Size mismatches and minimal varsity experience didn’t hold Rochelle Township High School center Brodie Nantz back from giving maximum effort on every play and becoming a leader on the offensive line this past season. After starting all nine games at the center position in 2019, Nantz will return as a rising junior next season looking to guide the Hubs back to the playoffs.
“I felt like I competed the best I could,” Nantz said. “Being only a sophomore, some of the opponents I faced were bigger and stronger than I was, but I believe I still competed with them. For next season, I’m working to be an All-Conference player, help our team win the conference and make a strong run in the playoffs. In order to get there, I’ll need to be in the weight room every day to get stronger, and I’ll need to study film to be prepared for our opponents.”
The Hubs finished the season with only eight seniors on their varsity roster, but that small number created opportunities for sophomore and junior players, including Nantz, to step up and prove they could compete at a higher level. Despite a 4-5 record in 2019, the Hubs persevered through several injuries to key players, and with a larger group of upperclassmen set to take the field next season, Nantz and his Rochelle teammates are ready to make a run.
“We were a very young team last season,” Nantz said. “We are a more experienced team this year and we have a lot of good leaders. Last year’s seniors were good role models who I feel helped this year’s team become more experienced and confident. We suffered a lot of injuries last year, but the next man always stepped up and played as if he was a starter all season. This year, I think we can get better at never giving up and staying together.”
The only sophomore to start on the offensive line last season, Nantz overcame a significant leap from the freshman level to the varsity level. As he prepares for his second varsity go-around, Nantz said his goals are to build up his leadership abilities and be a resource for his teammates.
“It was a big jump for me from playing freshman football with players my age to playing varsity football with players two years older than me,” Nantz said. “I think I can improve as a leader and in understanding the roles of all of the linemen on each play so I can help my teammates.”