Football: Austin lineman gives it his all

Published 7:29 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Austin junior Nick Baier displays the 'A' sticker on his helmet which he received for winning the team's LEGION award. -- Rocky Hulne/

Austin junior Nick Baier displays the ‘A’ sticker on his helmet which he received for winning the team’s LEGION award. — Rocky Hulne/

Sometimes its easy to tell who played well in a football game.

You simply look through the box score and see who had the best stats.

But to find out who played a truly great game, you may have to look a little harder.

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The Austin football team has an award for players who play those games and junior nose tackle recently became the Packers’ first winner of the LEGION award.

“Many of our guys play outstanding games,” Austin head coach Brett Vesel said. “But this award does not honor that. It honors those special games.”

To win a LEGION award, a Packer must have zero missed assignments in a game, they must have a high percentage of successful plays, they must avoid all selfish penalties, they must not have a turnover and they must give it their all.

Baier earned the award during Austin’s loss to Rochester John Marshall and he said he got it by giving a full effort.

“I may be the first one (to get this), but there’s many more guys who deserve it equally,” Baier said. “It’s harder for those guys like Gabe Gerstner and Logan Hotek to earn it because they go on both sides of the ball. I’m fortunate enough to play nose guard. My only job is to knock the center back and tackle whoever comes through the middle.”

Baier said when he’s on the field he concentrates on the tip of the ball and when it’s snapped he focuses on knocking the line back and looking for the ball.

He’s a little undersized as a defensive tackle, but it hasn’t slowed Baier down one bit.

“The way I look at it, the bigger they are, the slower they are,” he said. “I’m a shorter guy, but I’m pretty quick so I beat them with my quickness. The smaller guys are a bigger challenge because they’re quicker.”

The Packers (1-3 overall, 1-3 Big Nine) will be hosting the No. 1 ranked Owatonna Huskies (4-0 overall, 4-0 Big Nine) for the Homecoming game this Friday at 7 p.m. at Art Hass Stadium.

Baier is one player who will not be intimidated.

“I’m looking forward to Friday night,” he said. “I think we can hold our own with the Huskies. They’re a good team, but maybe we’ve got something to prove.”