Upcoming Games and Events
  • April 23 / 7:00 pmVarsity Baseball | Dallas Christian School (at Graham Field)
  • April 23 / 5:00 pmVarsity Softball | Trinity Christian Academy (at Away)
  • April 25 / 5:00 pmVarsity Baseball | Liberty Christian School (at Away)
The student news site of Prestonwood Christian Academy

LionNationOnline

The student news site of Prestonwood Christian Academy

LionNationOnline

The student news site of Prestonwood Christian Academy

LionNationOnline

Column: Path to Mean Green

Column%3A+Path+to+Mean+Green

From the moment I walked into Kearney High’s stadium located in Kearney, Nebraska to watch my cousin’s football game, I knew I wanted to be a football player. The crowd, the action, the game itself, were all things that made me instantly love this game. Unfortunately for me though, I didn’t find this passion until later in my life, when I was in the seventh grade. There have been many obstacles throughout my 5 years of football, physical and mental ones, but I think it’s safe to say that we made it. Hi, my name is Nathan Laperi, and this is my story about my football journey thus far.

Seventh grade was my first year ever playing football… I stunk. Sounds harsh, but it was true. I was probably one of the worst players on the team, mostly because I had no idea what I was doing because I grew up playing European football. I tried out for quarterback, wide receiver, outside and inside linebacker, safety, and cornerback, until I realized I might just be terrible at this sport. Eventually, it was clear I was meant to play defensive line. Now, just because I found a position doesn’t mean I played. Nope, I was what was referred to as a “5th quarter demon” (the 5th quarter is an extra quarter for the kids who don’t get to play). Then 8th grade came, I had grown a little, so I finally got to play both offensive and defensive lineman. Even though I was playing, I still was pretty terrible. Then my Freshman year came, which was my “leap year” if you will. Fall camp with Coach Cunningham went great, and I actually earned a spot to dress on Varsity. It seemed I had finally gotten good at this sport, I was balling out on Thursdays and dressing on Fridays as a Freshman, not many can say they did that. I played maybe 25-30 snaps total on Varsity as a Freshman.

My Sophomore year came, my first year as a Varsity starter I had gotten up to 6 ‘2, 200 lbs, which is small for a Varsity defensive end, but I was still the starter. That season went great, and I started to get some looks from college coaches in the off-season and got invited to some camps from schools. Then the NCAA transfer portal rules changed, bringing my recruitment to a halt. The new rule was that a student-athlete could transfer and become eligible to play immediately, as opposed to sitting out a season like the old rule. Right before my junior year started, I was still getting recruited by some big name schools, such as Oklahoma and Mississippi State. Then, I tore my MCL in my right knee and missed 7 games. The coaches recruiting me asked for game film of me, but I couldn’t send any because of my injury. Once they found out I was injured, I lost contact with them. I healed up to about 75% and played, but I did poorly due to my poor mental strength at the time because of the injury not being fully healed.

I guess I played well enough to get some looks though. I got on a ton of smaller schools’ radars and received my first offer from the prestigious Valparaiso University in the Spring. I went to some camps that Summer and got another offer from Lamar University. I probably would’ve gotten a ton more, but the problem was the colleges were just taking portal kids instead of high school ones because those kids were already developed and could play for them immediately. And to be honest, I can’t really blame them. It’s honestly the rational decision to make. Then I had a great senior season earning all district honors for the third time in my career and all state honors for the second. Throughout my senior year, I picked up offers from University of San Diego, University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, University of Nebraska Kearney, Culver-Stockton College, and Marist College, leaving me with a total of 7 offers to this point. However, I didn’t really like any of these schools and considered giving everything up and just going to college to study. Then in late January, I received offers from the University of North Texas and Northeastern State University. After visiting both schools, it was clear that UNT was the place for me to be. I committed shortly after visiting and officially signed with them on February 7.

This journey was not easy at all and I can only thank God for getting me to this position. So many times in my career I thought that it was over or that I wasn’t going to be good enough, but I was able to overcome those thoughts and make it to where I am today. I would like to thank God and everyone who supported me on this journey and I can’t wait to see what the next 4 years hold. Go Mean Green!

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Nathan Laperi
Nathan Laperi, Staff Writer
Nathan Laperi is a Senior and a second year member of the LionNationOnline Staff, he serves as a staff writer. Nathan enjoys playing football and hanging out with friends. Last year, he was on the Yearbook team and he is excited to make the switch to Newspaper to help out the team.