Football spotlight: Mansfield Summit QB makes playoff impact as sophomore

Posted Monday, Nov. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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His story: Braden Nolen played on the JV team as a freshman and was handed the reins to the varsity this season as a sophomore. In the Jaguars’ important victory over rival Mansfield Legacy on Nov. 1, Nolen completed 23 of 39 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Last week, in a must-win game against Lancaster to secure a playoff berth, Nolen led his team to a last-second win, going 23 of 28 for 264 yards and a score.

He said: “I feel like I improved over the last few weeks and we’re in a good spot right now. I feel like the game has gotten a little slower and the offensive line is doing a great job and my receivers are all helping me out catching the ball. We are able to keep the chains moving now and we’re converting on third down a lot better than we used to. We’ve improved every week. Our coaches did a good job of preparing us for the next game. [The push to the playoffs] has been a great experience. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and I’ll never forget this. I feel like a lot of people didn’t have faith in us, but we really pushed it through and now we have a lot more fans coming to see us.”

His goals: Nolen is just a sophomore, so he has plenty of high school football still left ahead of him. He would like to ultimately earn a scholarship to play football in college but plans to pursue higher education regardless.

Coach Travis Pride said: “Even as an eighth-grader I was pretty impressed with him. Everyone was telling me what a great kid he is from a personality standpoint. He was a good student and genuinely a hard-working person. Obviously, I’m always excited about those kids coming into the program.

“One of his main attributes is that he’s just a very likable, good person. He’s got no arrogance about him. He’s confident, but he’s not arrogant. He’s extremely intelligent. You’ve usually got a handful of hard-headed seniors who are going to want a kid to prove his value to them. But those kids were extremely receptive to him early just because of Braden’s humble nature but also he was performing and his execution was great. It didn’t take them long to realize that they had a quality quarterback; he wasn’t just some young kid that we brought up. His leadership abilities really start with his on-the-field work ethic and his tremendous character. And it helps that he’s very talented.

Interesting note: Nolen threw 15 of his 18 touchdown passes this season in the Jaguars’ five victories, and only three in the team’s five losses.

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