Football: Nye runs over defenses

Hunter Nye, seen here in the season-opener vs. Hilmar, had another huge game against Wilcox, rushing for a game-high 140 yards on 17 carries.

Hunter Nye gained a solid 10 pounds of muscle in the off-season, diligently hitting the weights with his twin brother Wyatt in their backyard. All of the hard work is paying off for Nye, a burly 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior fullback. Through four games, Nye is averaging 154 yards per game, including seven touchdown runs.
More importantly, Nye is averaging a whopping 8.66 yards per carry, meaning he’s nearly collecting a first down every time he touches the ball. Now that’s one efficient offensive talent. Nye credited his offensive line for giving him nice lanes to run through.
“The offensive line is providing some great blocks, and I have to do more than just break one tackle,” he said. “I’m seeing holes as they develop and I know if there’s an opening, I have to break one (a long gain).”
That’s the mentality that Nye has every time he carries the ball—to run over a defensive player. Whether he’s accelerating around his tackles or going over his guards or center, Nye welcomes—check that, invites—contact. Because he’s always running downhill—football lingo used to describe a player who runs with his shoulder pads square to the end zone and using momentum to gain yardage after contact—Nye nets positive yardage even if he meets bigger defensive linemen at the line of scrimmage.
Although he’s physically stronger from a year ago, Nye’s pre-game preparation has played an integral role in his production. Although Balers coach Chris Cameron has his players watch film of the team’s upcoming opponent during the week, Nye likes to do some extra film study on game day.
If Nye has a free period on a Friday, for example, he’ll go to the library and watch film.
“Watching film has helped me a lot,” he said. “You learn about a defense by studying them. Fridays are also about getting pumped up, and before a game I’m listening to my music just getting as pumped as I can.”
In the season-opener against Hilmar, Nye had a career-high 200 yards on 16 carries. He followed that superb effort with a 165-yard, 23-carry performance against Palo Alto before gaining 110 yards on 15 rushes against Los Gatos, including a 50-yard TD run.
Even though the Balers got ran over by Wilcox 35-14 last week, it was through no fault of Nye, who had 140 yards on 17 carries, including a 48-yard TD run. Nye has busted off double-digit runs of 20 yards or more, showcasing his explosiveness and ability to accelerate in the open field.
In addition to Nye’s performance against Wilcox, San Benito received a strong effort from backup junior quarterback Hunter Raquet, who sparkled in the second half against Wilcox. Playing for R.J. Clark, whose hamstring issue prevented him from playing after halftime, Raquet came in and delivered a tremendous performance, completing 9-of-11 passes for 83 yards, including a 5-yard TD pass to Dante Tomasini that brought the Balers to within 28-14 with 7 minutes, 38 seconds left in the third quarter.
After Wilcox answered with a TD of its own, San Benito was marching down the field before Raquet threw an interception in the end zone. It was the junior’s only glaring mistake in a sparkling debut that saw him play with poise and display some strong physical skills.
“That was one of the few positives we had, that Hunter played well,” Cameron said.
Another one of the few positives for the Balers was the play of junior Diego Fisher, who boomed a 59-yard punt late in the third quarter. That was the extent of the good news for the Balers’ special teams units, as they had Carlos Miranda’s 32-yard field goal nullified because of an illegal formation penalty midway through the second quarter.

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