GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – For South Greene sophomore running back Nash Rader, there’s nothing like Week 1 under the Friday night lights.
“Amazing,” he said. “We’ve been working on it all summer – a long time. So, it felt amazing.”
The Rebels came out with a clear gameplan on Friday night against Class 5A David Crockett. But sometimes, plans change.
“We had planned on him getting the bulk of the carries, but we planned on rotating,” South Greene head coach Shawn Jones explained. “But, he just started feeling it Friday night – and we let it roll.”
Rader rolled all night long, wracking up 243 yards and three touchdowns in the 35-18 season-opening statement against the Pioneers.
“Starts first with the line, always,” Rader said. “They were doing their part.”
But, as for the lines on the football field – Jones believes that white paint on the grass was working against Rader during his standout performance.
“He [could have] had another touchdown right before halftime,” Jones said. “As time is running out, he broke away and tripped over one of my lines out there on the field. We kind of been jawing about that a little bit.”
Whether four touchdowns or three, however, Rader has no regrets. Neither do his teammates, as they all played with the memory of Braxton Wilhoit in their hearts.
“We just leave it all out there for him, man,” Rader said. “Because we all know he would have done the same for us. That’s really what it is.”
Jones believes Rader and the rest of the team weren’t just playing for Braxton on Friday, but like Braxton.
“We come in at halftime and we were gassed,” he said. “You know, and most nights you’d be done at halftime. But, it’s like we picked it up and I think it has a lot to do with Braxton.”
“He was never the biggest guy, but he had, always, the most heart,” Rader added. “You could never count him out of anything. He always gave the most effort, tried his hardest in everything he ever done.”
With Rader in the backfield and Wilhoit on their hearts and minds, no one is putting limits on what this group can do in 2023.
“We just got each other’s back, always,” Rader said. “Help each other – I feel like we just have that team bond this year.”
The Rebels have an open week this Friday and will return to action at home against region foe Cumberland Gap on Thursday, August 31.