LINCOLN — Amid the pandemic, many high school seniors won’t have a final season this fall.
Nebraska offensive line commit Branson Yager, who plays near Utah’s Great Salt Lake, knows how lucky he is.
His team playing well, too? That’s icing on the cake.
Yager and Grantsville are 4-2 with all their wins coming by three-score margins.
“When we’re on our ‘A’ game, and we’re playing our ball and not creeping down to their level, there’s not another team in Class 3A (Utah has six classes) that can stick with us,” the three-star prospect said. “As long as we play good, play the whole game out and play fast, I think we’re going to have a really good shot at going all the way this year.”
Utah is one of 18 states playing high school football right now, with others either delaying the start of the season or moving it to spring.
“I’m extremely grateful,” he said. “I was very skeptical that we were going to even get to play or not. It’s still up in the air. Every week could be your last week. We could get a call today that says, ‘Hey, you’re done with practice, your season’s over.’ ”
That’s not the only thing that takes getting used to. Though fans are allowed, many are wearing masks. When a player comes out of the game, he is expected to wear a mask, too.
But Yager doesn’t often worry about that. The 6-foot-7, 332-pounder plays both sides of the ball at Grantsville.
So far, Yager said, everyone is healthy on his team. That means he gets to keep playing and has a shot to reach his goal this year: Get better on the field and in the classroom so he’s ready to join the Huskers in January.
He has kept in contact with the Nebraska coaching staff, too, specifically offensive line coach Greg Austin. There were a lot of ups and downs, as the Big Ten postponed the season — then announced its return last week.
That leaves many things uncertain for Yager.
What will campus look like when he gets to Lincoln in early January? What will happen with the Huskers’ season? Will they play every game as scheduled?
As of now, he imagines he’ll redshirt because he needs time to develop. But until he steps on campus, he’ll focus on winning games his final year of high school.
“You can’t know everything that’s going on right now,” Yager said. “That’s the hard thing, but just playing your heart out every week and making every moment count is the only thing you can do.”
A look at the Nebraska 2020 football schedule
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!