"The best thing about him is probably being a pure passer, just knowing he could throw the ball 65 or 70 yards down the field if he needed to."
And the St. Francis offense was as pass-happy as it's ever been this past season with Nelson as the signal-caller.
He threw the ball 292 times over 11 games, competing 168 passes at a 58% rate. He averaged 251 yards per game with 2,765 for the season. His most impressive statistic was likely the 28 touchdowns he threw to just eight interceptions, with 14 touchdowns and only two picks over the final seven games, as the Golden Knights rallied to make a playoff push and almost upset second-seeded Dominguez in the playoffs before falling, 28-25.
"I think that says a lot about a kid whose play rises up when the competition gets tougher," Bonds says. "And Brett did that the whole season."
In particular, his final game against Dominguez was the one in which Bonds believes his quarterback shined brightest.
"It was a playoff situation, so I knew I had to be at my best," Nelson says.
After the game, the veteran coach didn't hesitate to call it Nelson's best, as the senior threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns. Not the fleetest of feet, but effective when he needed to be, as his four rushing scores on the season attest, he also found himself running in a two-point conversion after he was initially stopped but bulled over two defenders to score.
"He's got some wheels, he just always doesn't look pretty doing it," Bonds says.
With talented receivers like Travis Talianko — Nelson's go-to receiver — and Ian Hamilton — the big-play threat — at his disposal, Nelson lit up the scoreboard and St. Francis won more than it lost and found itself on the doorstep of victory against the best of the best in its division more often than not.
"We knew he could do it, we knew he had the arm. All we knew was we had to give him time," Carroll says. "He had a lot of weapons with Travis and Ian and he used them. He put us in a great position to win in every game.
"He developed not only into a great quarterback, but a great leader, as well."
And so with a strong arm, a football mind and one season's worth of greatness, Nelson moves on to his next step and his next snap.
"I want to keep going with this," he says of his college prospects. "I love football."
No matter what happens going forward, Nelson has one season to look back on.
He had one season to shine or stumble, one season to prove he could lead the Golden Knights or was meant to be a backup all along. And in one season, Nelson made it a season to remember.
"The way he played this season is what we expected," Bonds says. "I thought he had a phenomenal year."