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— The mohawk? It's a Nick thing.

That's what Gentry senior defensive end Nick Weeks said last week when asked about the renegade-like haircut he's currently sporting.

"I've done it every year," Weeks said. "My junior high year I saw a bunch of seniors doing it. I figured I'd try to start it back up. It hasn't really worked out but I do it." The Pioneers haven't followed Weeks' lead when it comes to choice of hair style, but there's little doubt they'll follow his lead on the football field.

Weeks is one of the Pioneers' most athletic and productive players to wear a maroon helmet.

Last season as a junior he led Gentry with 109.5 total tackles - a rare feat from a defensive end position. He also saw some time at running back where he rushed 11 times for 38 yards.

"He's certainly one of our better athletes," Gentry head coach Brian Little said. "He is the fastest kid on the team. For that reason, even at a defensive end position, he can pursue the ball even when it's away from him. He just has a desire to get to the football." To the naked eye, Weeks doesn't look like a defensive end. He stands 5-foot-11 and 182 pounds, which is a little small for an end and built more like a linebacker.

But Weeks said his size isn't a hindrance.

"I've always thought I'm small for defensive end but my speed and my strength help me in my spot," said Weeks, who runs a 4.6 in the 40-yarddash, squats 475 pounds and power cleans 285.

Weeks joined the Gentry football program as a ninth-grader and the coaching staff began playing him at free safety. As a sophomore he moved to linebacker before settling in at defensive end last year.

The Pioneers do have defensive packages structured for Weeks to play at linebacker at times but mainly he's down in the trenches.

"The coaches felt like with my size that I needed to be up front," Weeks said. "I've not really known why but I can just read where the ball is going."

But no matter where Weeks is on the field.

Odds are wherever the ball goes, Weeks will end up there, too. And sometimes his aggressiveness doesn't pay off.

"Coaches hollered at me a lot because I don't so much play my position as I do follow the ball," Weeks said. "This year I feel like I'm better in tune with my spot and stay in my spot more.

Coach is really harping on me to get that done because last year I had a couple (of plays) get reversed and get back outside me. I'm trying to get better at that."

Luckily Weeks is blessed with the ability to recover should he make a mistake on the field, his coach said.

"He's fast enough to where he can run down somebody if he makes a mistake, technically speaking," Little said. "He uses good cutoff angles."

Weeks led the team last year with 12.5 tackles for loss and tied for the team lead with two sacks.

He led the team with 145 defensive points.

Sports, Pages 9 on 08/26/2009

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