ANDOVER - Nick Such, senior running back and linebacker for the Pymatuning Valley Lakers, stepped up last year when his team lost their tailback for the season. Because of that unfortunate event, he now has the experience and the skills to take on the 2014 season in full force and his coaches are ready to watch him play.
"Our main guy is Nick Such," coach Neal Croston said. "He's our strongest, probably fastest guy. He's 195 pounds. Strong kid. He benches 325 and squats 450. He's your ultimate back, he can do everything. He can run, block, catch out of the back field. Last year, he came on after Week 3 when we lost our tailback for the year. So he basically started the last seven games for us on offense. He's a good back, he knows what he's doing."
Such and some of his teammates have been working to improve for this year since the conclusion of last season. Their 28-21 win over Chalker in Week 10, almost eliminating the Wildcats from the playoffs, is the momentum that they want to continue into this season.
"Our whole team has gotten a lot bigger and a lot stronger," Such said. "We have been in the weight room all summer. Actually, some of us started the week after the last game from last year. I think that we will be more successful this season. I think our line is getting better and our communication is getting better. We are trying not to be in such a hurry to get the ball and hurry up and hand the ball off. We are trying to get our drives more down pat and slow it down so that even when we have to go fast, we'll do well."
Such also thinks that he has improved from last year in specific areas.
"I think I improved on my strength," Such said. "I think I have also improved on my running, more or less. I thought I was going to be slow once I got back on the field but I feel like I am faster than I was last year."
In 2013, the Lakers went 5-5. According to Such, the game that they struggled with the most last season was during Week 4.
"Compared to last year, I think Edgewood will be the hardest game," Such said. "They were fast and we got overpowered by them really."
His coaches brag about his work ethic and how he impacts the rest of the team as a result.
"He's motivated. He's a hard working kid," Croston said. "He comes from a farm and works for his dad. Right now, while we are doing two-a-days, he comes before practice and he works on his own. He'll stay after practice and lift. He works with our young guys. He's just the ultimate team player. He happens to be probably our best player. It helps when your best player sets an example like he does on the field and off the field. The younger guys in middle school and high school all look up to him and know his name. He's got a big target on his back when it comes to our conference schedule."