Published: 11:04 AM, Thu Aug 16, 2012
2012 Football Preview: Gray's Creek's Nick Anta adds muscle in offseason
Gray's Creek senior Nick Anta recently looked at a picture of himself from last season, when he was a 170-pound linebacker.
The sleeves on the No. 34 jersey were loose enough around his arms that Anta believes he could have squeezed his fist through the opening.
Anta proudly reports that the jersey fits tighter now. He says he has added more than 30 pounds to his 5-foot-11 frame since he started offseason weightlifting during the winter, an increase he deemed necessary to earn the full respect of his younger teammates.
"You wouldn't be much of a leader at 170 when everybody outweighs you by 30 pounds," Anta said. "It has the benefits when people give you the look up and down and see, 'Oh, he gained some weight.' "
Anta is a returning starter at outside linebacker, where he recorded 61 tackles last year, fourth on the team behind a trio of departed seniors.
Gray's Creek coach David Lovette wasn't sure how Anta would perform in his first varsity season, but Lovette wasn't overly concerned because Anta always had a knack for being around the ball as a junior-varsity player.
Anta said he was nervous before his first start against St. Pauls, and a turning point occurred only a few plays into the Bears' second game. Pine Forest ran a bubble screen, and Anta shed the block of an opponent who was roughly 4 inches taller and 40 pounds heavier before delivering a hit that forced an incompletion.
"I got a pretty good hit, and then they just started to add up and add up," Anta said. "My confidence built, so that kind of jump-started my season."
Packing even more of a punch as a senior, Anta has earned the trust of his teammates and coaches.
Staff writer Bret Strelow can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3513.