Defense has been one of the most steady aspects of the Brainerd Warriors football team this fall.
Brainerd has yielded an average of 256 yards and 17 points on its way to victory in three of five games.
Noseguard Nate Lucas has been one of the defensive anchors. His 55 tackles rank fifth on the team. His three quarterback sacks are tied for the lead.
Warriors head coach Ron Stolski said Lucas "has been the mainstay of our defensive line."
"He came to us a couple years ago as a real raw player and he has developed into an outstanding defensive player, through hard work, through the weight room, through participation in track," Stolski said.
"He has a great attitude. His motor goes 100 mph for 100 minutes of practice. He's been a real force in the middle of our defense."
Lucas has tied for the team lead in tackles in the last two weeks. He had 12 against St. Cloud Tech and 22 against St. Cloud Apollo.
Against Tech, the Tigers started five possessions in Brainerd territory, four inside the Warriors' 30.
Sport -- Football
Position -- Noseguard
Year -- Senior
Age -- 18
Height -- 6-foot-1
Weight -- 230 pounds
Memorable sports achievement -- Running 110-meter hurdles in section track meet
Grade-point average -- 3.0
Favorite musical group -- Thursday and Me Without You
Favorite food -- Reuben sandwiches
Favorite TV show -- "Simpson's"
Hobbies -- Fishing
Future plans -- Attend college
Athlete he admires -- Any athlete who's first class
Parents -- Lori Lucas and Dave Morrow
"I thought a big part of the victory was that we had a good week of practice," Lucas said. "That really helped us out Friday. We came out ready to go.
"Our defense just stepped up when we needed to. We had a few bad punt snaps that gave them field position, but our defense was able to step it up and hold them."
Aron Anderson, Lucas' position coach, said the 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior is an explosive, physical player who presents many problems for the opposition.
"Nate has improved a lot," Anderson said. "He's getting better every week it seems. He's staying low, getting to the play side after he delivers a blow. Leading up to his senior year he has done everything he can to prepare himself for the season he's having. He's been in the weight room and doing the things he needs to do in the offseason that put him in position to be successful on the field."
The Warriors' defense has maintained a high level of success despite the absence of coordinator Steve Nunnink, who suffered an aneurysm following the season opener Aug. 29. Nunnink remains hospitalized in the Twin Cities and faces a long period of rehabilitation.
"It's been hard because everyone is used to having him around," Lucas said. "All the coaches have done a great job filling in. Every player is curious how he's doing. It's nice to know he's slowly but surely getting better,"
Other notable efforts by Warriors:
Becka Gellert, girls' soccer, registered her sixth shutout of the season vs. Little Falls.
Erica Campbell and Christina Roberts, swimming, each won two individual events and were on a first-place relay vs. Willmar.
Morgan Shepherd, football, passed for 114 yards vs. Tech.
Megan Arns, Haley Bower and Maria Swanson, volleyball, had 23, 21 and 17 kills, respectively, in the Virginia tournament.
Josiah Collins, boys' soccer, had five saves in a shutout vs. Detroit Lakes.
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