The Nate Reese saga is the quintessential one of an athlete who plays youth football, aspires to play for his local high school team then thrives when he does so.
During his days with the Nipomo Cowboys, did Reese envision playing five positions full time in high school?
“Not really,” the Nipomo High School senior said during a midweek workout during the team’s bye week.
Reese has been playing football since the sixth grade.
Reese does play five positions full time for the 3-0 Titans. He is the starting quarterback, a regular at defensive back and the team’s punter, place kicker and kickoff man.
Reese does all five well. He is 20-for-37 passing, for 335 yards. Reese has thrown four touchdown passes and just two interceptions. Reese may be on the short side for a quarterback, but he gets the ball over a pass rush just fine. There’s nothing lacking in his arm strength, either.
Adept at throwing from the pocket or on the run, Reese is also far and away his team’s leading rusher, with 88 yards a game and five touchdowns this season.
When it comes to kicking, Reese has made all 14 of his PAT tries, and he made good on his only field goal try. Reese averages 42.3 yards a punt and has been solid on his kickoffs.
He is a four-year varsity man. “His freshman year, he played wide receiver,” said veteran Nipomo coach Tony Dodge. “He was just going to play wide receiver again when he was a sophomore.
“Then our quarterback, Braden Groshart, got hurt in the first game of the year, and Nate and Nick Milton had to play quarterback for us.”
The injury ended Groshart’s season, Reese continued to see time at quarterback and, “He took over full time as a junior,” said Dodge.
Reese did a lot of everything in the Titans’ last game before their bye week as Nipomo kept enough of a 26-6 lead at Pioneer Valley Sept. 3 to win 26-20 in the Mountain League opener for both teams.
He threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Kuhn in the second quarter. Reese kicked a 22-yard field goal in the last minute of the first half after the Panthers made a goal line stand inside their 1.
Reese juked a defender en route to a 40-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Finally, with the Panthers bidding to take the lead in the fourth, Reese intercepted an overthrown pass in the end zone.
Meanwhile, his punts and kicks helped Nipomo win the field position game.
Reese called upon his younger playing days when the Nipomo punter graduated after Reese’s sophomore year.
“I kicked when I played for the Cowboys,” said Reese.
There was sort of an impromptu open competition for the 2020 Nipomo punting job. “I was kicking the ball the farthest, I guess,” said Reese, and he won the job.
With Nipomo’s kicker having graduated last spring, “I figured I’d be the kicker,” during the 2021 season, said Reese. “I practiced all summer.”
The work paid off.
Dodge said Reese played defensive back sparingly last season and, “That’s how we thought we’d use him there this year.”
Then the Nipomo coaching staff figured Reese was becoming more and more indispensable at defensive back, along with his other talents. Now, literally, about the only times Reese leaves the field during a game are timeouts and the halftime break.
Though Reese has contributed heavily to his team’s fast start, “We have a lot of returners,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me that we’re 3-0.”
As to what position he enjoys playing the most, Reese demurred. “I just like playing football,” he said.
Nipomo is set to host Morro Bay (1-2) on Friday night. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
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