Walker discusses NCHS football teamwork on, off field at NC Rotary

Julie Davis, Cherry Road Media

In addition to having a 6-3 record this season on the field, Nebraska City High School football players learned the value of teamwork by volunteering to help with community events.

NCHS head football coach Kaleb Walker and players Braden Thompson, Eddie Gonzalez, Chase Brown, and MJ Nelson visited the Nebraska City Rotary Club on Oct. 27 to discuss the season and the changing culture of the team.

Walker discussed how he and his players served at the Farm to Fork dinner in downtown Nebraska City in August and how the players helped set up for the Extreme Bull Riding Finals during the first weekend of AppleJack in September.

Both events game the young men “a good sense of pride” and had “nothing about football,” said Walker.

Walker, who just concluded his first season as head football coach, said that he has helped coach the high school football team since he came to Nebraska City nine years ago to teach English at Nebraska City High School.

He said he noticed little things along the way, such as how only the ninth grade players were called upon to clean the field after games, that he changed when he became head coach.

He said it took time for the players to understand his message of all the teammates being the same, whether they were experienced senior players or freshmen playing high school ball for the first time, but that the team’s culture is changing, particularly with the help of student leaders like the four seniors who accompanied him to the meeting.

Walker said the students stepped outside of high school football when they asked him to do something to honor the 13 service members killed at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, and again when Nebraska City first responders were honored before the final home game of the season on Oct. 22.

Team members have also visited Northside and Hayward elementary schools this fall to get acquainted with those students and help build enthusiasm for football with a new fanbase, said Walker.

Walker said team members have had to adhere to his saying, “The way we do anything is the way we do everything,” because he didn’t want to hear from another teacher that a player who could be outstanding on the field was perhaps not being outstanding in a classroom or social situation.

The Nebraska City Rotary Club meets at noon Wednesday at Valentino’s, 1710 S. 11th. Guests pay $9 for lunch.

The scheduled guest speaker for tomorrow (Nov. 3) will be Matt Wynn of the Flatwater Free Press.

Other scheduled speakers include private investigator David Nicholson, who will discuss international scams that can affect U.S. citizens on Nov. 10; Paralympian Cheri Becerra Madsen on Nov. 17; and state Sen. Mike Hilgers, speaker of the Nebraska legislature, who will explain the redistricting process on Nov. 24.

Cole Sharp is the club president. Call (402) 873-0530 for more information.

NCHS head football coach Kaleb Walker discuss the Pioneers’ 9-3 season and the changing culture of the team during the Oct. 27 meeting of the Nebraska City Rotary Club.