Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Columbia’s Buckner faces off with former team

Columbia offensive coordinator Chris Buckner is in his first year calling plays. Photo by Josh Cruse

Columbia offensive coordinator Chris Buckner is in his first year calling plays. Photo by Josh Cruse

Columbia Capitals offensive coordinator Chris Buckner will get his first opportunity to call plays this week as the high school football season kicks off with Week 0.

While some coaches get to ease their way into seasons and their careers, Buckner gets an interesting start to his play calling career as Columbia hosts the C.A. Johnson Green Hornets Friday, August 19 at Bolden Stadium.

Buckner is a 2003 graduate of C.A. Johnson High School where he played wide receiver and defensive back for the Green Hornets from 1999-2003. He was also an assistant coach at C.A. Johnson under former coaches Stephen Roberson and Walt Wilson, coaching wide receivers, quarterbacks, and defensive backs. Buckner spent last season on Robin Bacon’s Spring Valley staff.

“I bleed green and gold,” Buckner said. “This game is going to be tough. There is a lot of pressure. Being from C.A. Johnson and with the passion from the alumni, there is pressure to win.”

While Buckner had dreams of moving up the ranks of the coaching ladder, the chance to kick off his tenth year of coaching as an offensive coordinator came as a bit of a surprise.

“When I got the opportunity to teach at Columbia, I contacted Coach (Jason) Bush and we talked,” Buckner said. “I asked him if he had anything for me. I was looking to come in and coach wide receivers. Instead he asked me if I wanted to be the offensive coordinator. It means a lot because it helps me get where I want to go, which is to be a head coach. I just wasn’t expecting this opportunity to come when it came. I couldn’t turn it down.”

Buckner gets to guide a Columbia offense with quarterback Jamel McDaniel at the helm. McDaniel had a 29-yard touchdown run and a long pass to Jakur Wilson to set up another score in the 61st annual Sportsarama on August 13. Buckner said he has seen his quarterback develop through the offseason. He has given McDaniel certain goals to meet during the season, and the young quarterback has responded.

Being a former wide receiver, Buckner naturally wants to throw the ball, but he knows how important running is to an offense.

Buckner’s preparation for the start of his career as an offensive coordinator will be interesting both on and off the field.

“I’ve been wearing my green and gold secretly,” Buckner said. “I’m going to have to put it away for one week, and then I’ll pull it back out after that. I know C.A. Johnson has some great coaches and kids. I knew them as freshmen and sophomores; now they are juniors and seniors. I know it’s going to be a tough game, but I’m going to do my best. I know the kids are going to do their best to come out on top. If we can beat them 20-19, I’ll be happy.”

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