By. Colton Dodgson
With a program as storied as Peoria Centennial (8-1), talented players, both of the present and the past, are a foregone conclusion.
As I sat down in the Centennial weight room with Andrew Nichols – a senior and four-year member of the Coyotes football team – photos of the players talented enough to continue their football careers at the collegiate level stared down at us.
In the coming years, Nichols will likely be immortalized on that wall, but not before taking care of one final task under head coach Richard Taylor – one last state championship.
In elementary school, Nichols and some of his teammates watched as the Centennial football program captured three-straight Division II state championships. At the time, he and four other seniors, Connor Sovacki, Taylor Fiame, Marcus Wakeham and Isaac Haney, were busy at the Pop-Warner level.
In eighth grade, the Centennial Five won a Pop-Warner national championship with the Grant Snakes, their first exposure to winning titles.
Two state championships later, one at the Division II level two years ago and another as a Division I team last season, Nichols and the rest of his teammates are looking to make some history of their own.
As far as the future is concerned, Nichols has garnered the attention of the Ivy League – all eight programs – as well as some notable military schools across the country to continue his football career.