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Football Feature

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by deviljets7, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. deviljets7

    deviljets7 Member

    This is a feature I wrote last week about St. Peter's Prep RB Nyshier Oliver. Here is some background information about the story.

    1. Prep is the class of the county and is one of the elite teams in the North East. For those who follow recruiting, teammate Will Hill is going to Florida and might be the nation's top DB prospect.

    2. Hudson Catholic is probably the second best team in the county and around top 20-25 in the state, but isn't anywhere close to the same level as Prep. St. Peter's is Hudson's biggest rival.

    3. Oliver ended up getting 3 interceptions on defense along with 120+ yards and 3 TDs on defense in the game, a 41-7 Prep victory.

    As always, all comments, advice and criticism is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Great Vision
    Prep's Oliver has made all the right moves

    JERSEY CITY - Nyshier Oliver knew he wanted to be a part of St. Peter's Prep, even while he was standing on the opposing team's sideline.

    In his first career game, Oliver, then with Hudson Catholic, scored both touchdowns in a 53-14 loss to Prep.

    Some people might have been happy playing a starring role as a freshman for one of Hudson County's top teams, but not Oliver.

    "I was sitting with the principal in my office after that game and the phone rang," Marauders coach Rich Hansen said.

    It was Oliver's father on the phone and Nyshier wasn't happy with his situation at Hudson Catholic.

    "I realized that Prep would be the place to give me more opportunities, to do certain things," Oliver said. "I looked into the future and I realized (Hudson Catholic) wasn't the place for me."

    Three days later, the proper paperwork was filled and Oliver was a Marauder. There was one stipulation though - he was not going to be on the varsity team that season.

    "I give him so much credit and have so much respect for him because he could have stayed there and been a two-way star as a freshman," Hansen said. "He came here and played freshman football his freshman year."

    Now a junior, Oliver is finally back in the role of starting running back. All eyes may be on quarterback Will Hill, but Oliver has made opposing teams pay for that lack of attention. Oliver has accumulated 1,171 yards on 105 carries for a staggering 11.2 yards-per-carry average to go along with 18 touchdowns.

    "His style is a slashing style, but it's a down-hill slashing style," Hansen explained. "He has great vision, he has good balance, he's a good athlete, he catches the ball and he has excellent speed. Everything you'd want in a back."

    Oliver may only be 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, but he doesn't run like a player of his stature. He may be a diminutive back, but you wouldn't know it from the way he welcomes contact and runs inside.

    "Somebody forgot to tell him he's 5-foot-9," Hansen said. "He doesn't carry a lot of weight, but he's strong and I think that's reflected in his style. You watch him run and he delivers blows. He's a very physical runner and I think that serves him well."

    There have been questions as to whether Oliver could stand up to the punishment of carrying the ball 20 or more times a game. He hasn't been asked to carry that type of workload - his season-high is 21 carries - but Oliver is confident that he'll hold up to the pounding.

    "You've got to play on the field against me to get that answer," Oliver said in response to anyone who might question his durability. "You can say what you want, but unless you go against me (you don't know)."

    When Prep faces Bergen Catholic in the semifinals of the NJSIAA Non-Public Group IV tournament tomorrow, Oliver will be asked to do more than just carry the load at running back. He will also start at cornerback for the Marauders, in addition to his duties as a returner.

    As a sophomore, Oliver started at safety, but he's seen limited action on defense this year. Last weekend he had a key third-quarter interception in Prep's 59-21 victory over Camden Catholic.

    This week, Oliver will get the opportunity to be the multiple threat that he could have been if he stayed at Hudson Catholic. He said he knows this could have come sooner, but he has no regrets about his decision and is thankful for the opportunities that Hansen has provided.

    "I'm very grateful of what he did for me," Oliver said. "He taught me how to take on certain tasks and to conquer them. What more can I ask for? He gave me an opportunity and I'm seizing it."

    Even when Oliver's not wearing the maroon, steel and white of the Prep uniform, a reminder of what the Marauders mean to him is present on his left biceps, a tattoo of the Prep logo with a football in the center.

    "I have Prep in my blood," Oliver explained. "I'm going to be a Prep man forever, no matter what happened in my past, no matter what's going to happen in my future. I'll always have Prep in my blood. That's why I felt the need to get it on my arm and get it branded on my body."
  2. txscoop

    txscoop Member

    good story.. just curious to hear what the Hudson Catholic coach thought of him leaving for Prep.
  3. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    fine content and well written

    ... i would just be careful how many sentences - quotes included - you have with the same repetitive "but" structure

    also i'd like to see a quote from somebody at his first school -- coach, teammate, administrator

  4. deviljets7

    deviljets7 Member

    The night it came out (Friday), Hudson Catholic got destroyed in their tournament game 30-0. Hudson's coach (also their AD) went on an extended tirade on the writer we had covering the game and refused to talk to him for the gamer.

    Stone Cane,

    Thanks for pointing out the issue with repeatedly using the word "but" in the story. I didn't realize I was doing that.
  5. GBNF

    GBNF Active Member

    Very good quotes and a good feature in general...but you don't need words like staggering to describe 11.2 yards per carry. If it's staggering, the reader will stagger...wait, that wasn't right, but you know what I mean.

    Great quotes, though it may be a little quote-heavy. I'm learning as I go that not all great quotes are needed...
  6. silentbob

    silentbob Member

    You have a very nice writing style that's easy to read.

    My only complaint is that the story's biggest question is never answered ....

    Why did Oliver want to transfer?

    Why did he always want to go to the other school?

    "I realized that Prep would be the place to give me more opportunities, to do certain things," Oliver said. "I looked into the future and I realized (Hudson Catholic) wasn't the place for me."

    What were those certain things?

    Usually there's a conflict with the coach in these situations, so you probably should've called the other team's coach.

    That's probably why he wouldn't talk to your reporter.
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