Damon Brockington wanted to see how far football could take him.
It’s still taking him to great places.
Brockington, a 2006 graduate of Frankford High School, became the first black head coach of his alma mater’s football team this year and it couldn’t be a better situation for him.
“I came back to Frankford in 2010 after college and I was an assistant under coach (Will) Doggett and I was so happy to be there,” said Brockington, who is in his first year as head coach. “But I did dream about being a head coach. I love the school and I love football. I had my chance. I always knew that when I was done playing football, I wanted to give back. I love football and I love the community so it was a perfect fit.”
When Brockington was starring for the Pioneers, he led a tough Pioneers defense that helped Frankford win the Public League championship. He went on to play college football and some semipro ball before returning to coach.
He got his start with the Pioneers and the Northwest Raiders, where he played as a kid. He worked his way up to defensive coordinator with Frankford and this summer, he became the team’s coach, replacing Bill Sytsma, who is now coaching professional football in Italy.
He credits the coaches he played for, who include Wade Brockington, Bills Scott, Marshall Murphy, Eric Jones, Duane Watson, Reggie Butler and Dwayne Hudnell with the Raiders, Mike Capriotti, Doggett, Dom Doyle and Sytsma at Frankford, and anyone else who went out of their way to help him with the game he loves so much.
“I’m still involved with the organizations that helped me because without them, I wouldn’t be here,” said Brockington, who handles in-school suspension at Frankford. “I treat them like family because that’s what they are. I’m the family man with the family van. They were there for me when I needed them, I’m going to always be there for them.”
A hard-nosed linebacker during his days at Frankford, he’s been just as successful as a coach. The former defensive coordinator has coached three games as head coach thus far and his team has yet to allow a point en route to a 3-0 record.
As proud as he is with the way his team has played thus far, he’s more impressed with the quality of character his players have shown.
“I deal with in-school suspension, and my guys are never in there,” Brockington said. “They’re all good kids. They are my guys. This program was built on character and we are continuing that tradition.
“Frankford is a great school. I’m so proud of it. I wanted to be here. I wanted to coach here. All of the coaches before me were great guys who really cared about this place. I want to be the next guy and I’ll always be there for my players.”
He’s not alone.
When building his program, Brockington turned to guys he knew would be difference makers. First, he got his offensive coordinator in Tim DiGiorgio, who is the all-time leading passer at Frankford. Then he hired former Washington star Jay Sloh and Fels grad Jalil Reeder to help.
“I wanted to bring guys in who were stars in the Public League because they know what they’re doing,” Brockington said. “They’re great coaches. They’re guys I know want the same things I want. They want to win, but they’re all about the family atmosphere. They are about the players.”
Brockington preaches family with his players, and he certainly practices what he preaches. When he’s not working or coaching the Pioneers, he’s helping out coaching his son, Maccoy Brockington, 8, with the Liberty Bell football team.
He also has four other kids, Mahki Brockington, 2 months, Aniya Brockington, 14, Makayla Cruz, 10, who also plays for Liberty Bell, and Mariah Cruz, 12.
“I’m the family man with the family van, and I’m always there,” Brockington said. “I have a lot of sayings, but that’s one of my favorites. I’m there for family. I’m always there for family.”
He credits two great women in his life for that.
First is his mom, Keisha Mickens, who was always a football fan and runs the cheerleading program for the Raiders.
The other is his wife Crystal Ferrara, whom he calls his backbone.
“When I started dating her, she knew football was my passion, but she’s helped out so much,” Brockington said. “She is the team mom. She loves it.
“My mom has been there the whole time. She was the one who started my passion for football. It’s great when you can share your passion with someone. I’m lucky to have great people in my life.”
For him, Frankford is the perfect situation.
But he’s not there just to have fun. He’s there to win. And while Frankford isn’t the powerhouse it used to be, he believes it can get back to that point.
“Frankford had the most talent, but we can’t just show up and win anymore,” Brockington said. “We always worked hard, but now we have to work harder. We have to build the team. We have a great start. I love this team. But we need to keep getting better. That means keep working hard and keep trying to get better.
“I’m where I want to be. I’m blessed. I want these kids to get where they want to be. That’s what I’m here for, to help them get better.”