Nick Nocek has been a three-year starter for the Fredonia Hillbillies, and after a stellar 2012 season, he has been selected as a finalist for the Trench Trophy which is awarded to the best linemen in Western New York.
Other finalist include Jason Bunk (Alden), John Czech (Jamestown), Cortland Haines (Jamestown), Ryan Hunter (Canisius), Sean Murphy (Timon), Mike Senn (Orchard Park), Khalil Sommerville (Bennett), Tyler Studd (Springville) and Jake Swan (Maple Grove).
"It's well deserved and it is nice for his career," Fredonia coach Bob Ball said. "It's a well deserved award to be a Top 10 finalist. I wasn't surprised. Not only was it a great year, it was a great career."
OBSERVER?Photo by Courtney Gfroerer
Fredonia’s Nick Nocek (74) has been selected as a Top 10 finalist for the Trench Trophy which is awarded to the best linemen in Western New York.
Nocek was a First-Team All-State selection as a junior in Class C last year.
"His name has been out there as far as being an accomplished linemen," Ball noted.
What made Nocek such an accomplished player was his dedication to the weight room during the offseason, according to Ball. Every player receives a 10-month membership to Darwin's gym and Nocek put that membership to use.
"All three years, he was a regular there," Ball said. "That's another thing that set him apart. He lifts weights and utilizes his membership. On the field, he has a motor that doesn't quit. He is an intense player in practice and in games. He doesn't take plays off. He was dedicated in the weight room and made it a year-round preparation. Shane Smith was the same way. Nick got to see him and he plays the same way."
The Trench Trophy committee scouts games throughout the season. There, an initial set of cuts are made and coaches are asked to send in film of three games. After the committee watched the film, the top 10 finalist are chosen. The award will be presented Wednesday, Dec. 5.
"It's a pretty prestigious award," Ball said. "He is the first player I have coached who has been nominated - that says a lot right there. It's the high school version of the Heisman Trophy for linemen. We are all extremely excited. It's well deserved."
Nocek was a team captain this season, voted on by the players.
"He started both ways on our team that won the Far West Regionals and made it to the semis," Ball continued. "That was a good team and it said something about what he could do. When you start both ways as a sophomore, you think you're pretty good and don't improve much. That's where he set himself apart. He continued to improve as a junior and a senior. He was never satisfied with where he was at. He always tried to be a better player. He has been a leader on and off the field. He is a good student in the classroom."
Nocek is hoping to play Division 3 college football and has been looked at by Gannon, St. John Fisher, Brockport and Buffalo State to name a few.