CASE KEEFER/IPHONE PHOTO
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 | 2 a.m.
Centennial at Arbor View is here, so Ray Brewer and Case Keefer celebrate accordingly. They also look over the Division 1A playoff picture and go through the weekly picks.
Nik Doughty-Relosa was unable to roam the Arbor View High hallways this week in peace.
Everyone at the school seemed to bombard Doughty-Relosa and his teammates with the same question going into tonight’s rivalry game with Centennial.
“Everyone’s always asking, ‘Are you guys going to win?',” Doughty-Relosa said. “This is the game we play for.”
They could have just as easily stopped Doughty-Relosa to congratulate him on his performance in last week’s 55-20 victory against Cimarron-Memorial. The senior linebacker and backup quarterback led the team with eight tackles, including one for a loss, and rushed for a touchdown.
The well-rounded night earned Doughty-Relosa the Sun’s Wingstop Player of the Week award going into the contest with Centennial that will determine the Northwest Division champion.
“He’s a go-to guy when it comes to everything,” Arbor View coach Dan Barnson said. “He just finds his way on the field. He’s also our long snapper. He’ll snap the ball, fly down the field on punts and make a tackle.”
For something that was almost totally foreign to him less than two years ago, Doughty-Relosa has quite the knack for making tackles.
All through middle school, Doughty-Relosa stuck to offense. Arbor View groomed him as a quarterback after he moved to its school zone in eighth grade.
But Barnson and other coaches noticed the 6-foot-3, 190-pound quarterback was awfully physical, so they put him at linebacker during summer camp his junior year. Doughty-Relosa has never looked back.
“It’s a totally different mentality you have to have in your head on defense,” he said. “You have your responsibilities and certain coverages, but you have the mentality of going to hit someone. It’s a lot less thinking.”
Doughty-Relosa’s career came full circle against Cimarron, when he was inserted at quarterback in the second quarter after already doing most of his damage defensively. On his second carry out of Arbor View’s double-wing rushing attack, Doughty-Relosa broke loose for a 32-yard touchdown.
“It just shows he’s a senior who wants to finish off the right way,” Barnson said. “He was flying when he scored that touchdown, and it made all of us really happy.”
Doughty-Relosa once dreamt of putting points on the board. But now he’s fonder of preventing them, which the Aggies will need his help achieving against the Bulldogs.
“I think our defense has continued to grow throughout the season,” Doughty-Relosa said. “We’ve become that team that people thought we would never be.”