Senior QB1, Nic Swanson, has always wanted to be ‘that guy’, and a couple weeks into the season, with a 5-0 winning streak, it’s evident he is the leader the Titans have been waiting for as they sweep the competition.
Growing up, Swanson had not always been the starting quarterback. In middle school he watched others start in the position he yearned for, and it was that waiting and watching that lit a fire inside him, propelling him to be who he is today, he explained.
“[I have always had that] dog mentality,” Swanson said. “When I was a kid, I always wanted to be ‘that guy’. Every kid wants to be ‘that guy’, and I was always just another kid. I never got to play quarterback, I was always the back up. Being doubted and third string on my 8th grade team put things into perspective. Now we’re [5-0] for the first time in a while and everybody wants to be a fan, but back in those days I was throwing at paper plates I hung up in my backyard while I was trying to get better. Those are the days I remember.”
Another driving factor in Swanson’s life and athletic career is his personal relationship with God. It is this relationship, he said, that has set him on the path he’s currently walking and influences much of who he is today.
“My following in Jesus Christ has propelled my life to the point where I’m at now and it will continue to push me forward,” Swanson said. “All my confidence comes through Him. I try and give everything I can to Him and when things aren’t working out I realize I’m trying to do too much on my own. I’m [just] out there playing the game that I love and trying to glorify God [at the same time]”
As the Titans have had a hot start to their season, Swanson dotingly attributes their streak not to his own leadership, but to the boys’ brotherhood and insatiable appetite for football.
“This [season] is different because our leaders have been around the program for a while and we have a sense of what works and what doesn’t,” Swanson said. “We have some talent this year but I don’t think that’s why we’re winning this year. I think it’s because we’re a really tight knit group and we love each other, we want to fight for each other, it’s our brotherhood.”
However, Swanson’s leadership has been a defining factor in the teams’ season as well, teammate Will Collins and Head Coach David Schoenwetter both explained. And Swanson himself described what makes him fit for the job as well as what his approach towards leading the team is like.
“My best quality is leadership,” Swanson said. “To be a captain, you have to be willing to say and do things that will upset people in the moment knowing it’s what’s best for them. My whole life I’ve wanted to be ‘that guy’, not the one yelling at everybody, but the one people look to when things are going bad.”
Collins describes the person Swanson is on the field today, and he sees the player Swanson always wanted to become. Collins overall admires him for his leadership and drive, both of which he says contribute to his success as a leader.
“I wouldn’t want anybody else [leading us],” Collins said. “He cares a lot about everyone on the team and you can see that when he plays.”
Collins is very confident in the team and believes that they can make a deep playoff run with Swanson as the head of the pack.
Similarly to Collins, Schoenwetter also speaks highly of Swanson’s ability on the field.
“The best thing Nic has done is that he hasn’t made mistakes,” Schoenwetter said. “I think that in high school football if you can limit mistakes and have a good running game you’re gonna be in real good shape. He’s done a really nice job of keeping the ball out of trouble and making completions when we need it.”
Swanson looks forward to continuing the season and is hopeful in regards to where the team is headed. Overall, he selflessly attributes his and the team’s success to a we, not an I mentality.
“I always think about what I can do for the team,” Swanson said. “Football is so much more than a game, it brings us together. [Sometimes] we get hard on each other during practice but we love each other and to know everybody loves you is something I fail to understand a lot of the time, but you gotta be grateful for it. Life is a team sport and the love is what you can always fall back on.”
Benn Mann contributed reporting to this story