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Nguyen, Frankford ready for encore

David Nguyen is starting on offense and defense for the Pioneers. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

David Nguyen is right where he wants to be.

In the center of it all.

Nguyen is a senior on the Frankford High School football team, and last year he helped anchor the Pioneers offensive line from center. He also saw some time on defense at nose guard and defensive tackle, but this year he’s going to start both ways. He’s penciled in as the starting center once again, and this year he’s going to start at defensive tackle as well.

It’s a big responsibility, but one Nguyen is ready and honored to do.

“It’s an honor,” said Nguyen, who lives in Kensington. “We don’t have a lot of guys who do that. They have the trust in me to go on offense, score a TD and go on defense and stop them.

“On offense, 10 out of 10 times, I’m going to block the guy in front of me. I know that’s my job. It doesn’t matter who it is. If I don’t block him, my guys can’t get to the end zone. It’s my job to make sure we’re getting to the end zone. I block, and the best part is when I meet the guys in the end zone. On defense, I just try to kill. That’s my mindset.”

Nguyen is more than just a guy who does his job. He’s a guy who can help younger players do their job. That’s why he was selected to be one of the team’s captains this year by second-year head coach Damon Brockington.

“I was honored, I feel like it means I’m showing good accountability to myself and my team,” Nguyen said. “It means I’m showing my teammates and my coaches the right way and showing them I have the leadership skills to lead this team. If you’re a captain at Frankford, you always have to show leadership.”

Last year, Nguyen started to show that leadership skill while the Pioneers enjoyed a tremendous season.

They won 10 games, advanced to the Public League 5A championship game and recorded seven shutouts. Frankford fell to Imhotep Charter in the championship game, but rebounded to beat a good Cheltenham team on Thanksgiving.

It was a great start for Brockington and his team, especially on defense. And according to Nguyen, it wasn’t one player who made the team run.

“Last year, we had a lot of guys who were willing to block and tackle,” Nguyen said. “The way you win. Put in the effort, time and show the love. Put their bodies on the line and always work harder than the other guys.

“Basically if you’re not ready to kill, you won’t be out there. We all fly to the ball. You would barely find a single tackle. One guy gets you, the other 10 will be there. That’s what made us last year.”

Frankford was hit hard by graduation, and the team did lose some talented players through transfer. But there are six starters returning this year, including Nguyen, and that gives him reason for optimism.

“We were very good last year because of the way we played,” Nguyen said. “I loved it, it was awesome. Fun. We would get a big play, celebrate and have that trust in each other, we know what we have to do. But I really think we can be better this year than we were last year. I love what we’re doing this year.”

According to Nguyen, a lot of the credit goes to the coach.

“Coach Brockington I’ve known him since I was 8 or 9,” Nguyen said. “He’s always had my back. He’s a trustful guy, he’s dependable, and he’s really strong. He teaches me a lot. He’s worked with me. I’m better because of his help and his trust in me.”

Nguyen is ready to start his final season, and he comes in with high hopes. He also has big plans for the future.

“Next year, I’m going to study criminology,” said Nguyen, who hopes to continue playing football in college. “I love it. Knowing I can be a part of something great hits my heart. I would love to be a homicide detective. Me and my best friend, we have been talking about it forever. I think it would be a very rewarding job. I want to help people. That’s my plan.”

He’s starting to look at schools, but for now he’s focused on making the Pioneers a better team than they were yesterday.

And he knows he can have a huge impact on how the season goes.

“I’m really excited to start playing,” said Nguyen, who lists working out and playing video games as his favorite hobbies other than football. “I want people to know that I’m (playing) for a championship. I will not let up, I want people to know that being in the streets isn’t the key. I stay out of the streets, stay safe and try to be great. That’s what you do in life if you want to be successful.”

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