Clay Archer, SOSA Contributor
CHILLICOTHE — Southeastern’s football program has been on a significant rise over the past two seasons.
It’s a stretch that includes an overall record 18-5, an undefeated Gold Ball season in 2017 and two straight state playoff appearances.
Mikey Nusser, who’s been a key part in that two-year run, has been right there for the entire journey with the Panthers and has loved every second.
“Growing up, I always wanted to play football,” Nusser said. “When I found out I was going to play on the varsity team, I was just very happy. I’m blessed to be here.”
Nusser is heading into his senior season. As a junior, he had a breakout year, finishing third in the SVC in rushing with 1,041 yards.
While he runs the ball with not only a lot of power, he also does so with patience. If you’ve watched him, you see that he excels at waiting for holes to open and then bursting through them like a man on a mission.
But Nusser isn’t just a great football player. He’s also a great leader in the eyes of his teammates and coaches.
“Mikey’s leadership ability is uncanny. He was one of the biggest supporters of our youth camp and was just being a natural leader,” Southeastern coach Evan Gallaugher said. “He’s a workhorse. There were a lot of times last year where we would need a yard or two and we’d give the ball to Mikey. He just comes through. He’s a young guy but he’s been battle-tested.”
Nusser had the chance to sit behind, arguably, one of the best running backs Southeastern has ever seen in Carson Stauffer, at the very beginning of his career.
That experiences, alongside the experience he’s gained on his own, has molded him into the running back he is today.
“I think that played a huge role in Mikey’s development,” Gallaugher said. “Whenever you come in and you’re a freshman and you see a great class, and you see how hard those guys work, it just paves the way for the rest of your high school career.”
Even though he sat near the top of the SVC’s rushing leaderboard last fall, Nusser still flew under the radar as most of the media’s attention centered around star quarterback Lane Ruby.
This season, he’ll certainly be a name known and one circled on opposing game plans.
And, no matter Southeastern’s finish, Nusser doesn’t want to see his football career end at the high school level. But while he hopes to have the opportunity to play collegiately, he also has aspirations to join the military if it doesn’t present itself.
As for his junior year on the gridiron, the Panthers open their season with a home date against Northwest on Aug. 30.
“I’m just going to believe in my linemen to get me back to where I want to be,” Nusser said. “I couldn’t have rushed for 1,000 yards without my linemen last season and I really have to thank them for that.”