New Hampshire Football Report

Yukica Profile: Casey Gladu

NOTE: The 2020 Joe Yukica New Hampshire Chapter of the National Football Foundation Scholar/Athlete banquet was cancelled this year because of COVID-19. Each Scholar/Athlete will be recognized with a commemorative program, a plaque and a personal profile that will appear in the program, on the New Hampshire Football Report, the Joe Yukica/New Hampshire Chapter web site ( and the Joe Yukica/New Hampshire Chapter Facebook page. This is one in a series of 39 profiles. Once published, each profile can be accessed by clicking on the athlete’s name at the bottom of the page.

Portsmouth High School

Portsmouth High School’s Casey Gladu, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker/offensive lineman, won a state championship during his senior year, but it wasn’t in football.

Gladu is good with numbers — he scored 770 on the math portion of his SAT — and received the Jae S. Lim Award, which recognizes students who excel in math and science. He also helped the Portsmouth math team capture the state title.

“Casey is an incredibly smart kid,” Portsmouth coach Brian Pafford said. “He tutors kids on the side. Nice, nice kid.”

In addition to his duties on the offensive line, Gladu was a three-year starter at inside linebacker for the ClipperCats. He recorded a team-high 92 tackles and intercepted two passes during his senior season, and led the team in tackles as a junior as well. 

His skill in school and on the gridiron made Gladu one of 39 players selected to receive the Scholar/Athlete Award presented by the Joe Yukica New Hampshire Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. 

Pafford said in addition to being a standout student, Gladu’s intelligence showed on the field as well.

“His instincts in the game were phenomenal,” Pafford said. “He was probably most valuable to us as an inside linebacker. The kid had no quit. Sideline to sideline. Amazing football smarts. Understood the game and how to play it with his head, not just his body — although that wasn’t a problem either. 

“There was a play against Exeter last season when they ran their toss play and we thought the kid was gone, but when you watch it on film Casey got around three guys and made a tackle for a 1-yard gain after running from the far hashmark to the other sideline. He understood where the blockers were coming from and how to get around them. Just gets the job done.”

The most impressive item on Gladu’s Scholar/Athlete nomination form? It might be the fact that he has participated in the Penguin Plunge three times. The Penguin Plunge raises money for Special Olympics New Hampshire by having people jump into the Atlantic Ocean in February.

Gladu was a member of the Robotics Club, and played varsity baseball at Portsmouth as well. He was selected to play in the CHaD New Hampshire East/West All-Star Game.

“If you talk to Casey you’d think he was 25, 30 years old,” Pafford said. “He is the absolute model of what you’re looking for in this award. Our MVP in every sense possible.”

Q and A with Casey Gladu

Q: Please describe the most memorable moment of your high school football career. 

A: The most memorable moment in my high school football career was the interception I had my junior year. It was a ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage and was the only time I ran the ball during my high school career. 

Q: Tell us about someone who has had a significant influence on your life.

A: Someone who had a significant impact on my life is my seventh- and eighth-grade football coach, Keith McFarland. He’s my favorite football coach for the way he’s able to rally his players with his speeches and his great one liners. He’s always been a coach that fights for his players and demands the best of them. My brother and I both respect him and loved playing for him. 

Q: What is your favorite subject in school and why? 

A: Math. I’ve always loved logic and problem solving. The way math problems are simply puzzles to be solved is why it’s my favorite. 

Q: What life lessons have you learned from football? 

A: The lessons I’ve learned from football are hard work, teamwork, and that things don’t always work out. The football season is long and grueling and that fact has taught me how to deal with demanding schedules and aching bones that occur with football. I’ve always thought that football required more team cohesion than other sports and that working with my teammates is tough, but rewarding work. The last and most bittersweet lesson I’ve learned comes from the seasons I’ve had at Portsmouth. I’ve learned to take it in stride, which is always hard to do, but is necessary to carry on in life. 

Q: What is your dream job? 

A: My dream job would be to design competitive video games. I love the concepts and strategies that go into games like CS GO, Street Fighter Five, SSBU and other esports titles. 


2020 Scholar/Athletes: Keith Albergo (Winnacunnet), Thatcher Allen (Exeter), Cole Ames (Lebanon)Mason Belsky (Windham), Patrick Brust (Bishop Brady)Jaedon Cliche (Exeter), Riley Desmarais (Windham), Bobby DiCicco (Windham), Jared Dyer (Merrimack), Casey Gladu (Portsmouth), Owen Gormley (Salem), Jack Grogan (Bedford), Steven Guerette (Bow)Evan Haskins (Pelham), Samson Hodges (Milford), Ethan Holt (Bishop Guertin), Jack Jones (Bedford), Charlie Kneissl-Williams (Bedford), Hunter Lassard (St. Thomas), Joseph Lupo (Bishop Guertin), Jake MacInnis (Pinkerton)Braden McDonnell (Nashua South)Will MacLean (St. Thomas), Hayden Moses (Bishop Guertin), Riley Mulvey (Salem)Kyle O’Connor (Nashua South), Nolan Pafford (Portsmouth), Wade Rainey (Lebanon)Ismael Rivera (Bishop Brady)Oceanne Skoog (Newfound), Caleb Smith (Lebanon), Rolando Sylvain-Stott (Newfound), John Thibault (Trinity), Zach Twardosky (Merrimack), Gavin Urda (Milford), Carter Vedrani (Campbell), Jacob Wenger (Trinity), Jon Willeman (Lebanon) and Devin Wood (Merrimack).

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