BISMARCK, N.D. - The team that gets hot at the right time is often the team that wins it all, and the defending Class-AAA State Champion Patriots seem to be peaking at the right time. They've won five straight entering the playoffs, and a big component of that is Jacob Rader.
Rader gives it his all.
"He's the kind of kid that every kid would love to have in their program. Right now he's on defense, offense, special teams. He hardly ever comes off the field, so he's certainly a very valued member of our squad," says Patriots Head Coach Ron Wingenbach.
Rader's enthusiasm for Century Football began on the sidelines as the ball boy for Patriots' former quarterback, Carson Wentz.
"I just remember looking up at him, and he was 6'4" and just huge, and I remember just watching him. And it was just the entire Century team, and it was something to look forward to and be excited about when I was little," says Rader.
Now he's on that field as a State Champion, an All-State Linebacker and, for the first time since middle school, an offensive starter.
"I missed playing offense a little, yeah. I like being able to just let it all out and just play and know that I gave it my all," says Rader.
You can imagine his frustration, when early into wrestling season, Rader tore his MCL.
"The doctors tell you that you're not going to be able to finish the year, and I was at a point where I was ranked - I was actually ranked number one at 170, and it was frustrating, but it was just something I had to deal with and overcome," says Rader.
And that's exactly what he did. Rader went through a rigorous rehab cycle to not only return, but reach the state championship match.
"It really inspired me last year how he was just persevering, and he didn't complain everyday, and he just came to work. And it really pushed me to want to better myself and the whole team," says Seth Braun, senior guard/defensive lineman.
With unfinished business in wrestling and a title to defend in football, Jacob's giving it everything he's got.
"At the end of the year, I'm not going to look back and wonder what would happen if I did this. I'm going to go after it this year," says Rader.
Radar begins his final playoff run with the Patriots Friday at the Community Bowl against Fargo South in the quarterfinal match-up. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Central Time.