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One season to remember

In his only season as a varsity starter, St. Francis High's Brett Nelson proved to be the area's best.

January 10, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • St. Francis' Brett Nelson is the All-Area Football Player of the Year.
St. Francis' Brett Nelson is the All-Area Football… (Cheryl A. Guerrero,…)

As Brett Nelson ponders his college future, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior with a strong arm and a mind for the game, has no doubt that it will see him play on Saturdays.

His one drawback to college scouts is the same way he summarizes himself.

"I'm a one-season starter," he says.

Indeed, Nelson only had one season to shine for St. Francis High. But shine he did.

Nelson only had one season under center to captain the Golden Knights offense. But it was a prolific offense at that.

In his one season as a St. Francis starter, Nelson made an impression to remember.

It was one that included staggering numbers, a Golden Knights playoff run and a unanimous vote by the sports editors and writers of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun as the 2010 All-Area Football Player of the Year.

"He was amazing this year," says St. Francis senior offensive tackle Patrick Carroll. "He carried us a lot on offense. I can't give enough credit to him."

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The position of quarterback is one that most aspiring football players yearn to play when they're younger.

For Brett Nelson, that wasn't the case. Before high school, he played on the line, with defensive end becoming the position he was most comfortable. But as a high school freshman at Loyola, that changed.

"I played it a couple of times in a game and I liked it," recalls Nelson, adding that the knowledge afforded the position and being at the center of the game appealed to him. "That's the reason I decided I liked playing quarterback was I liked having the ball in my hands every play."

Thus, when Nelson transferred to St. Francis in the August preceding his junior year, on the day that he was accepted into the school, he was in Golden Knights Coach Jim Bonds' office going over the playbook.

"I had high hopes for him the first time he set foot on our field last summer," Bonds says.

Nonetheless, Nelson's time would have to wait, as he would have to bide his time behind another one-season sensation in Justin Posthuma. Posthuma would total nearly 3,000 yards and score 33 total touchdowns while garnering a slew of postseason accolades.

"Justin came out and just absolutely tore up every defense," Nelson says. "Who would be upset about playing backup for a guy who's playing so well."

In fact, Nelson took being a good backup seriously, using the time to study the offense, to see what Posthuma was seeing and to talk to Bonds about each and every play.

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