Updated: November 07, 2019 04:03 PM
Created: November 06, 2019 10:39 PM
(ABC 6 News) - The Grand Meadow Superlarks are off to the state football tournament for the first time in three years and leading the team in more ways than one is senior Nolan Skifter.
"He's really the leader of the group," Grand Meadow's Head Coach Gary Sloan said. "We have four really good captains, but I think he's the leader and just a guy we can, really, always count on offensively and defensively."
This season all eyes are on the senior running back and linebacker. Despite missing one game to an injury, Skifter leads the team with 94 tackles. He has also racked up 465 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
"[He's] one of the hardest workers, if not the hardest working guy on the team," Sloan added. "In the off-season as well. He's done all the little things that help a person, that help a team win and like I said, even without the big stats he's just the leader of the team."
As a senior, Skifter knows it all comes down to this and that has been a key motivator for him.
"This is my last time I'll ever get to play football with some of my best friends," Skifter expressed. "So, just got to play it like it's your last…ever play like it's your last is what they always say."
However, that drive has to begin somewhere. Skifter said that something has helped improve his game this year is his mindset.
"Going into the games [thinking] that you're tough and can't lose," Skifter explained. "Your mentality is keep itching, keep getting at it."
His dedication translates to the gridiron and can be seen in the team's performance. During the regular season Grand Meadow went 7-1, cruised through the section tournament which ended with them toppling the Houston Hurricanes 35-0 in the title game.
A recipe for that kind of success comes from a strong work ethic and a well-rounded squad.
"Everyone can make a play," Skifter said. "Put the ball in someone's hands and there's always an opportunity something can happen."
That versatility has led the Superlarks to the state tournament for the first time in three years. The first round of the state tournament is set for Friday with Skifter leading the team.
"I know that we won't give up," Sloan said. "I know that Nolan won't give up and when your leader won't give up that means the rest of your team won't give up. So, we've had some tough times this year, as everybody going to have ups and downs over the course of the season, but when you have people like that, that's what really helps you when times are tough and you need to battle through them."
Skifter added that it will be a tough game and it will take a lot to get the job done.
"You got to buckle up and play the game."
Grand Meadow's run for another 9-man state title begins Friday in Austin when they face Mountain Lake Area. Kick-off set for 7 p.m.
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