Safety – the perfect position for the Foothills Falcons’ recipient of the Big Rock Conference Commissioner’s Award.
Falcon safety Seth Nelson provides a sense of calmness, leadership and security both on and off the field, according to Foothills head coach Darren Olson.
“If we had a team full of Seths, we would never lose,” Olson said. “He never makes mental mistakes. Very rarely, if ever, misses a tackle and is always where he needs to be. He works all the time.”
That would include being in the classroom.
“Usually before every practice, you will find him and (runningback) Payton Price sitting doing homework before we go on the field,” Olson said. “He is always ready to help out… He is just a solid kid.”
Nelson, an honour student, was the school’s Student of the Month in October to go along with the commissioner’s award, which recognizes a football players commitment to community, team and solid work in the classroom.
“He doesn’t get a lot of the glory because he’s not the ‘look-at-me’ kind of guy,”’ Olson said. “But the teachers realize how hard he works.”
It would be hard not to see Nelson on the field. During the Falcons 46-6 victory over the Springbank Phoenix on Saturday at the Comp, Nelson played safety, had a TD reception as a wide receiver and handled all of the Falcons’ kicking duties.
He lets his actions do the talking.
Getting the Grade 12 student to talk about himself is like trying to score TDs against the Falcons defence – it happens only once every three of four weeks.
“I have heard a lot over the years to lead by example, that if you do the right thing, people will follow,” said Nelson, the Falcons defensive captain. “When I saw my former captains do the right things, so did I.”
That means sometimes having to keep his teammates in check, such as the Falcons 14-10 loss in their first game against the Holy Trinity Academy Knights.
“The guys were really excited,” Nelson said. “I decided to tone them all down — to play our game — to play with honour and pride.”
Those are two important attributes to his game.
“If you can’t play following the rules, the way it is supposed to play why are you playing?’” Nelson said.
That is a guideline he lives by off the field as well.
“My mom (Jennifer Nelson) tells me what’s right, the church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) tells me what’s right and I just try and do the right thing,” Nelson said.
He has had to grow up fast.
His mentor, his dad Rob Nelson, a lawyer and land developer, was killed in 2013 in an ATV accident while attempting to help others near their then Sheep River area home during that year’s flood.
Seth is the second oldest of six Nelson children.
“I think it made me a stronger person, I took on more responsibility and I try to help my mom out a lot,” he said. “It’s not too tough, but it’s busy a lot of time – kids going in different directions because of sports and stuff.”
The love of sports comes from his parents.
“My dad really wanted me to play football,” said Seth, who cut his girdiron teeth with the Foothills Eagles program. “He wanted me to do what he played, football, rugby and wrestling (at Ernest Manning High School).
“It sounds like a cliché, but I wanted to make him proud of me with my football and rugby. I tried wrestling, but I kind of fizzled out.”
(Jennifer has ran marathons over the last few years).
Although an all-star and highly academic football player, Nelson doesn’t have university or football on his immediate horizon after graduation. He plans to complete his two-year mission with the LDS church.
He has no idea where he will go, but he will take the experiences of Falcon football with him.
“I’ve had lots of good lessons, good role models,” Nelson said. “It’s been a huge part of my life in high school and [life]in general.”
The other recipients of the commissioner’s award were HTA Knight Riley Bahl and Rundle College Cobra Brad Burgess.