel apart of the team when I was out so that’s why I stuck around and went to every practice. They made me feel real good about everything even though I was greatly disappointed I couldn’t help the team out.”
This season is different, though. Buckley is healed and has been looking great in practices and scrimmages. He brings his all-state track speed to his position of cornerback along with heart, great awareness, and hard hitting. He, along with Cam Cooper, look to make up on of the strongest cornerback combos around.
“Coach Moundrous has been working my legs and has helped me to get bigger and Coach Smith talked to me once and told me that I had a lot of potential this season but I have to get more serious about things,” Buckley said. “Every time it got hard in the weight room I would think of the conversation we had and after that I would attack whatever exercise I was doing, because I knew it would get me better than I was yesterday, so I knew I had to keep grinding and keep faith and hope that God will do his glory to help be succeed.”
And so far he has succeeded. He has made several heads up plays in pre-season and has intercepted several passes. He is locking down his opponents and along with Cooper, forcing opposing teams to make bad throws and plays. He has taken to being a mentor helping younger players know their plays and what they should be doing and helping them out in a positive way.
“I think the team will do great this year,” Buckley states. “We have lots of young talent (Thomas Steele, Gus Reynolds, Patrick Bertoni, and more) and veterans that are willing to do whatever it takes for the team to succeed.”
Buckley has always been pushed in a positive direction by others also. Dan and Marijane Nelson have been very big positive influences in his life and his mother Rhonda Gibson has always supported him in many ways influencing him and encouraging him, as well as his sister Lanika.
“I’d be lost without my mom and the Nelson family,” Buckley stated. “They mean the world to me and I can’t say enough good things about them. I thank God every day they are all in my life.”
Buckley plans to major ln social work and minor in criminal justice after high school. He went to the state championships in track in 2016 for 3 events and he hopes to run track in college. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his friends and enjoys going to “FCA”, fellowship of Christian athletes.