Greg Nowak, River Hill, football

Q&A --

Varsity

September 20, 2006|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,SUN REPORTER

A 6-foot-3, 235-pound senior tight end, River Hill's Greg Nowak earned second-team All-Metro honors last season after catching 34 passes for 550 yards and seven touchdowns. The Hawks advanced to the Class 3A state semifinals for the first time, falling, 30-21, to eventual state champion Gwynn Park. This season, his third on varsity, Nowak, a two-way player, has moved to defensive end after playing two years at outside linebacker. Maintaining a 3.4 grade-point average, Nowak, who started playing football when he was 9 for the Columbia Bulldogs, is considering a number of colleges and plans to major in engineering.

What do you remember about your first football practice?

I didn't know a whole lot about football and how practices were run. I got there a little late and they were already warming up. I remember just sitting there on the side for about half an hour when they started all the drills and I was just too scared to say anything to anyone. So finally a coach noticed this little 9-year-old sitting on the side in workout clothes. He was like, "You signed up or what?" So I got into it and loved it.

What can the team learn from last year's playoff run to the state semifinals?

I'd have to say the first thing is that you can never count yourself out. We were pretty serious underdogs against Gwynn Park last year and really kind of blew the game ourselves. I thought we definitely could have had it. I guess you have to realize if you get that far, you're as good as any other team that's there. I think that will give us a lot more confidence if we can hopefully get back to the playoffs.

What is it like the night before a big game and also the anticipation leading up to it on game day?

It's always hard to sleep, and I also have trouble eating. For some reason, I always get nervous and can't eat too much. So I try to get a big meal in the day before the game. You always have a lot of stuff going through your head, but once you get out on the field and the kickoff comes, it's not anything different than any other week.

How important is camaraderie in football?

I think it's more important in football than any other sport. I noticed a big difference between my sophomore year and junior year as far as how everyone got along and interacted. When you're all on the same page, it's a lot easier to get excited about playing. When you enjoy being in everyone's company, it makes you want to be a better player and a better team.

Why do you think the NFL is so much more popular than any other of the major sports today?

One thing I think helps is there's only 16 games. I don't think anybody can really get pumped up for 162 baseball games. And I think a lot of it is that football is more of a social thing. Even if you don't like football, you're probably going to do something for the Super Bowl.

How did you get interested in pursuing a major in engineering?

I most likely will try to get into civil engineering. I used to always like building stuff when I was younger, and I also noticed I've always been gifted in math. So I figured it would be stupid not to take that someplace.

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