Those of us who have lived in the area for some time have come across some great football players like Fred Davis, Dane Sanzenbacher and Nate Washington, all of whom currently play in the NFL. What these athletes have in common is that they've given us a glimpse of just what greatness really looks like.
Consider Kyle Nutter a member of that select group.
The Genoa running back, who stands 5' 11' and weighs 214 pounds, recently finished his career as the Comets' most decorated football player. He holds a number of schools records, among them career rushing yards, single-season rushing yards, touchdowns, single-season touchdowns and highest yard-per carry average.
|Kyle Nutter in action. (Press photo by Harold Hamilton
In his three years at the varsity level, his teams won two conference titles, advanced to the Division IV Regional Final once and the regional semifinals twice. Quite possibly his best team, the 2011 Comets, advanced to the regional semifinals before falling to eventual-state runner-up Kenton, 32-22. That squad, as well as the 2010 unit, is viewed by many as having been good enough to have won a state championship.
Nutter finished his career with 6017 rushing yards, a school record, and ran for 2058 yards on 230 carries (8.9 per-carry average) and 34 touchdowns this season, a performance that will likely earn him first- or second-team All-Ohio honors. (He was named to the All-Ohio Third Team following his sophomore season, one that saw him rush 268 times for 1656 yards and 22 touchdowns.) For his efforts in 2012, Nutter was named the Northern Buckeye Conference Player of the Year and also garnered first-team honors as a linebacker.
“I'm happy with my career,” Nutter said, reflecting on what he's accomplished over the past three seasons. “I can honestly say I have no regrets. I worked hard for everything and hard work always pays off.”
To start at the varsity level for three years is impressive in its own right, let alone at a position like fullback that requires so much mental and physical prowess. To compensate for this, Nutter has worked to refine his game and has taken care of his body, getting bigger and stronger with each passing season.
Part of the reason for Nutter's success stems from his competitive spirit, something that has developed over the years while playing sports with his brothers, Andrew, 19, and David, 17, both of whom played football with him at Genoa. Andrew Nutter was a key contributor with the Comets the past few seasons and David began to hit his stride this season, rushing 64 times for 378 yards (8.6 per-carry average) and six touchdowns in the regular season. He also came up big in the first round of the playoffs, running for 138 yards, one touchdown and a key two-point conversion in the Comets' 42-21 victory over Columbus Bishop Ready. David was recognized with second-team league honors on offense for his efforts this season.
“I've been playing football since sixth grade and I'm probably competitive because of my brothers,” Kyle said. “We've always pushed each other to become better and I always just wanted to get better for the team and because I loved football. I wanted to be the best I could be.”
What's equally impressive about Nutter is the fact that, unlike many feature backs, he plays defense as well. His play on the defensive side of the ball has earned him first-team honors at linebacker in each of the past two seasons. This season, he recovered five fumbles, intercepted three passes and finished with 80 tackles. (Nutter's true position is actually something of a hybrid between linebacker and defensive back, a testament to his versatility.)
“He has an unmatched work ethic of any athlete I have ever coached,” head coach Tim Spiess said of Nutter. “Not only has Kyle made his body a piece of iron, he has done the same with his mind (and) he understands what is expected of him.”
Nutter has been a part of a resurgence in Genoa football that has taken place the past six years since the arrival of Spiess and Mike Vicars. Vicars, who currently serves as the team's offensive coordinator, was the head coach from 2007-11, and Spiess, who is currently the head coach, was the defensive coordinator during that same span before taking over as head coach this season.
During their six-year reign, Vicars and Spiess have gone 67-8 (.893) overall, a mark that includes a 58-2 regular-season record. On top of that, the Comets have gone a remarkable 41-1 in both Suburban Lakes League & NBC play and previously held a 48-game, regular-season winning streak. It was a welcomed change in Genoa, a program that had struggled mightily since former head coach John Boles left to take the top spot at Maumee High School in 1998.
“Being part of (the) Genoa football (program) is amazing,” he said. “You have great coaches and great teammates that want to get better every day. Ultimately, we all have the same goals and I think that's why we continue to be a strong football team.
Nutter acknowledged the hard work of the two men who have helped restore a great football tradition at Genoa.
“(Coach Vicars & Spiess) changed the mindset of the players and made them believe they could win,” Nutter said. “They're great coaches and (they know) how to bring the best out of their team.”
Like with any good running back, Nutter has had a number of great offensive linemen block for him, players like Andrew Hayes, Matt Keaton, Luke Sutter, Evan Wendt, Michael Deiter and Nick Keller.
“I've always said my linemen are awesome,” Nutter said. “I share my rewards with them because without them, I couldn't do it.”