United Community Bank Athlete of the Week: Gabe Nero of Bottino

BOTTINEAU, ND (KMOT) – Gabe Nero was a quiet kid.

“I guess you grow out of it,” said Gabe, a Bottino senior.

Now, when people meet Gabe, they remember him.

Especially if he fights them.

“Defensively, if he gets to you, he’s tough,” coach Zach Keller said.

What has changed?

“I studied at home until the first year… I knew it was different, but everyone welcomed me. We are a team; we’re a family,” Gabe said.

The family he played football with since he was in the third grade.

“I guess they were all the people I grew up with,” Gabe said.

A family that raised him as an athlete and personality.

“He is much older, but he has also grown up.” He used to be a little bit of a kid, but he’s really turned into a good person,” said Ryder Pollman, a Bottineau senior.

And had a family dinner on the subway while traveling for road games.

“He’s a very good fisherman. He also likes cars, we’re talking about very clean trucks,” Ryder said.

Zach Keller trained him in those YMCA days.

“I tried to get him used to work and get him back to work and I tried to get him back with his colleagues. Being involved in sports with life lessons is great, so I developed a relationship with him,” Keller said.

And while Gabe has grown up since then…

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

He has also grown up.

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

When a change came to Gabe…

“It’s crazy to go from me and my mom on the computer to a classroom with 30 kids,” Gabe said.

He changed too.

Gabe is committed to quarterback at Minot State next year.

The Braves will play Central Cass in the first round of the playoffs, Saturday at 2:00 PM at Rolette.

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