For Greenbrier East senior tight end/linebacker Nate Baker, football at the school has been part of his fall routine for the last four years. Baker played on the varsity team as a freshman and has steadily gotten better every single season.
A great teammate and the true definition of a “bring your lunch pail to work” player, Baker has been very productive in the 2020 season. Through eight games and a 5-3 Spartan record, he has amassed 125 yards on 22 carries with four touchdowns and has caught seven passes for 98 yards and two more TD’s. Not only that, he has completed two passes from the quarterback position and has as good of blocking skills as anyone in the area.
Those talents have the colleges calling and Baker has narrowed his choices for the time being down to three schools.
“My plans after high school are to go to college and play football. I’m looking at West Virginia State, Concord and Marietta College right now,” Baker said.
However, before the next level starts, he and his Spartan teammates still have business to take care of this season. The Spartans have lost two of their last three games in shootout fashion, and to get back on track, Baker was very matter of fact on what needed to be done.
“We need to play together more (on defense) and communicate better to cut back on the mistakes,” he stated.
One coach who is working hard to make that happen is defensive coordinator Aaron Baker. The defensive guru is Nate’s father and the player says that the coach being there the last few years has had a positive impact on him.
“It’s been great having my dad on staff. Obviously it’s a little different because he was the head man well before my time but coach (Ray) Lee adding him back my sophomore year has really helped our team,” Nate said.
Another issue that could be affecting the performances these last few games are the COVID-19 restrictions that have gone through the school. The positive tests of a couple students have shut down critical practice times and have allowed for mostly Zoom meetings and less time on the field. And while It is not an excuse, as all teams have dealt with something along those lines, it is only natural to have a little let down.
“The virus issues at the school have affected us because we aren’t able to practice. We have been and will do online practices, but not getting a look on the field but only one day I feel hurts us when it comes to game time,” Baker stated.
Baker hopes to cash in on some wins over the next few weeks including a state playoff berth, but he also realizes that the end of his East career is rapidly approaching and that his home finale was last Friday. However, the memories he has will be remembered forever.
“It didn’t really set in the whole game until I came back up to the locker room when the game was over, then it hit me pretty hard,” Baker said of his final home game.
“My favorite memories as a Spartan would be spending time with my best friends and teammates. The games are fun but the brotherhood I’ve built with people these last four years are what I’ll cherish the most,” he concluded.
Baker and the Spartans take on the Princeton Tigers this Friday night in Mercer County.