The bar was set high, but it certainly wasn’t out of reach.
He was challenged by his coach at the start of the season because the talent was there.
Nazir Streater was predominantly a JV player last season for the Camden Catholic High School football program. He saw varsity action and played well when given an opportunity, but 2015 was going to be a whole different animal.
The plan was to get the ball in the hands of 5-foot-9, 180-pound junior. Second-year coach Nick Strom knew what he was capable of and had full confidence that Streater could lead the ground attack for a team with high expectations.
“I’m probably guilty of not giving him the ball enough,” Strom admitted. “He’s a complete running back in every way possible.”
Streater accepted the challenge laid out before him. In fact, he wouldn’t be satisfied just meeting his coach’s goals.
“I wanted to go a little further,” Streater said.
He did just that.
Streater goes into Thursday’s season finale against rival Paul VI with a team-leading 1,080 rushing yards and 17 total touchdowns. He went for a career-high 207 yards and three TDs earlier in the year against Gloucester Catholic and had 199 yards and a score against Camden.
“At first, I was a bit scared and nervous,” Streater said of being thrust into an important starting role. “But once I touched the field and got into it, it was time to go.”
“I gave him constant reminders that I wasn’t interested in him being average. He was going to be a difference maker for us,” Strom said. “He showed that.
“I felt comfortable with him. I like to see competition, but he was the guy. The kids saw it. The motivation for him was to not be content or happy. I wanted him to have his sights set on getting better and dominating. It was pretty easy.”
As much of an impact player as he’s been offensively, Streater has also made his presence known on defense.
Lining up at strong safety, Streater has 90 tackles (42 solos) to go along with a sack, three interceptions, three pass deflections and a forced fumble.
“I always knew he was a pretty good athlete,” Strom said. “He was a good player last year and really committed himself to the weight room.
“With some kids, you can really see when they want it. Naz had a different level of motivation, so I challenged him with benchmarks. Around here, the easiest player to look at was (current Temple linebacker) Jarred Alwan. I threw some numbers at him, numbers of what Jarred had done.”
“I took it as a challenge and had to meet it to help make the team better,” Streater noted. “It makes me feel good to know I have a big role. I approach every game like I’m the best on the field.”
Fearless, aggressive and confident, Streater met every challenge.
“With a senior-heavy offensive line, I wanted to really make sure we established the run better than we did last year,” Strom said. “His defense was a bonus.
“This season is a testament to the work he put in. Now he has to take the next step and be a team leader for us. It’s going to be a very young team for us next year, so we’ll need him to do even more.”
Consider the first challenge of 2016 in the books.
Kevin Minnick; (856) 486-2424; email@example.com
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