United Community Bank Athlete of the Week: Bottineau’s Gabe Nero

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 3:15 PM CDT
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BOTTINEAU, N.D. (KMOT) – Gabe Nero used to be a quiet kid.

“I guess you grow out of that,” said Gabe, a senior at Bottineau.

Now, once people meet Gabe, they remember him.

Especially if he’s the one tackling them.

“Defensively, if he gets ahold of you, he’s tough,” said Coach Zach Keller.

What changed?

“I was homeschooled until freshman year... I knew it was different, but everybody welcomed me in. We’re a team; we’re a family,” said Gabe.

A family he’s played football with since he was in third grade.

“I guess they were just everybody I’ve ever grown up with,” said Gabe.

A family that saw him grow as an athlete and as a person.

“He’s a lot bigger but he’s grown up, too. He used to be a little childish but he’s really grown into a good person,” said Ryder Pollman, a senior at Bottineau.

And ate family dinners at Subway while traveling for road games.

“He’s a pretty good fisher. He likes cars too, we talk about trucks which is pretty neat,” said Ryder.

Zach Keller coached him in those YMCA days.

“I tried to get him acclimated and back into things and tried to get him back with his teammates. Being involved in sports is huge with life lessons so I struck up a relationship with him,” said Keller.

And while Gabe has gotten bigger since...

“He’s a physical guy. He’s a really good athlete: fast, physical and strong,” said Ryder.

He’s also grown up.

“He’s one of the best leaders on the team. Even though he’s not a captain he’s still a great leader,” said Ryder.

When changes came for Gabe...

“Going from just me and my mom on the computer to a class with 30 kids in it is crazy,” said Gabe.

He changed, too.

Gabe is committed to play defensive end at Minot State next year.

The Braves play Central Cass in the first round of the playoffs, Saturday at 2 p.m. in Rolette.

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